Abuse Victim's Apology To Lord McAlpine

Abuse Victim's Apology To Lord McAlpine

A child abuse victim has apologised to former Tory Party treasurer Lord McAlpine after confirming he was not the man responsible for abusing him as a teenager.

Steve Messham was said to have issued a statement offering his "sincere and humble apologies" to the peer.

In a statement quoted by the BBC, Mr Messham said: "After seeing a picture in the past hour of the individual concerned, this (is) not the person I identified by photograph presented to me by the police in the early 1990s, who told me the man in the photograph was Lord McAlpine.

"I want to offer my sincere and humble apologies to him and his family."

Earlier, Lord McAlpine broke cover to issue a vehement public denial of the "wholly false and seriously defamatory" claims against him.

He has been the subject of intense speculation since Mr Messham claimed on Newsnight last week he had been abused at a children's home in Wrexham, north Wales, by a senior Conservative from the Thatcher era.

The BBC has also apologised for broadcasting the interview. A spokesman said: "On November 2, Newsnight broadcast a report that looked into criticism of the North Wales Abuse Tribunal.

"The report included an interview with Steve Messham, an abuse victim who said that a senior political figure of the time had abused him.

"We broadcast Mr Messham's claim but did not identify the individual concerned. Mr Messham has tonight made a statement that makes clear he wrongly identified his abuser and has apologised. We also apologise unreservedly for having broadcast this report."

Representatives of Lord McAlpine said solicitors were preparing writs with a view to taking legal action against "all media who have defamed (his) reputation and published defamatory statements".

In his statement, Lord McAlpine said he had visited Wrexham "only once", and that that had been in the company of an agent from Conservative Central Office. They visited a relative of Lord McAlpine's and did not stay overnight, he said.

"I have never been to the children's home in Wrexham, nor have I ever visited any children's home, reform school or any other institution of a similar nature," Lord McAlpine said.

"I have never stayed in a hotel in or near Wrexham, I did not own a Rolls-Royce, have never had a 'Gold card' or 'Harrods card' and never wear aftershave, all of which have been alleged.

"I did not sexually abuse Mr Messham or any other residents of the children's home in Wrexham."

Lord McAlpine said he had been defamed by "ill or uninformed commentators" on the internet and "by innuendo" in the written and broadcast media.

A "substantial number of people" would have "reasonably inferred" that the allegations in the media had referred to him.

"Even though these allegations made of me by implication in the broadcast and print media, and made directly about me on the internet, are wholly false and seriously defamatory, I can no longer expect the broadcast and print media to maintain their policy of defaming me only by innuendo," he said.

"My name and the allegations are for all practical purposes linked and in the public domain and I cannot rewind the clock.

"I therefore have decided that in order to mitigate, if only to some small extent, the damage to my reputation I must publicly tackle these slurs and set the record straight."