BBC presenter at centre of sex photo scandal named as lead anchor Edwards


LONDON: One of Britain’s leading television news anchors, Huw Edwards, was named by his wife on Wednesday as the BBC presenter facing allegations he paid a young person thousands of pounds for sexually explicit photos, the broadcaster reported.

Edwards announced the death of Queen Elizabeth to the nation in September and has led coverage of the biggest events in Britain since the turn of the century, including elections, royal weddings and the 2012 Olympics.

His wife, Vicky Flind, said she was making a statement out of concern for Edwards’ mental health and to protect their children, after the initial report by the Sun newspaper dominated the news agenda and sparked days of speculation.

“Huw is suffering from serious mental health issues. As is well documented, he has been treated for severe depression in recent years,” Flind said in a statement, according to the BBC.

“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.”

The story first broke on Friday when the Sun tabloid reported a leading BBC presenter had paid a young person 35,000 pounds ($45,000) for explicit photos over three years, beginning when the person was 17.

The BBC suspended the presenter but did not name him. Several BBC stars then took to social media to say they were not involved after speculation swirled online.

The BBC came under fire as it struggled to investigate the claim against the presenter, protect their privacy, respond publicly to the allegations, and not anger other presenters who fell under suspicion on social media.

The age of consent for sex in England is 16, but images of someone under 18 can be considered child pornography.

London’s Metropolitan Police said earlier on Wednesday it had concluded its assessment into the allegations and found there was no indication a criminal offence had been committed.

“There is no further police action,” it said.

Edwards, who has five children, has worked for the BBC since 1984 and has anchored its flagship Ten O’Clock News bulletin for more than two decades. He is the broadcaster’s highest paid news presenter, earning in the 435,000 to 439,999 pounds band (about $565,000).

Flind said she hoped the statement would bring an end to media speculation which had had an impact on Edwards’ BBC colleagues.

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

The BBC said it would continue with its internal investigation into the allegations. Reuters.

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