Huw Edwards’ wife names him as BBC presenter facing allegations

One of the United Kingdom’s leading news anchors, Huw Edwards, was named by his wife on Wednesday as the BBC presenter who was suspended following allegations over payments for sexually explicit images.

The longtime BBC anchor, one of the network’s highest-earning stars, has led coverage of some of the biggest stories in the UK in recent years, including the death of Queen Elizabeth II last September, royal weddings, elections and the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Edwards’ wife, Vicky Flind, said he was being treated in the hospital with “serious mental health issues,” and that she was issuing the statement on his behalf after days of speculation “primarily out of concern for his mental well-being and to protect our children,” according to a statement published by BBC News.

The statement came soon after London’s Metropolitan Police said that there was no indication that a criminal offense had been committed.

“Huw is suffering from serious mental health issues. As is well documented, he has been treated for severe depression in recent years,” Flind said. “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 statement did not detail any of the allegations made against Edwards over the past week. Flind said that she hoped the statement would bring an end to recent media speculation about other BBC presenters.

“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,” the statement said.

She also said Edwards “was first told that there were allegations being made against him last Thursday” and that he intends to respond “once well enough to do so.”

The case, which has dominated the British news agenda this week, emerged when The Sun newspaper reported Friday that a mother had accused an unnamed presenter of paying for sexually explicit photographs from her teenage child, who was 17 when contact was first made, and who is now 20.

The BBC suspended “a male member of staff” following the report and said in a statement on Sunday that it first became aware of the complaint in May.

Amid the fevered speculation about the presenter’s identity, a lawyer for the young person at the center of the controversy disputed the claims reported in The Sun, saying in a letter to the BBC that they were “rubbish.”

After assessing the case, police said they had “determined there is no information to indicate that a criminal offense has been committed.”

There were fresh allegations made against the presenter this week, according to BBC News, which reported that a second unnamed person had come forward with claims.

The police said they were aware “of media reporting” regarding the further allegations but “no specific details or information about these allegations have been passed to us and therefore there is no police action at this time,” the police said in its statement on Wednesday.

The BBC said it had seen the police’s statement and would “move forward” with its own investigation.

Who is Huw Edwards?

Edwards is a prominent figure in the British media landscape, known for presenting the BBC’s flagship News at Ten program – equivalent to the anchor of a network evening news program in the US. He has also been the BBC’s go-to anchor for coverage of major state events such as royal weddings and funerals.

After joining the BBC as a trainee in 1984, he pursued a career in political journalism and became the network’s chief political correspondent at Westminster.

In the late 1990s, he cemented his status as one of the BBC’s main anchors, presenting the Six O’Clock News.

More recently, he was the anchor who delivered the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II on the BBC.

Edwards and his team won a BAFTA in 2012 for their coverage of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding. That same year, he starred as himself in the James Bond film “Skyfall.”

He is one of the BBC’s highest-paid journalists, earning up to £439,999 ($571,470) per year for appearing on air on the News at Six, the News at Ten, the News Channel and news specials, according to the BBC’s latest report on the top salaries it pays.

The Welsh journalist is also an honorary professor of journalism at Cardiff University, and lives in London with his wife and five children.

Questions over The Sun’s reporting

A flurry of disputed claims published by The Sun led to a heated debate over the ethics and standards of its reporting.

The Sun first reported Friday that the then-unnamed presenter had paid the person in question more than £35,000 ($45,000) since they were 17 years old in return for explicit images. It is a criminal offense in the UK to take or obtain sexually explicit photographs of anyone under the age of 18. The Sun later updated its reporting to say only that contact had begin when the youth was 17.

A lawyer for the young person later rebuffed the claims, saying the statement their mother gave to the tabloid was “totally wrong and there was no truth to it,” according to the BBC.

London’s Metropolitan Police said Wednesday that there was no indication that a criminal offense had been committed in the case of the BBC presenter.

After Edwards was named and his mental health struggles revealed, The Sun said it had “no plans to publish further allegations.”

“We must also re-emphasise that The Sun at no point in our original story alleged criminality and also took the decision neither to name Mr Edwards nor the young person involved in the allegations,” a spokesperson said in a statement.

“Suggestions about possible criminality were first made at a later date by other media outlets, including the BBC.”

Some commentators pointed out that that one of the follow-up stories published on The Sun’s website suggested that the then-unnamed presenter could face jail time.

“From the outset, we have reported a story about two very concerned and frustrated parents who made a complaint to the BBC about the behaviour of a presenter and payments from him that fuelled the drug habit of a young person,” The Sun added.

The spokesperson said it was now for the broadcaster to “properly investigate,” adding that The Sun would cooperate with the BBC’s internal investigation.

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