HUW EDWARDS: Metropolitan Police has said no criminal offence has been committed by the BBC presenter

By Democrat reporters

Vicky Flind, the wife of news reader Huw Edwards, has named him as the BBC presenter facing allegations over payments for sexually explicit images in a statement issued on his behalf.

The Metropolitan Police has said no criminal offence has been committed by the BBC presenter, facing allegations over payments for sexually explicit images, who has now been named as 61-year-old Edwards.

Edwards is one of the most recognisable faces on British television and has fronted the BBC’s flagship nightly news programme, BBC News at Ten, for the last 20 years.

In a statement given to the PA news agency, Ms Flind said: “In light of the recent reporting regarding the ‘BBC Presenter’ I am making this statement on behalf of my husband Huw Edwards, after what have been five extremely difficult days for our family.

“I am doing this primarily out of concern for his mental well-being and to protect our children.

“Huw is suffering from serious mental health issues. As is well documented, he has been treated for severe depression in recent years.

“The events of the last few days have greatly worsened matters, he has suffered another serious episode and is now receiving in-patient hospital care where he’ll stay for the foreseeable future.

“Once well enough to do so, he intends to respond to the stories that have been published.

“To be clear Huw was first told that there were allegations being made against him last Thursday.

“In the circumstances and given Huw’s condition I would like to ask that the privacy of my family and everyone else caught up in these upsetting events is respected.

“I know that Huw is deeply sorry that so many colleagues have been impacted by the recent media speculation. We hope this statement will bring that to an end.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “We have seen the statement from the police confirming they have completed their assessment and are not taking further action. We’re grateful to them for completing this work at speed.

“The police had previously asked us to pause our fact-finding investigations and we will now move forward with that work, ensuring due process and a thorough assessment of the facts, whilst continuing to be mindful of our duty of care to all involved.”

Last week, The Sun newspaper first reported allegations against an unnamed presenter, claiming the man had paid a young person tens of thousands of pounds for sexually explicit images.

On July 9, the BBC issued an update to staff and the media and confirmed it had suspended the unnamed presenter.

Sources have made it clear to the PA news agency that Edwards has not resigned.

What has Huw Edwards said about depression?

Huw Edward’s wife, Vicky Flind, said in her statement that he is “suffering from serious mental health issues” and is receiving in-patient hospital care.

She notes it’s been well documented that he has been treated for severe depression in recent years.

In 2022, Huw Edwards spoke to Men’s Health UK about his mental health, describing how during his worst bout of depression he was unable to get out of bed.

Speaking to mental health campaigner and columnist Alastair Campbell, he said: “It’s not anxiety, although it includes anxiety, but it tends to hit me in a strong wave and then go away.

“Things that you usually enjoy, you dread. You come into work and obviously you do a professional job, but you’re kind of pushing your way through it.

“And, of course, if it’s very bad – as it has been a few times over the course of 20 years – you can’t work. During the worst one I had, I couldn’t get out of bed.”

No evidence of offences – police force

As we’ve been reporting, the Metropolitan Police has said there’s no information to indicate a criminal offence has been committed.

We have also previously reported that another police force said they were contacted in April about the allegations first made in the Sun.

We’ve now seen a statement from a police force other than the Met, confirming it has found no evidence of any criminal offence being committed.

It does not name Huw Edwards, but says it has remained in contact with the Met Police and BBC following a meeting on Monday.

“At this time, there is no evidence that any criminal offences have been committed.” It added that no ongoing enquiries were being carried out.

But the force said if evidence of criminality or safeguarding issues are identified in future, these will be investigated.

Saga underscores importance of privacy law debate

Dominic Casciani,  Legal correspondent

Anyone with an ounce of humanity would grasp the extraordinary outcome tonight of this story.

Huw Edwards identified as the presenter alleged by The Sun for days to have obtained sexually explicit images from a 17-year-old.

And, almost exactly at the same time, the Metropolitan Police says that the allegations amounts to nothing – there’s no evidence of a criminal offence.

This week has been more than a drama – it has had a direct impact on the lives of real people. And that is why the debate around a law that protects each of our private lives is so important in the modern media digital age.

Tonight, campaigners who want a new law of anonymity before criminal charge say the police’s confirmation of no suspicion of a crime proves their point. People caught in a storm should not have to rely alone on suing after the reporting of bogus allegations, like Sir Cliff Richard successfully did in 2018.

‘A purely personal tragedy’ – John Simpson

More reaction is coming in now that Huw Edwards has been named as the BBC presenter at the centre of allegations being made.

BBC presenter John Simpson says: “I feel so sorry for everyone involved in this: for the Edwards family, for the complainants, and for Huw himself.”

In a tweet, he writes that “no criminal offences were committed” – a reference to the Met confirming it had dropped its assessment of the claims – “so it’s a purely personal tragedy for everyone involved”.

“Let’s hope the press leave them all alone now,” Simpson adds.

A simple guide to the story

The BBC presenter suspended over allegations about his private life has been named as Huw Edwards by his wife, who released a statement on her husband’s behalf less than an hour ago. How did we get to this point?

  • The Sun publishes its first report on Friday 7 July, carrying a mother’s claims that an unnamed BBC presenter paid thousands to their 20-year-old child for explicit images over three years, starting when they were 17. It’s an offence to obtain explicit images of someone under the age of 18
  • Further allegations are published by the Sun on Saturday, and on Sunday, the BBC suspends a male member of staff, now known to be Edwards
  • On Monday: BBC executives meet with the Metropolitan Police and the 20-year-old mentioned in the first Sun story denies the claims through lawyers
  • On Tuesday: the Sun publishes two more stories containing further allegations, and the BBC publishes its own story with fresh claims
  • The BBC also reveals a timeline of events, confirming claims were first reported to the broadcaster on 18 May. The presenter was only spoken to seven weeks later
  • On Wednesday: police confirm they assessed no evidence of criminal activity after speaking to people involved in the initial allegations, and the paused BBC investigation resumes
  • at the same time, Flind issues her statement confirming Edwards was the presenter involved and that he had been hospitalised after a serious mental health episode. Edwards intends to respond to the stories that have been published once he is able to, Flind’s statement said.

    ‘This is a man who has embodied BBC values’

    Katie Razzall, the BBC’s culture editor, said the naming of Huw Edwards is “a huge shock to viewers” as well as “a big shock to all of us at BBC News”.

    “This is such dramatic news, this is a man who has embodied BBC values, has been the face of the BBC, has held the viewers’ hands through so many of the momentous parts of our nation’s history – whether it’s elections, royal events, the Queen’s death or the King’s coronation,” says Razzall.

    Razzall said that at the time the statement came from Huw Edwards’ wife naming him, BBC News could at that point say it knew the identity of the presenter but had not been able to name him for legal reasons. “Now we are able to,” she concluded.

  1. Who is Huw Edwards?

    Huw Edwards presenting the Ten O'clock News in June 2022

    Huw Edwards, 61, is a household name and one of the BBC’s best-known presenters.

    • He has worked for the BBC for four decades, including two decades as the lead presenter on the BBC’s flagship Ten O’Clock news
    • He has anchored many key moments, including the death and funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, the weddings of Prince William and Kate and of Prince Harry and Meghan, the Queen’s Diamond and Platinum Jubilees, the inauguration of US President Barack Obama and the death of Nelson Mandela
    • He was brought up in Wales and studied at Cardiff University where he is now an honorary professor of journalism
    • He is one of the BBC’s highest paid employees, earning between £435,000 and £439,999 for 2022/23
    • He lives in London with his wife and five children
    • Edwards has spoken out in the past about his struggles with depression

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