William Goad

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William Goad
A photograph of William Goad following his arrest: he looks old with semi-balding hair line, bushy eyebrows, large bags under his eyes and some facial stubble. He has a white complexion with dark eyes and hair.
Goad following his arrest in 2003
Died20 October 2012 (aged 67–68)
ResidencePlymouth, England
Known forSexual offences
Criminal statusDeceased
Criminal charge14 counts of rape and 2 counts of indecent assault (October 2004)
PenaltyLife imprisonment

William Goad (1944 – 20 October 2012) was a British millionaire businessman from Plymouth, Devon, who was imprisoned for life for child rape. He was called in various newspapers "Britain's most prolific paedophile",[1][2][3] with his assaults causing two of his victims to commit suicide.[2] Goad was sent to prison for life in October 2004.[1] He pleaded guilty to two charges of indecent assault and 14 counts of rape.[a][4] He was described in court as a “voracious, calculating, predatory and violent homosexual paedophile” who sexually abused young boys over a 30-year period.[4]

His abuse spanned 35 years with victims as young as eight.[5] He bought homes overlooking school playgrounds and often had ten boys staying at his home at any one time.[5] They were threatened with harm to their mothers if they talked and were given cash, gifts and employment in Goad's shops.[5] Goad is reported to have boasted of abusing 142 children in a year.[5]

Goad's fortune was once estimated to be around £25 million.[6] Goad opened Cornish Market World in 1991, which became at one point Britain's biggest indoor market with more than 300 stalls.[7] In the mid-1990s Goad launched Ben's Playworld, a children's play zone hosting a range of activities aimed at 2 to 12-year-olds, including mega-slides, giant tubes and a massive ball-pond.[7]

One of his victims gave statements in the late 80s and early 90s, which led to his first arrest for indecent assault. Goad was put on probation.[6] As a result of increasing statements from victims, a police investigation, Operation Emotion, had opened up. Goad became aware and changed his name to David Scott and moved to the nearby town of Ivybridge.[6] In 1998 he fled to Thailand on a false passport, aware that police were on his tail following new allegations.[4] He was arrested in June 2003 after returning to UK on a false passport.[4] A bank employee had tipped the police off, following his credit card use in the UK.[6] He was arrested while travelling on a train with his financial advisor and business associate; he was immediately rushed to hospital following chest complaints.[6] He required heart surgery before being fit to stand in court.[6] During Goad's ill-health Operation Emotion II had been under way by police and had persuaded 17 victims to testify at trial against him.[6] Initially Goad pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed he was sexually abused at a younger age.[6] Eventually, following overwhelming evidence and comments from the judge to his legal defence, he pleaded guilty.[6] At his sentencing, Martin Meeke QC stated "It is believed there has been no single defendant with more victims than this man".[8] Goad died of natural causes at HMP Isle of Wight, Albany on 20 October 2012.[4][9]


  1. ^ At the time of conviction rape was classed as sexual assault
  1. ^ a b A one-man crime wave?, 4 February, 2005, Betsan Powys, BBC
  2. ^ a b 'Voracious and predatory' paedophile who abused up to 3,500 boys dies in prison, 20 October 2012, Emma Clark, Daily Mail
  3. ^ Activities of dead paedophile William Goad to be re-investigated, 13 September 2013, Steven Morris, The Guardian
  4. ^ a b c d e Britain's worst paedophile William Goad left just £50,000 – not enough to compensate his victims Archived 2014-10-15 at the Wayback Machine, January 24, 2014, Plymouth Herald
  5. ^ a b c d Police hunt millionaire paedophile's accomplices after report finds they failed to do enough to find people who helped him prey on 3,500 children, 13 September 2013, Kieran Corcoran, Daily Mail
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i Keenan, Shy; Payne, Sara (2009). "20". Where Angels Fear. London: Hodder & Stoughton. ISBN 978-0-340-93745-7.
  7. ^ a b Paedophile abused hundreds over four decades, January 30, 2014, Cornish Guardian
  8. ^ "Paedophile receives life sentence". BBC News. 4 October 2004. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  9. ^ "I hope he rots in hell": Victims of Britain's biggest paedophile rejoice at his death, 22 October 2012, Paul Cockerton, Daily Mirror