Ex-BBC presenters Tony and Julie Wadsworth jailed for sex offences

Julie and Tony WadsworthImage copyright

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The Wadsworths are “sexual predators” who lived “double lives”, prosecutors said

Two former BBC radio presenters have been jailed for five years for indecently assaulting under-age boys.

Husband and wife Tony and Julie Wadsworth were found guilty by a majority verdict of encouraging six boys to take part in sexual activity between 1992 and 1996.

The couple were also convicted at Warwick Crown Court of outraging public decency by having sex in woodland.

The pair, of Broughton Astley, Leicestershire, had denied the charges.

Following a three-week trial, Julie Wadsworth, 60, was convicted by majority 10-2 verdicts of nine indecent assaults and five counts of outraging public decency.

Her spouse, 69, who acted as a “look-out”, was found guilty of the same charges, also by majority verdicts.

Both were found not guilty of three counts of indecent assault, two of which related to a single victim.

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The court heard the couple claim they had “hanky panky” outdoors in order to boost Julie Wadsworth’s self esteem

Some victims told the court Julie Wadsworth was variously dressed in a “flasher’s mac” trench coat, white high-heels, stockings, suspenders and a split-skirt at the time of the offences.

Prosecutors said the abuse took place at a number of locations, including the couple’s home in Atherstone, Warwickshire, as well as on a nearby golf course and surrounding woodland.

Jurors heard from one victim who stumbled across the pair while looking for a lost golf ball.

Another victim, who is now in his 30s but was 14 at the time, told the court he was “100% convinced” that a couple he saw having sex against a tree in 1992 were the Wadsworths and said she had performed a sex act on him.

The pair wed in 1994 and Birmingham-based BBC WM after meeting in the 1980s when they were both in relationships with other people.

During the trial, they told the court they had outdoor “hanky panky” in order to empower Julie Wadsworth and help her with body image issues stemming from a troubled past.

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The Wadsworth’s were known for sharing a suggestive sense of humour

Analysis: Phil Mackie, BBC News

Tony and Julie Wadsworth were a well-known double act in the Midlands, presenting together for more than two decades for BBC local radio in Leicester and in Birmingham.

The couple were known for their double-entendres and “Carry On” sense of humour – and played up to it on camera and for publicity.

Although little-known outside the Midlands, the case generated lurid headlines in the newspapers as details of the couple’s sex lives were revealed in court.

Staff who worked with them said they had absolutely no suspicions about their sexual behaviour.

As the verdicts were returned, Julie Wadsworth repeatedly gulped and wiped away tears. Her husband showed little emotion.

Mitigating for Julie Wadsworth after her conviction, David Hislop QC said: “I know the court will take into account the substantial charity works this defendant had carried out over the years.

“At 60 years of age, hers has been a tragic fall from grace – she forged from humble beginnings a successful career as a broadcaster.

“A period of incarceration will be made even more difficult for her, knowing the stigma attached to her convictions will carry on forever.”

Tony Wadsworth’s lawyer, Michelle Clarke, said the hardest thing for him to come to terms with would be being separated from his wife.

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The Wadsworths enjoyed a high profile among local radio listeners in the Midlands

Speaking after the case, David Rouse, a senior prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service, said the couple had lived “double lives”.

“In their public and professional lives they were a couple who came across as caring, warm and respectable.

“However, in their private lives, they preyed on young, impressionable victims for their own sexual gratification.”

He thanked the victims for their courage in bringing “two sexual predators to justice”.

The NSPCC said: “The Wadsworths’ behaviour has been exposed for what it is – child sexual abuse.

“Julie Wadsworth’s fatuous claim in court that she was a victim in this case is insulting.

“The true victims were young boys who were repeatedly encouraged to engage in illegal sexual activity.”

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