Townshend Arrested on Child Pornography Charges
Who guitarist Pete Townshend later bailed and released
Chiswick born rock legend Pete Townshend has been arrested at his Richmond home. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Child Protection command served two warrants on his home and business premises and took away material including personal computers.
He was arrested on suspicion of making and possessing indecent images and incitement to distribute them.
Townshend, who now lives in Richmond, had admitted paying to download pictures but in a statement issued earlier said that he was researching the issue and had discussed his actions with a lawyer and the police.
The world famous musician said that he embarked on a vigilante crusade against child pornography because he believes that he may have been abused as a child. He is currently writing a childhood autobiography which will detail his early years in this part of London. The relationship between his parents was a stormy one and, as an infant he often had to stay with his maternal grandmother. He says of these visits, "I believe I was sexually abused between the age of five and six-and-a-half when in the care of my maternal grandmother who was mentally ill at the time."
He added that he believed that the large credit card companies had a vested interest in blurring the legal issues concerning international credit card transactions and that he was supportive of moves by organisations like the NSPCC, the Internet Watch Foundation and the police in their efforts to deal with this sort of crime.
He concluded a vehement denial of the suggestion that he is a paedophile by saying, "I hope you will be able to see that I am sincerely disturbed by the sexual abuse of children, and I am very active trying to help individuals who have suffered, and to prevent further abuse."
Another Chiswick born member of the Who, John Entwistle, died last year of a heart attack brought on by the use of cocaine.
Police have already made over 1000 arrests as a result of Operation Ore in which intelligence from US police has been used to identify UK residents who have paid for on-line child porn.
Townshend was questioned at Twickenham police station for over an hour. He has been released on bail but has been asked to return for further questioning later this month.
January 14, 2003