Victims' relief as William Goad, 'Britain's worst paedophile', dies
VICTIMS of William Goad – the man dubbed 'Britain's worst paedophile' – today said they were glad he had died in prison.
Former Plymouth businessman Goad, believed to have abused as many as 3,500 boys, died in jail aged 68 early on Saturday.
He was jailed for life in 2004 for sexual offences over 35 years and once boasted of beating his own "record" of abusing 142 boys in one year.
Victims today said that they were glad he was dead – though he never confessed his crimes.
Police officers described him as a "monster" who should never have been released.
Some victims of Goad have been driven to suicide, others have battled drug abuse or mental illness and some have turned to crime.
The partner of one of Goad's victims, who is in hospital and who cannot be identified, said: "I have spoken to him.
He says he is glad he is dead and he is glad he has died in prison before having the chance to be released."
Former Plymouth man Ray Zolla, who waived his legal right to anonymity, said: "Initially I was quite shocked but since then jubilation has come over me.
"As morbid as it sounds, I'm actually quite happy that a higher justice has been served and there's no way he can come back into the community.
"I'm glad it's come to an end but unfortunately a lot of the guys and survivors will still carry that pain for the rest of our lives."
A Prison Service spokeswoman said that Goad died in jail on the Isle of Wight on Saturday.
She added: "HMP Albany prisoner, William Goad, was pronounced dead at twenty minutes past midnight on October 20. He is believed to have died from natural causes.
"As with all deaths in custody, the independent Prisons and Probation Ombudsman will conduct an investigation."
Goad, who ran shops and market stalls, was jailed for life at Plymouth Crown Court for 14 serious sex offences and two counts of indecent assault.
He preyed on vulnerable young boys and used various techniques to 'groom' them before sexually abusing and raping them.
Goad would invite them to his home in Ford Park Road, Mutley, or offer them well-paid jobs in one of his shops.
And by threatening his victims of 'being sorted' with violence if ever they ever spoke of what had happened, he terrified them into keeping his sordid sex antics secret.
The earliest abuse case city police have unearthed dates back to 1964 when Goad was himself just 19 years old.
Initial inquiries against Goad began in 1998 and involved scores of officers.
Goad fled to Thailand in 1998 on a false passport, aware that police were on his tail.
But the investigation gathered momentum and Goad was arrested in June 2003 for questioning on offences between 1964 and 1994.
He was jailed for life, with a six-year minimum term, in 2004.
Goad was turned down for parole in 2010, having never admitted his guilt.
DETECTIVE: NOW HE CAN'T HURT ANYONE ELSE
A RETIRED detective who was part of the team which brought Goad to justice said that parents could "rest a little easier" now he was dead.
Former detective constable Shirley Thompson said the pervert was no longer able to hurt children.
She said: "This was the worst case I have ever known."
A second officer on the inquiry said victims were saved the prospect of ever bumping into Goad on the street as a free man.
Sgt John Livingstone, who opposed his bid for parole over the last two years, said: "I think this is the right result. I don't think he should ever have been released."
Both officers said that his death would bring closure to victims – but Goad had never admitted nor apologised for his crimes.
Mrs Thompson said: "I was one of the officers working on the William Goad case. He was a monster likely to have abused thousands of children.
"I worked very closely with many victims involved and my thoughts are with them as I know this will bring about some difficult and confusing emotions.
"Some will feel a sense of relief and closure, while others will feel completely cheated out of the justice they deserve. There is so much more to this case than meets the eye.
"Parents can rest a little easier knowing that William Goad, then Britain's worst-ever paedophile, is no longer able to hurt their children."
Sgt Livingstone, then a child protection officer, added Goad never confessed his crimes nor tried to tackle his sick interest in young boys.
He added: "He was convicted of offences but after the case a multitude of victims came forward and he was never convicted in relation to them.
"At least they know they will never have to face him again. Most of them are adults now but they still have that in-built fear in them.
"I still have vivid memories of the reactions of the victims when they were being interviewed.
"This may bring them some sort of closure, something they have never had.
"But he never accepted his guilt and never showed any remorse, which must have been something which went against him as he applied for parole. He never said sorry."
"He stuck to what he said in the trial. He sought to blame the victims and say it was somehow their fault."
Sgt Livingstone said he kept in close touch with the probation service and the prison and advised the parole board "on the multitude of his crimes".
Parole officers turned Goad down for early release at the end of 2010.
Sgt Livingstone, now a beat officer in Ivybridge, said the sheer number of victims needing help led to the start of the professional counselling group Twelve's Company.
He added victims were left gaining support from each other in the weeks after Goad's conviction.
Judge William Taylor, then Plymouth's senior judge, praised the police team after the trial, saying the investigation was "superb".
MONSTER'S HIDDEN MILLIONS
WILLIAM Goad's retail empire was once thought to be worth millions but he has died without paying a penny in compensation to any of his victims.
One man was even awarded a six-figure pay-out two years ago but lawyers are still trying to track down his fortune. Goad was a director of Cornish Market World, and once owned shops throughout the South West, including two branches of Barbican Discounts in Plymouth.
He also owned two properties in the city. It had been thought he may be worth as much as £25million. But a report into Goad's finances a few years ago found that he was worth at most £3million, but probably a lot less.
Aware that the police were on his tail and having fled to Thailand, it is thought he may have squirrelled away his money.
Goad has died without admitting his guilt, let alone uncovering his wealth. Another of Goad's victims gave up his fight for compensation in 2009 fearing there was not enough money to chase.
Lawyers concluded then that he "no identifiable assets", with the likelihood of recovering any damages from Goad "practically nil".
But Ray Zolla, aged 49, formerly from Plymouth but now living in Newquay, continued the fight and was awarded a six-figure sum in 2010. Ray Zolla was a young teenager in the late 1970s when he was abused by Goad – charges Goad denied and they were left to lie on file. He said Goad had hidden his assets and blocked his solicitor's attempts to get the money.
Mr Zolla added: "He's hidden a lot of his assets over the years, off-loaded a lot of money and transferred shares."
His solicitor said he had made himself bankrupt but she added the fight to recover the cash continued.
Mr Zolla said he had remarried and now enjoyed a normal family life.
THE HERALD SAYS: We should never forget the victims
IS it ever right to welcome a death? Can anyone be so bad that the world is a better place simply for knowing they no longer exist?
Today the answer to both questions seems to be a simple yes. William Goad is dead and The Herald is glad.
The former shopkeeper was branded Britain’s worst paedophile after it emerged he may have abused as many as 3,500 boys.
He died behind bars this weekend and as he did so we can only hope he had at least a small taste of the despair and pain he left with many of his victims. We will never know – he certainly never demonstrated sufficient remorse for his disgusting crimes to admit his guilt.
His victims and the detectives who brought the pervert to justice share our sense of relief that this man – who they rightly brand as a “monster” – is dead. They finally have a guarantee that he can do no more harm.
But Goad has already left a trail of broken lives in his wake – some of his victims were driven to suicide, some battled drug abuse and others struggled with mental illness.
His death comes as Britain is reeling from the daily revelations about Jimmy Savile and allegations of his abuse of children. The danger is that Savile’s celebrity will mean the damage done by men like Goad is overshadowed and his victims are forgotten.
We can be glad that Goad is dead but should never forget that his legacy lives on and his victims will deserve our sympathy and support for the rest of their lives.