Thursday 19 September 2019

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong mocks journalist David Walsh over character reference for Tom Humphries

David Walsh helped expose Lance Armstrong as a drug cheat
David Walsh helped expose Lance Armstrong as a drug cheat

Cormac Byrne

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has mocked one of the journalists responsible to unearthing doping in his sport after he wrote a character reference for a convicted sex abuser.

Sunday Times journalist David Walsh exposed Armstrong as a drug cheat nine years before the American finally confessed as was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.

Armstrong even sued Walsh and The Sunday Times for libel after it printed the article in 2004 that suggested Armstrong was doping.

Walsh has been on the receiving end of criticism this week after he wrote a character reference for former Irish Times sports writer Tom Humphries who pleaded guilty earlier this year to six offences, dating from 2010 and 2011, including the sexual exploitation and defilement of a child.

Quoted in the Sunday Times yesterday, Walsh said: “The young girl whose trust Tom betrayed has suffered terribly from this crime. I wrote a personal character reference for Tom because we have been friends for 30 years and, despite the serious wrong he has done, I could not abandon him.”

Last week, the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court heard how Humphries had picked the then 16-year-old girl up from her school and brought her to his apartment where he sexually abused her.

Tom Humphries October 3.jpg
Former ‘Irish Times’ writer Tom Humphries outside court. Picture: PA

The first contact between the pair was initiated by a text message from Humphries when the victim was 14 years of age and correspondence between them continued for two years. The court heard that they exchanged 16,000 messages over a three-month period alone.

In her victim impact statement, she said that she went through stages of feeling 'physically sick' and that she had lost her childhood.

Humphries will be sentenced on October 24.

Armstong tweeted a link to a story about Walsh's character reference last night with the message: 'This just warms my heart.'

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