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Police to question Townshend over child porn
By Richard Ford, Home Correspondent
SCOTLAND Yard detectives are expected to question the
rock star Pete Townshend after he admitted paying to
look at child porn on the internet.

Last night the model Jerry Hall backed Mr Townshend,
saying that he had advised her how to protect her
children from accidentally gaining access to such

His brother, Paul, insisted that Mr Townshends
personal assistant had proof that the star entered the
website only for research. He would be exonerated in
days, his brother said. 

Childrens charities said that he had been naive and
that his actions had been inexcusable. 

There were claims that two senior politicians and a
second international entertainer were on a list of
names passed to British police by US investigators
into child porn. 

Mr Townshend, 57, admitted that on one occasion he had
used a credit card to access a pay-per-view child
pornography website. He insisted that he had done so
only as part of research for a campaign against child

Last night Mr Townshend told The Sun that he had
viewed child pornography on the internet three or four
times, only for research for an anti-paedophile

In a statement issued earlier at his home in Richmond,
southwest London: I am not a paedophile. I think
paedophilia is appalling. 

A spokesman for Mr Townshend, a founder member of The
Who, said that he had not downloaded any pornographic
images of children. 

Ms Hall joined the disc jockey Paul Gambaccini and
relatives of Mr Townshend in offering public backing.
She said that at a dinner party in October 2001 Mr
Townshend had expressed his fears as a public figure
speaking out on such a sensitive subject. Ms Hall
said: Since 1992 I have campaigned for child welfare
foundations both in raising public awareness and
funds. Pete Townshend is an avid supporter of these
causes. In addition, he advised me on how to prevent
my children from inadvertently gaining access to such
sites. Pete Townshend is the least likely profile of a
child abuser it is possible to construct and that is
because he isnt one. 

Last night Mr Townshend said he was being supported by
several show-business friends, including David Bowie,
Bob Geldof and Bono, the leader of the group U2. 

Mr Townshends spokesman had confirmed that they had
tracked down the officer to whom he claims to have
spoken last October when initially investigating child
pornography on the internet. The spokesman claimed to
have a statement from a detective advising the star
that he should contact either a former detective
inspector who had joined the National Crime Squad as a
civilian, working as a computer expert, or the
paedophile squad at Scotland Yard. 

Scotland Yard detectives are expected to question Mr
Townshend, a father of three, over his admission, and
forensic experts will want to examine his computers.
But internet watchdogs dismissed his explanation for
entering the website as no excuse. Mark Stephens, a
lawyer who founded the Internet Watch Foundation,
said: It is OK to lobby. But it is misguided and
illegal to look at or download or even to pay to
download paedophiliac material.Mr Stephens said that
people were employed across the globe to combat child
pornography. It was not the role of a member of the
public to investigate it. 

The childrens charity NCH also warned people not to
do their own research into child pornography on the
internet: no English court had accepted research as an
excuse for having pornographic images. 

The name, credit card details and e-mail address of
the multimillionaire guitarist and songwriter are
alleged to have been in a dossier of 7,200 names given
to British police after a US investigation into a
pay-for-view website involving children as young as

In his statement, Mr Townshend said: I am not a
paedophile. I have never entered chat rooms on the
internet to converse with children. I have, to the
contrary, been shocked, angry and vocal (especially on
my website) about the explosion of advertised
paedophilic images on the internet. 

The statement added: I have been writing my childhood
autobiography for seven years. 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. 

The statement was issued on Saturday after the Daily
Mail reported that details of a famous musician had
been passed to UK detectives. 

In todays Sun Mr Townshend says: I would be prepared
to have the hard drive of my computer analysed by
police. It is important that that are able to convince
themselves that, if I did anything illegal, I did it
purely for research. I am not a paedophile. I am
deeply wounded at the inference that I might be a

I have looked at child porn sites maybe three or four
times in all, the front pages and previews. But I have
only entered once using a credit card and I have never
downloaded. With hindsight it was very foolish but I
felt so angered about what was going on it blurred my

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!
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