Former BBC radio ‘power couple’ jailed for years over sex crimes against underage boys


Two married ex-BBC radio presenters have been jailed for indecently assaulting underage boys and outraging publicdecency by having sex in woodland.

Tony and Julie Wadsworth lured a string of boys, including a teenager looking for a golf ball, into sexual activity in Warwickshirebetween 1992 and 1996.

Some of the couple’s victims told the court Mrs Wadsworth was variously dressed in a “flasher’s mac” trench coat, white high-heels, stockings, suspenders, and a split-skirt at the time of the offences near Atherstone.

Julie Wadsworth, 60, and her husband, 69, told Warwick Crown Court they engaged in or watched sex acts in an area of parkland but claimed “young men” were involved.

However, Mrs Wadsworth was convicted by majority 10-2 verdicts of nine indecent assaults and five counts of outraging decency on Friday after a three-week trial.

Her husband, who acted as a “lookout” during sexual activity involving his wife and a total of six youngsters, was found guilty of the same charges, also by majority verdicts.

They were each jailed for five years on Friday afternoon. Judge Andrew Lockhart QC said the “grave” offences had caused emotional damage to all the victims.

As the verdicts were returned, Mrs Wadsworth – who was cleared of indecently assaulting one of the victims at her home – repeatedly gulped, swayed in the dock and wiped away tears with a black tissue.

Mr Wadsworth showed little emotion and handed a mobile phone to a solicitor before the couple were remanded in custody ahead of sentencing.

The couple – known to the public as Wadsworth and Mayer (Julie’s on-air surname) – had worked at the BBC’s former studios at Pebble Mill, Birmingham.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Miranda Moore QC said an 11-year-old boy was among those who witnessed the couple’s offences.

She told the court: “Not only did they have sex in the open but they did it in the open knowing and taking delight in the fact that young lads were watching, and they encouraged the young lads to view the sexual encounters.

“The boys at the time were all too young by law to be participants in any sort of sexual activity.

“Julie would encourage one of the boys at a time to engage in sexual activity. Julie was doing the activity but Tony was there.

“He was there to watch in line of sight usually… to act as a look-out or ‘minder’ for Julie.”

Mr Wadsworth – an award-winning DJ who presented shows with his wife on BBC Radio Leicester and Birmingham-based BBC WM – was found guilty of indecent assault because of his role as an “early-warning system” for his partner.

On one occasion, the court heard, an alleged victim was “spooked” by Mr Wadsworth standing nearby with a camera around his neck.

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During the trial, it emerged that two groups of victims contacted police after a complainant realised two years ago that what had taken place in the 1990s “was not right and not appropriate”.

The victim, who cannot be named, told jurors he met the Wadsworths in parkland and only discovered their names after recognising their voices on a radio show.

In videos of police interviews played to a jury, the man claimed he had up to 15 sexual encounters as a teenager with Mrs Wadsworth – around half of them before he turned 16.

On one occasion, the court heard, Tony Wadsworth joined in a “threesome” with the teenager at the couple’s home after he turned 16.

One of the complainants told the trial Mrs Wadsworth “must have known” her victims were under-age because of their appearance.

The sixth witness at the trial estimated that he was about 11 when he and older boys saw the Wadsworths having sex against a tree.

The man, who also cannot be named, said he was either 12 or 13 when he and two other boys were indecently assaulted.

In a video interview played to the jury panel, the man said of the Wadsworths: “They went up a tree and had full sex.

“I am pretty sure that they did’t feel comfortable with me being there – with me being so young. We were probably about 10 metres away.”

Both defendants, of Broughton Astley, Leicestershire, denied any wrongdoing in police interviews and in the witness box.

During her interviews, Mrs Wadsworth said she knew the wooded area at the centre of the case and had been there for walks.

She told officers that “like a lot of people” she had “got a bit frisky” on the odd occasion and engaged in outdoor “hanky panky” with her husband to spice up their sex life.

The couple met in the 1980s when she was working as a seamstress for a theatre company and Mr Wadsworth dropped in to hire a costume for a charity stunt.

They married in 1994 and told jurors they had outdoor “hanky panky” in woodland to empower Mrs Wadsworth and help her with body image issues stemming from a troubled previous relationship.

During extensive careers working for BBC radio, the couple cultivated a “saucy” Carry On film-style image – once posing for a Calendar Girls-style photoshoot sanctioned by the BBC to raise funds for Children In Need