Thursday, September 15, 2016

The sex crime obsession of the British police again

DJ Neil Fox and his wife have opened up for the first time about the enormous impact the false sex allegations against him had on his family life – and the 'tough chat' they were forced to have with their 13-year-old daughter over the claims.

The former Pop Idol judge, known to millions as Dr Fox, was found not guilty of eight indecent assaults and two sexual assaults dating back to the 1980s following a ten-day trial at a central London court last December.

However, despite being cleared, he has spent much of the last two years desperately fighting the claims after being arrested for the alleged sex offences just minutes after finishing a radio show on Magic FM in 2014.

The 55-year-old father has now branded the allegations a 'witch hunt' against him and said he was 'gobsmacked' to have ever been arrested.

Speaking on ITV's This Morning alongside his wife Vicky, who has supported him throughout the ordeal, Fox relived the day of his arrest in 2014.

He explained how he had just finished his show on Magic FM and his boss was waiting outside the studio. He said: 'My boss said the police are downstairs - and immediately I thought it was something to do with the kids or Vicky - but he said they are here to arrest you.'

'I was gobsmacked. They took me down to Charing Cross, slapped me in a cell for an-hour–and-a- half while they found a lawyer for me. And you suddenly go through this process… The process is very scary and very intimidating.

'I was on bail for three months, then another four. Your life is just in limbo… that's what's hard about it. Trying to keep the routine of the kids going to school. Thank god for the kids, they keep you really level.'

Speaking of the arrest, his wife Vicky added: 'Your first concern is 'are my children ok, is my husband ok'. You're panicked.   'I had a houseful of policeman and they've got all your things, photo albums, everything on the floor, searching through the house.  'I knew there was a witch hunt against DJs. My immediate reaction was he's a DJ, you're going after him.'

Detailing how the allegations affected their family life, Fox – who made his name on Capital Radio in the 1980s and 90s - said it was 'really tough and awful' to see the headlines in the media.

He had been accused of sexually abusing schoolgirls and young women over a 26-year period, including allegedly forcibly kissing two girls at roadshow events and molesting a 15-year-old fan in the station's record library.

Two other women claimed Fox sexually assaulted them after he switched to Magic FM, dry-humping one on a sofa in 2007 and kissing another on the neck last year.

He said: 'They were really tough to hear and they are really awful when you see them on the headline of a paper because they splash out the worse bit they possibly could.

'And I know my daughter and my son go to school on public transport and saw these and it's hard for them of course.

'Scarlett was 13 at the time and as her dad, I had to sit down and have an honest chat with her. It was hard but I wanted her to know everything from me and from Vicky so no one at school could say anything that she didn't know was going on.'

Vicky added: 'I think [the children] were good. All I can say to her is just because people say things, it doesn't mean that it's true.'

During the trial at Westminster Magistrates' Court last December, District Judge Howard Riddle said the witnesses told the truth 'as they remember it' – suggesting even he believed the victims.

But he said the most difficult aspect of the case was that many of the allegations were historic and they should be treated with caution. As a result, he said the bench 'could not be sure that in the context it was a criminal offence'.

Judge Riddle said: 'We heard…from six women. We believed each of the complainants. The question we must ask is whether we are sure of the facts alleged, sure of the context in which they occurred, and sure that they amount to criminal offences.

'While the events were undoubtedly memorable for the complainants, it is approach accounts of what happened in a brief period of time, so long ago, with caution.'

He added: 'It was a strong case and one that needed to be brought to the court for determination.'

Speaking after he was acquitted, Fox said the case had 'once again exposed concerns about how high-profile cases' such as his are investigated by the police and the Crown Prosecution Service. His barrister, Jonathan Caplan QC, said the DJ had fallen victim to a police investigation with a 'fixation on celebrities'.

Recalling the moment he was cleared of any wrongdoing, Fox told Holly and Phil on This Morning today: 'December 14 was a good day, I was acquitted. We could try and move on a little bit.  'But it isn't over, your problems are still there. You have to try and go back to some kind of work and move on.'

Fox left Magic FM after being arrested in September 2014 and said he wouldn't go back now he has been cleared because 'it was the right time to leave anyway.'

He added: 'The word 'supportive' may be an understatement. Some organisations handle things well, others handle it bloody awfully. They fell into the latter category.

'But, the problem is, we live in a modern PC world, and a lot of organisations when they get hit with these, they are wondering how they should handle it too. So there's part of me, if I was a boss, thinking 'this is tricky'… it's a hard time for everyone concerned.'

As for his relationship with his wife, Vicky says the pair are 'stronger than ever' following the ordeal.

She said: 'You go through something together. I felt I was being attacked, my family was being attacked. You get this tiger instinct to protect them.

'My family is Neil and my three children and all I wanted to do was to protect my family, so I felt very protective of Neil throughout this… and we were fortunate we had lots of amazing support. We knew we'd come through the other side.'

Speaking directly to her husband, she added: 'They didn't need to arrest you, they could have brought you in for questioning. It was rather ridiculous and the things they took from the house - Valentine's card, children's iPads - it wasn't serious big evidence. I don't think they found anything in my house that they used in court.'

When asked if such high profile cases could be done better or handled differently, Fox said: 'If you could change one thing… partly the [lack of] anonymity is hard, with social media where everyone wants a say, and if you get arrested like me or anyone else in the public eye, and you wonder how to control it and contain it…'

'But if you can try and preserve the anonymity to start with then I think the idea of being innocent until proven guilty will be a lot easier.

'Sadly you do feel when you're in the eye of the storm, that you feel guilty until you can prove your innocence… I'm not saying that's the authorities' fault, life moves, laws move, things change, but I definitely think with social media and the way the media is nowadays, this stuff gets thrown out there.'

He suggested that he might write a book about his ordeal, suggesting it could be called 'better, not bitter'.  'I want to move forward as a family. I want to come out of it better, not bitter,' he said.  'This is a bit of my life, it's a portion that finished last December, and we moved forward as a family.'

His sentiment echoed the statement he made outside court following his acquittal last December.

Speaking on the steps of the central London court after being acquitted, he thanked his family and wife Vicky saying: 'I cannot begin to tell you how much I love you and how much I thank you for simply being there and holding my hand through this long and arduous journey.

'It has been tough at times. You have shown me how to look through the good and bad, the happy and the sad, the gain and the pain and find out what makes us grateful and not hateful.'

Magic Radio's owners, Bauer Media, said Fox would not be returning to the station as his contract had expired and the station was 'going in a new direction'.

In a statement, Bauer said: 'From the outset, Bauer Media had a duty of care to Neil, to its staff, listeners and commercial partners. Therefore, in the best interests of all, the decision was taken for Neil to remain off-air to give him the time to deal privately with the allegations.

'At no time did Bauer make any assumptions or pre-judgements on the outcome of the case. During the fifteen months of the investigation Bauer Media maintained regular communication with Neil, his representatives and the police.

'By the time the case had fully concluded, Neil's contract had expired and plans had already been created to take the radio station schedule in a new direction.'

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today. Now hosted on Wordpress.  If you cannot access it, go to the MIRROR SITE, where  posts  appear as well as on  the primary site.  I have reposted  the archives (past posts) for Wicked Thoughts  HERE or HERE

No comments: