The former chair of the chaotic inquiry into child abuse has denied accusations she made a string of racists remarks during her time as head of the government review. Home Office staff have been accused of attempting to cover up offensive remarks made by Dame Lowell Goddard while she was chair of the "largest and most ambitious" inquiry ever attempted in Britain.

Goddard, 67, quit her role as head of the inquiry in August following claims she spent around three months of her first year in charge on holiday or overseas, primarily in her native New Zealand.

According to The Times, Goddard's aggressive and abusive conduct left the review in "near paralysis" and was accused of incompetence as at times "struggled to grasp points of English law". She is also accused of suggesting Britain had so many paedophiles "because it has so many Asian men" and allegedly complained that she has to travel 50 miles from London to see a white face.

Goddard has now rejected the claims in the newspaper, describing them as falsities", "malicious" and part of a "vicious campaign".

She added: "Nearly two years ago I stepped down as a New Zealand judge to answer the urgent request of the British government to chair its inquiry into child sex abuse. Subsequently, for reasons I have made public, I resigned and returned to New Zealand.

"Two days ago I was contacted by The Times and asked to respond to matters which it now says it obtained from 'figures' within the inquiry. I responded through my London lawyers, identifying the falsity of the matters raised, and the malicious background to them.

"The newspaper has [now] published articles about me and the inquiry, using some of those same matters in its attack. I reported to the Home Secretary and to the Parliamentary select committee on my resignation and my reasons for it. My major concern was to protect the inquiry and its work, and identify how the problems I encountered could be overcome."

Goddard said that the conduct "of those involved has since come under scrutiny.

"This will give New Zealanders some insight into what I experienced," she said. "I await the advice of my London lawyers on these articles, which I have only just seen. I confirm my absolute rejection of this attack. I am confident that in New Zealand my known reputation from my work over many years will provide its own refutation of these falsities.

"I will be making no further statement and will not engage with those conducting this vicious campaign."

The child abuse inquiry, which officially launched last July but has yet to hear any evidence, has already been condemned for its "shambolic" start following the resignations of its previous two chairs Fiona Woolf and Baroness Butler-Sloss before Goddard became the third chair to quit.

Professor Alexis Jay, who conducted the review into mass child abuse which occurred in Rotherham which shook the UK, took over from Goddard as chair of the inquiry.