LONDON (AP) — There is no evidence that a BBC presenter who allegedly paid a teenager for sexually explicit photos committed a crime, London police said Wednesday as the broadcaster’s wife publicly identified for the first time as veteran news anchor Huw Edwards.
The Metropolitan Police said they made their decision after speaking with the alleged victim and that person’s parents. The parents had complained to The Sun newspaper last week that the BBC allowed the presenter to remain on the air after telling the broadcaster in May that he had paid the youngster 35,000 pounds ($45,000) from of 2020, when the person was 17 years old.
As the scandal remained at the top of the news all week, BBC colleagues had called on the anonymous presenter to come forward.
It wasn’t until late Wednesday that his wife, Vicky Flind, released a statement identifying Edwards. She said her husband suffered from serious mental health issues and was hospitalized.
Flind said after “five extremely difficult days for our family” she was naming him “primarily out of concern for his mental well-being and to protect our children.”
“The events of the past few days have made matters much worse, he has suffered another serious episode and is now receiving hospital care where he will remain for the foreseeable future,” she said.
Edwards, 61, is one of Britain’s best-known and most authoritative newscasters, the main presenter of the BBC’s nightly news and the face of its election coverage. He led BBC coverage of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in September. He is among the broadcaster’s highest-paid stars, with an annual salary of at least 435,000 pounds ($565,000).
The UK’s state-funded national broadcaster did not name Edwards but said it had suspended a male star over the allegations. The BBC said it would continue to investigate the matter.
A lawyer representing the youngster in question, who has not been named, told the BBC earlier this week that ‘nothing improper or illegal has happened between our client and the BBC personality’ . The lawyer said the allegations reported in The Sun were “rubbish”.
Although the age of sexual consent in Britain is 16, it is a crime to create or possess indecent images of anyone under 18.