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Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 10:24 GMT
Townshend victim of 'witch-hunt'
Pete Townshend
Townshend is guitarist for rebellious rock band The Who
The Who's frontman Roger Daltrey has defended his fellow band member Pete Townshend, claiming he is the victim of a child porn "witch-hunt".

Mr Townshend was arrested and bailed last month as part of the Operation Ore investigation into accessing child pornography on the internet.

The rock legend admitted using his credit card to access images, but claimed it was for research into a book he was writing.

"What I find so unfair is that it has become a witch-hunt and, because it is sub judice, he is not allowed to defend himself," Mr Daltrey said in an interview with Virgin Radio.

Jerry Hall
Jerry Hall is supporting Townshend

Mr Townshend, 57, claimed his actions were part of coming to terms with abuse he believes he suffered as a child while under the care of his grandmother.

The experience, he said, led him to begin writing the book.

"From what I can gather 98% to 99% of people do believe him and I don't think he is going to let them down," said Mr Daltrey.

Describing the guitarist's ordeal as "the worst thing I have ever had to deal with in my life", Mr Daltrey added: "I think he is telling the truth.

"I think the morality of the whole thing is very questionable as far as society goes because he has been exposed and accused of doing something, something he has admitted to doing for certain reasons," he said.

Paul Gambaccini
Paul Gambaccini: "I trust him implicitly"

"Now if he can substantiate those reasons, then the least the police and our society owes him is to make this a priority and to get his case dealt with as quickly as possible."

Mr Daltry added that his bandmate was "fine".

"He is just frustrated that they've taken his computers with all his music on it and because he is such a low priority on this thing.

"Who knows how long it will take the police to investigate," he added.

Other rock industry figures have offered their support to Mr Townshend.

Celebrity friends, including model and actress Jerry Hall and DJ Paul Gambaccini, have rallied around to defend the musician.

But the Internet Watch Foundation, whose aim is to eliminate child porn on the net, said Mr Townshend had been "incredibly foolhardy, naive and misguided" to enter such a website.

See also:

14 Jan 03 | UK
28 Jun 02 | Entertainment
03 Dec 99 | Entertainment
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