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)
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] with his assaults causing two of his victims to commit suicide.

He pleaded guilty to two charges of indecent assault and 14 counts of rape.[a][3] He was described in court as a “voracious, calculating, predatory and violent homosexual paedophile” who sexually abused young boys over a 30-year period.[3]

Goad was sent to prison for life in October 2004.[1]

His abuse spanned 35 years with victims as young as eight.

Goad's fortune was once estimated to be around £25 million.[4] Goad opened Cornish Market World in 1991, which became at one point Britain's biggest indoor market with more than 300 stalls.[5] 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.[5]

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.[4] 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.[4] In 1998 he fled to Thailand on a false passport, aware that police were on his tail following new allegations.[3] He was arrested in June 2003 after returning to UK on a false passport.[3] A bank employee had tipped the police off, following his credit card use in the UK.[4] He was arrested while travelling on a train with his financial advisor and business associate; he was immediately rushed to hospital following chest complaints.[4] He required heart surgery before being fit to stand in court.[4] 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.[4] Initially Goad pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed he was sexually abused at a younger age.[4] Eventually, following overwhelming evidence and comments from the judge to his legal defence, he pleaded guilty.[4] At his sentencing, Martin Meeke QC stated "It is believed there has been no single defendant with more victims than this man".[6] Goad died of natural causes at HMP Isle of Wight, Albany on 20 October 2012.[3][7]


  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. ^ Activities of dead paedophile William Goad to be re-investigated, 13 September 2013, Steven Morris, The Guardian
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b Paedophile abused hundreds over four decades, January 30, 2014, Cornish Guardian
  6. ^ "Paedophile receives life sentence". BBC News. 4 October 2004. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  7. ^ "I hope he rots in hell": Victims of Britain's biggest paedophile rejoice at his death, 22 October 2012, Paul Cockerton, Daily Mirror