Receive free Huw Edwards updates
We’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest Huw Edwards news every morning.
Huw Edwards has been named as the BBC presenter facing allegations over payments for sexually explicit images, as the Metropolitan Police said they had found no evidence of any criminal offence.
The decision to name Edwards by his wife Vicky Flind on Wednesday night brings to an end days of speculation over the identity of the presenter at the centre of a media storm over his alleged relationships with a series of young people.
In a statement released to the PA news agency on his behalf, Flind said he was suffering from serious mental health issues. She said the decision to name Edwards was “primarily out of concern for his mental wellbeing and to protect our children”.
“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 inpatient hospital care where he’ll stay for the foreseeable future.”
She added that Edwards would respond to the stories that had been published when he is “well enough to do so”.
Edwards is one of the best-known news readers at the BBC, helming its coverage of the UK’s most important state and international events, including Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral and King Charles III’s coronation.
The Welsh journalist, who has been the lead presenter of the flagship News at Ten evening programme for two decades, is the broadcaster’s best-paid news reader, earning more than £430,000 last year. The 61-year-old father of five, who lives in London, has in the past talked about his depression.
The British media had chosen not to identify Edwards owing to UK privacy laws that have created new legal risks for publishers and broadcasters. Even so, the presenter’s identity was known by many in the media industry, including inside the BBC, and has been circulated on social media since the weekend.
The decision by Edwards’ wife to name him will come as a relief to BBC bosses, who have been under pressure to identify the presenter from both inside its own newsroom and from politicians and former journalists. However, questions will remain over the corporation’s handling of the affair, and whether it should have done more to investigate the allegations earlier.
Also on Wednesday evening, the police concluded that the presenter had not broken any laws. Detectives from the Met’s specialist crime command said they had found no evidence to indicate that a criminal offence had been committed by the presenter, who was suspended by the BBC on Sunday.
In a statement, the Met said: “In reaching this decision, [the specialist unit] 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.”
The BBC said: “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.”
A memo to BBC staff from director-general Tim Davie seen by the Financial Times said that “this will no doubt be a difficult time for many after a challenging few days”.
He added: “I want to reassure you that our immediate concern is our duty of care to all involved. This remains a very complex set of circumstances. As we have done throughout, our aim must be to navigate through this with care and consideration.”
There have been several allegations made against the presenter. The Sun first reported a family’s claims that their child was paid tens of thousands of pounds by a BBC presenter for explicit photos over three years. A lawyer representing the young person on Monday described these claims as “rubbish”.
On Tuesday afternoon, the BBC said a second young person had been sent abusive messages after they hinted at revealing the presenter’s identity on social media. The Sun then reported claims by a 23-year-old that the presenter broke coronavirus lockdown rules to meet them in February 2021.
Flind is herself a former BBC employee, having edited late-night political programme This Week with Andrew Neil for a decade before leaving in 2016 to set up the Peston political talk show on ITV. She did not respond to a request for comment from the FT.
Jon Sopel, a former BBC journalist, said on Twitter: “This is an awful and shocking episode, where there was no criminality, but perhaps a complicated private life. That doesn’t feel very private now. I hope that will give some cause to reflect. They really need to. I wish @thehuwedwards well.”
The Sun said it would co-operate 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 Sun has no plans to publish further allegations.”
It added 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”.
Additional reporting by Alistair Gray