UK & World News
UK School Confirms US Paedophile Abused Pupils
A prolific paedophile who taught at a London school was a "very popular" teacher who never showed any hint of wrongdoing, the school's chair of governors has told Sky News.
Sir Chris Woodhead confirmed pupils at the Southbank International School had been abused by William James Vahey, a 64-year-old American who taught in schools around the world.
British detectives are helping an international investigation into the scale of his crimes.
Vahey killed himself in a Minnesota motel room on March 21.
His suicide came two days after FBI agents filed for a warrant to search a computer thumb drive containing abuse images of at least 90 children dating back to 2008.
Sir Chris told Sky News he discovered children at his school had been targeted after receiving information from the Met Police, who were informed by the FBI.
He said: "When we appointed him (Vahey) we had a criminal records bureau investigation done.
"We had another CRB check three years later; we requested interviews from his previous schools covering 17 years of his previous professional employment. The references were immaculate."
Vahey worked at the school from 2009-2013, teaching history and geography to pupils aged 11-16.
"He was a very popular member of staff with both parents and students, perhaps an index of his sophistication and cleverness as a deceitful man who abused children," said Sir Chris, a former chief inspector of schools.
Police broke the news to staff at the £25,000-a-year school on Thursday morning and a letter was being sent to parents.
Officers carried out a search warrant at a north London address on Tuesday, in response to a request from the FBI.
Nobody was present at the property at the time, however police seized a number of items.
Police say they believe Mr Vahey's victims were boys aged between 10 and 14 years of age.
One couple said Mr Vahey taught their 13-year-old son last year.
The mother said: "I couldn't sleep for worrying about it and I had to sit my son down and ask him if anything had ever happened in school.
"Mr Vahey also took my son on a field trip abroad and this is a big concern for us.
"My son is fine, though, and I would have expected his behaviour to change if anything happened so I don't think anything did.
"I know there are pictures that police have of boys but if my son is on the list, I don't want to know and I don't want him to know."
A Venezuelan school, Escuela Campo Alegre, has also spoken of its "great shock and disappointment" at finding out about Vahey.
The victims on the American's computer drive appeared drugged and unconscious in the images.
The thumb drive was handed to the US Embassy by one of Vahey's co-workers at the American Nicaraguan School in Managua after it was discovered by one of his domestic staff.
The FBI said: "When confronted about the images by a school administrator, Vahey confessed that he was molested as a child and had preyed on boys his entire life, giving them sleeping pills prior to the molestation."