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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 December, 2003, 11:52 GMT
Who star 'suicidal' after arrest
Pete Townshend
Townshend is writing his autobiography
Rock star Pete Townshend has said he contemplated suicide after confessing to viewing child pornography.

The Who guitarist was arrested last January, cautioned and his name put on the sex offenders' register after he admitted accessing child porn.

He told the Observer: "If I had had a gun, I would have shot myself."

"What I did was wrong and stupid," he added, but he insisted he was not a paedophile. "My culpability is clear... but my innocence is absolute."

Townshend's name was put on the register after a child pornography website in Texas called Landslide was infiltrated by the FBI who passed on details of 6,000 Britons who had used their credit cards to access images.

The story that a veteran British rock star was one of those on the list was leaked in a Sunday newspaper on 11 January.

'Like being shot'

Townshend, 58, told The Observer he was still overwhelmed by the events.

"I was just spinning, it was a bit like being shot. I didn't really quite know what to do," he said.

Townshend later made a statement to reporters saying he was the rock star on the list, and that he had used his credit card to look at images on the site.

"I know that I caused the most incredible chaos by that one single neglectful, careless act - for my ex-wife, for my son who's only 13, for his school friends, for my girlfriend, all of whom had to make a snap decision to wing behind me.

"And they all did," he said.

He added: "I am not sexually attracted to children."

In the interview, Townshend said some donations he had sent to two child-related charities had been returned.

"I knew there was a developing witch hunt in progress and I thought 'Oh my God, this is going to be hung on me'."

Townshend speaks of 'tough' year
11 Jul 03  |  Entertainment
Townshend seeks public healing
22 May 03  |  Entertainment
Townshend: Speaking for a generation?
07 May 03  |  Entertainment


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