Newsreader Huw Edwards named as BBC star accused of paying teenager for explicit photos

In a statement from his wife, Huw Edwards was named as the BBC presenter currently at the centre of a scandal engulfing the corporation
Huw Edwards has been named as the suspended BBC star alleged to have paid a teenager for sexually explicit photographs. (Credit: NationalWorld)Huw Edwards has been named as the suspended BBC star alleged to have paid a teenager for sexually explicit photographs. (Credit: NationalWorld)
Huw Edwards has been named as the suspended BBC star alleged to have paid a teenager for sexually explicit photographs. (Credit: NationalWorld)

Presenter Huw Edwards has been named as the subject of allegations including paying a teenager for sexually explicit images in a statement released by his wife.

Vicky Flind, the wife of BBC news reader, 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."

Flind said in her statement that Edwards is "suffering from serious mental health issues", referencing the fact that her husband has been treated for severe depression in recent years.

She added: “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 naming of the presenter comes as the Metropolitan Police said that no criminal offence had been committed by Edwards, following an investigation into the claims. A statement from the force said: "Detectives from the Met's Specialist Crime Command have now concluded their assessment and have determined there is no information to indicate that a criminal offence has been committed.

"In reaching this decision, they have spoken to a number of parties including the BBC and the alleged complainant and the alleged complainant’s family, both via another police force. There is no further police action. As such, the Met has advised the BBC it can continue with its internal investigation.

"We are aware of media reporting of further allegations against the same individual. No specific details or information about these allegations have been passed to us and therefore there is no police action at this time.

"Should evidence of criminality or safeguarding issues be identified at any point we would expect matters to be referred to the relevant police force."

Edwards had been accused of paying a teenager £35,000 over three years for explicit photos - the victim’s mother alleges that her child used the money to fund a crack cocaine addiction which ‘destroyed’ their life. The teenager has not been named in order to protect their identity. He was also accused of sending threatening messages to another younger person, as well as allegedly breaking Covid lockdown rules to meet up with another young person.

The Sun newspaper, which first published the allegations against the then-unnamed presenter, said in a statement: “The allegations published by The Sun were always very serious. Further serious allegations have emerged in the past few days. It is right that the BBC’s Corporate Investigations Team continues to investigate these thoroughly and deals with them in the way that they think is appropriate.

"The Sun will cooperate with the BBC’s internal investigation process. We will provide the BBC team with a confidential and redacted dossier containing serious and wide-ranging allegations which we have received, including some from BBC personnel."

The outlet added that it has no plans to publish any further allegations against Edwards

Who is Huw Edwards?

Huw Edwards, 61, is a Welsh journalist who began working with the BBC in the 1980s. He presented the BBC Six O'Clock News from 1994-2003, before joining the Ten O'Clock News.

He has covered some of the biggest news events in the UK over the years, including the 2019 general election, the death and funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in September last year, several royal weddings, and the coronation of King Charles III.  

In last year’s BBC annual report, he was listed as the sixth highest paid presenter, having earned between £410,000-£414,999.

Edwards is believed to have last appeared on the BBC on Wednesday 5 July, when he fronted coverage for King Charles’ coronation in Scotland. It was on the following day that the BBC said they had received ‘allegations of a different nature’ to those that they had already been made aware of.

On 7 July, The Sun published claims that an unnamed BBC presenter had paid a teenager for sexually explicit photos, and on 9 July the BBC confirmed that the presenter had been suspended.

What do the allegations against Huw Edwards mean?

The exact nature of the allegations made against Edwards are not confirmed. He has been accused of paying for explicit photos of a teenager.

If the alleged images were of a sexual nature and taken when the teenager was younger than 18, then these allegations could have legal ramifications. If Huw did pay for images of this nature, he could be charged with possession of images of a child undertaking sexual acts, which carries a minumum sentence of 26 weeks in prison.

If the alleged images were taken after the teenager turned 18 or were not sexual in nature, then it is likely that possession of the images would not constitute a crime. The Metropolitan Police and South Wales Police have confirmed that there was no evident illegality or criminal behaviour in the evidence presented to them.

Additionally, Huw is married and has five children with his wife, Vicky Flind. It’s not clear when the pair got married but they are believed to have been together for several years. If the alleged exchange of money for explicit images did take place, then it could have ramifications for Edwards’ personal life regardless of any legal consequences.

Why did it take so long for Huw Edwards to be named?

There are several factors that could have influenced the BBC’s decision in not to name the presenter at the centre of the scandal - the company may have felt that they had a duty of care to protect Edwards in the event that the allegations were unfounded. Edwards has also been open about his history of depression in the past and this may have been another factor in the BBC’s decision. 

Additionally, the BBC may have been wary of defaming Edwards, as if the company could not prove the allegations they could risk a costly court case. The BBC is yet to specify why they did not name Edwards immediately.

However, as the company stayed silent, other stars found themselves misidentified as the suspended presenter - BBC Radio Five Live host Nicky Campbell announced that he was in contact with police for this very reason. Other stars that distanced themselves from the allegations before the BBC named Edwards included Gary Lineker, Jeremy Vine, Rylan Clark, and Dan Walker.

The Sun newspaper also held back from naming the star, despite running several stories making allegations against the then-unnamed presenter.

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