Head teacher found dead after being arrested for alleged sexual assault

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A head teacher arrested on suspicion of sexual abuse has been found dead.

The body of William 'Willie' Murdock, 60, was found in woodland in Surrey.

The head of Danes Hill School in Oxshott, Surrey, was discovered in Woodlands Lane at 8.45pm on February 10.

Mr Murdock was a teacher at Danes Hill for more than 35 years before becoming acting head teacher in 2006. He was named head teacher in January 2007.

A police spokesperson said: "The investigation into his death remains ongoing, but it is not believed that there are any suspicious circumstances or third party involvement at this stage."

Officers also confirmed it received an allegation on February 5 of a sexual assault against an adult four days earlier.

A spokesperson told SurreyLive: "A 60-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident and subsequently released on conditional bail."

A spokesperson for Danes Hill told SurreyLive: "We would ask that you respect their privacy and all those involved at this time and beyond; and for everyone to respect the fact that this school belongs to all of the children who have been, and will continue to be, educated here at Danes Hill."

Surrey Police subsequently confirmed that the force received an allegation of sexual assault on Friday, February 5. The offence, involving an adult victim, is alleged to have taken place on Friday, January 29.

A spokesperson said: "A 60-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident and subsequently released on conditional bail."

In a letter sent to parents on February 16 by Vernon Educational Trust, which manages the school, confirmed that Mr Murdock had been the subject of a police investigation.

The letter, written by chair Hugh Monro, said: "I regret to inform you that, in the days prior to his death, Mr Murdock had been the subject of an investigation by Surrey Police and had been suspended from his role as Head.

"It is important to reassure you that the allegations did not concern children or any child safeguarding matter."

Surrey Police subsequently confirmed that the force received an allegation of sexual assault on Friday, February 5. The offence, involving an adult victim, is alleged to have taken place on Friday, January 29.

A spokesperson for Danes Hill School added: "We are sorry to confirm that Willie Murdock died last week. This has come as a shock to us all.

"The safety and well-being of everyone in the school community is of paramount importance to us. In the week prior to his death, the school received allegations concerning Mr Murdock. These did not concern children or any child safeguarding matter.

"In line with its policies and procedures, the school started an investigation and reported the matter to the relevant authorities. Mr Murdock was suspended from his role and the police launched a criminal investigation into the allegations.

"Mr Murdock died before the police had concluded their investigation. That investigation has now been superseded by a coroner's inquest. We are not in a position to provide further detail.

"This has been a tragic matter for all concerned. The Governors are giving careful consideration to what further actions should be taken. Meanwhile our thoughts are with the Murdock family and those involved."

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