Abuse victim, Steven Messham, apologises to Lord McAlpine

Abuse victim, Steven Messham.

North Wales abuse victim, Steven Messham, issued an unreserved apology today to Tory peer Lord McAlpine, after he was mistakenly identified  in relation to allegations of abuse at children’s homes.

The statement followed an interview given last week by Mr Messham to Newsnight, in which he said an inquiry into the abuse had not gone far enough in its investigations of the abuse in north Wales.

In the Newsnight programme Mr Messham alleged that he had been abused by a senior Thatcher-era politician. The Newsnight programme did not name the politician.

Mr Messham told the BBC:

‘After seeing a picture in the past hour of the individual concerned, this is not the person I identified by photograph presented to me by the police in the early 1990s, who told me [the name] of the man in the photograph… I want to offer my sincere and humble apologies to him and his family.’

Following Mr Messham’s statement the BBC reported that the Director-General of the BBC had ordered a series of actions.

A report on Newsnight’s website states: ‘The BBC has issued an unreserved apology for a Newsnight report which led to Lord McAlpine being wrongly implicated in the alleged sexual abuse of children at north Wales care homes.’

Earlier, Lord McAlpine said the claims were ‘wholly false and seriously defamatory’.

Lord McAlpine, who was Conservative Party treasurer from the late 1970s until 1990, added: ‘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.’

Commissioning BBC Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie has been appointed to write an ‘urgent report for the DG covering what happened on this Newsnight investigation’.

For legal reasons the Bureau will not be publishing comments on this article.