Everything we know about the BBC scandal as Huw Edwards named as presenter in question

Everything we know about the BBC scandal as Huw Edwards named as presenter in question
BBC presenter named V2.mp4

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

In a statement released 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.”

The statement comes as the Metropolitan Police said no criminal offence had been committed by the presenter.

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

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.”

TheSun first reported on Friday that the household name had paid a 17-year-old £35,000 for sexually explicit photos, sparking a feeding frenzy across social media.

And yet, on Monday night, the young person at the heart of the controversy (who is now 20) had their say in the matter – and they insisted the presenter had done nothing wrong.

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Then, 24 hours later, a second young person (in their early 20s) came forward to say they were sent threatening messages by Edwards.

And on Wednesday morning, The Sun reported that a 23-year-old had told them that Edwards broke Covid lockdown rules to meet with them in February 2021.

Here’s a breakdown of all the developments so far.

What were the original claims?

The mother of the young person at the centre of all this told The Sun that she’d seen a picture on her child’s phone showing the presenter sitting in his underwear, apparently waiting for her child to “perform” for him.

She said she’d also seen evidence, through bank statements, that the TV host had been funnelling money to the teenager, which they were using to fund an addiction to crack cocaine.

The mum said she’d complained to the BBC about the presenter’s relationship with her child back in May, but said the corporation had all but ignored her and kept the star on air.

Her alleged frustration with their response drove her to contact the tabloid, she said.

So far, the 20-year-old has not been identified.

What went down on Monday evening?

There was an audible gasp across the BBC newsroom when the 6pm bulletin revealed a letter from a lawyer acting on behalf of the young person, The Timesreports.

The letter, which was received just minutes before the news broadcast, stated that “nothing inappropriate or unlawful” had taken place between the now-20-year-old and the presenter.

“For the avoidance of doubt, nothing inappropriate or unlawful has taken place between our client and the BBC personality and the allegations reported in The Sun newspaper are ‘rubbish’,” it read.

The lawyer also told the corporation that the young person contacted The Sun on Friday evening before it published its article, and said their mother's claims were “totally wrong” and that there was “no truth” to what she said.

The legal representative claimed in the letter that the mother and the young person are estranged, and branded The Sun’s front page story “inappropriate”.

BBC News clarified that it did not know the 20-year-old’s identity and had not spoken with them directly.

It said it had also not seen the alleged dossier of evidence that The Sun claims was handed to the BBC over the weekend, The Times reports.

Fiona Bruce delivered the jaw-dropping update during the BBC's 6pm news bulletinBBC News

How did The Sun and the young person's mum respond?

Both the paper and the young person’s mother are standing by the original allegations.

A spokesperson for The Sun said: “We have reported a story about two very concerned parents who made a complaint to the BBC about the behaviour of a presenter and the welfare of their child. Their complaint was not acted upon by the BBC.

“We have seen evidence that supports their concerns. It’s now for the BBC to properly investigate.”

The mother and stepfather of the young person also doubled down, telling The Sun: “It is sad but we stand by our account and we hope they get the help they need. We did this to help.”

They then suggested that the presenter had “got into” their child’s “head” and questioned how the 20-year-old could afford a lawyer.

What do we know about the second young person?

On Tuesday, BBC News reported that a person in their early 20s – who isn’t connected to the person in The Sun’s initial report – allegedly received threatening messages from the presenter.

According to the broadcaster, the presenter met the young person on a dating app, not in person, and asked them not to tell anyone.

The presenter then allegedly sent a number of “threatening messages”, which the BBC says it has seen and confirmed came from a phone number belonging to the unnamed man.

The corporation said the young person felt “threatened” by the messages and “remains scared”.

BBC News said it had contacted the presenter via his lawyer, but had received no response to the allegations.

What are the lockdown allegations?

The Sun’s front-page report on Wednesday claimed that the paper had seen messages which suggest the presenter travelled from London to a different county to meet an unnamed 23-year-old at their flat in February 2021.

Strict coronavirus lockdown restrictions were in place at the time, including a stay-at-home order and a rule that mixing could only take place between household bubbles.

The young person, who claims to have met the presenter on a dating website, said he also gave them more than £600 in three payments, which the paper said messages also suggest.

They told The Sun: “The BBC were briefing the nation on the rules — when their star who was part of the institution was quite happy to break them.”

The Sun said it had approached the BBC and the presenter for comment and would hand over evidence to the corporation's investigation team.

What do we know about the presenter?

Edwards was named as the presenter in question on Wednesday evening..

Elsewhere, a BBC source said the presenter’s colleagues only became aware of his identity on Saturday.

“At work everyone has been kept out of the loop,” they told The Times. “He is always very nice. A lot of people will be very disappointed and hurt. He has huge respect from very senior people and less senior people. He comes across as an incredibly normal person.”

Meanwhile, a number of MPs had reportedly threatened to use parliamentary privilege to name the man, although one Cabinet minister insisted they wouldn’t be doing so.

Asked about the BBC’s handling of the situation on Tuesday morning, Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride told LBC: “We don’t know enough of the facts to be able to start pointing too many fingers yet at the process.”

Stride added: “And until we know all the facts, and we won’t know I think until this whole matter is concluded, I think it would be wrong to prejudge things and jump to conclusions that people should be named or otherwise.”

In terms of how the presenter himself has acted in response to the allegations, all we know is that he’s alleged to have made “panicked” calls to the young person following the explosive claims, asking: “What have you done?”, and pleading with them to tell their mother to stop the investigation.

On Tuesday, the BBC admitted that they didn't inform the star of the original allegations made against him until seven weeks after the young person's mother lodged her first complaint.

What action is the BBC taking? And are the police investigating?

The BBC launched an investigation into the matter on 19 May after the young person's mother lodged her original complaint to them.

At the time, the corporation's Corporate Investigations Team concluded that the claims didn't include any suggestion of criminal wrongdoing, but they agreed that further investigations were needed.

The BBC said subsequent attempts to contact the mother were unsuccessful, and they confirmed that no additional attempts were made to contact her after 6 June.

However, they stressed that the case remained open throughout.

The Sun first contacted the BBC on 6 July about the new allegations, which was the first time the corporation's director general Tim Davie, or any of its executive directors, were made aware of the case.

The claims made by The Sun contained new allegations – including the suggestion of criminality – that were different from those being considered by the Corporate Investigations Team, the BBC stressed.

On Monday (10 July), the investigations team met with the Metropolitan Police met who instructed them to pause their work while they looked into the allegations themselves.

The corporation said in a statement on Tuesday: “As a result of this meeting, the BBC has been asked to pause its investigations into the allegations while the police scope future work.”

It added: “The BBC has processes and protocols for receiving information and managing complaints when they are first made. We always take these matters extremely seriously and seek to manage them with the appropriate duty of care.

“The events of recent days have shown how complex and challenging these kinds of cases can be and how vital it is that they are handled with the utmost diligence and care. There will, of course, be lessons to be learned following this exercise."

Meanwhile, the Met police confirmed that, for the time being, it is not treating the matter as a criminal investigation.

“Detectives from the Met’s Specialist Crime Command are assessing the information discussed at the meeting and further enquiries are taking place to establish whether there is evidence of a criminal offence being committed,” the force said.

Then, on Tuesday, BBC News reported that an unnamed police force confirmed that it was contacted by the parents of the teenager in April, and initially “no criminality was identified”.

However, the force has since had talks with Scotalnd Yard and the BBC and “further inquiries are ongoing”.

On Thursday the police said that no criminal offence had been committed by the presenter.

Additional reporting by PA.

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