Wednesday 25 April 2018

'A friend is there through thick and thin' - sports writer David Walsh vows to stand by Tom Humphries

David Walsh wrote reference for paedophile Tom Humphries
David Walsh wrote reference for paedophile Tom Humphries

David Young

Acclaimed sports writer David Walsh, who faced criticism for writing a court character reference for Tom Humphries, has said he unequivocally condemns the "terrible wrong" his friend committed.

Sunday Times reporter Mr Walsh, famed for the role he played exposing the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, also said he apologised unreservedly for "insensitive and ill-judged" comments he made about the Humphries case in a 2012 radio interview.

In a personal statement released through the Press Association, Mr Walsh insisted he would remain Humphries' friend despite his two and a half year sentence for defiling and exploiting a girl aged under 17.

"As justice has now run its course I want to say that I unequivocally condemn what Tom Humphries did and have every sympathy for the victim in the case," he said.

"I have read her victim impact statement and have some sense of the terrible ordeal she has been through."

Mr Walsh then made apparent reference to a 2012 interview on Irish radio station Today FM, aired only this month due to legal reasons, in which he described Humphries as a "great, great man".

Asked to explain his praise, Mr Walsh told the presenter he knew a "damn sight more" about the case than most people.

Read More: Former journalist Tom Humphries jailed for two-and-a-half years for the defilement of a child

Former Irish Times sports journalist Tom Humphries arriving at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where he was jailed for child sex offences
Former Irish Times sports journalist Tom Humphries arriving at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where he was jailed for child sex offences

In his personal statement on Tuesday he said: "Furthermore, in a radio interview five years ago I spoke about the case in a manner that was insensitive and ill-judged, I apologise unreservedly for that.

"In writing a character reference for Tom I was not in any way condoning the crime for which he has now been sentenced.

"I have been a friend of his for 30 years and since his arrest in 2011 I continued to be his friend because I believe a friend is there through thick and thin.

"Tom did a terrible wrong for which he has now been given a custodial term."

Mr Walsh wrote the character reference in a personal capacity and it had no link to The Sunday Times.

Press Association

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