Press Association – Nov 9, 2012
Former Tory treasurer Lord McAlpine of West Green has said allegations linking him to child abuse were “wholly false and seriously defamatory”.
After days of frenzied speculation, the peer released a statement vehemently denying that he abused Steve Messham or any other residents of a children’s home in Wrexham, north Wales.
He said he had visited Wrexham “only once” and that was in the company of an agent from Conservative central office.
“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,” he 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.”
McAlpine said that “ill- or uninformed commentators” had used the internet to accuse him of being “the senior Conservative party figure from the days of Margaret Thatcher’s leadership who is guilty of sexually abusing young residents of a children’s home in Wrexham, north Wales in the 1970s and 1980s”.
He said that a “substantial number of people” may have “reasonably inferred” that broadcast and newspaper reports of allegations against unnamed individuals 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.
“There is a media frenzy and I have to expect that an editor will soon come under pressure to risk naming me. 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.
“In doing so, I am by no means giving up my right to sue those who have defamed me in the recent past or who may do so in the future and I expressly reserve my rights to take all such steps as I and my solicitors consider necessary to protect my interests.”