Cleared DJ Neil Fox 'can't wait to return to broadcasting'


Radio DJ Neil Fox said he "cannot wait to be broadcasting again" after being cleared of all charges in his sex abuse trial.

The former Capital FM presenter - suspended from Magic FM following his arrest in September last year - broke down as he was cleared of all 10 counts at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

He had been accused of eight counts of indecent assault and two of sexual assault dating back to the late 1980s, involving young fans and colleagues.

Reading the verdicts during a four-minute hearing, chief magistrate Howard Riddle said the complainants were believable but that the bench "could not be sure that in the context it was a criminal offence".

Mr Fox, 54, appeared to weep as the verdicts were returned.

In a statement outside court, Mr Fox thanked those "who have stuck by me and lifted me up when I was falling down".

He said: "Thanks to the amazing support as well that I've had from listeners and the wider public, who have been so very kind during this period.

"I cannot wait to be broadcasting again and to resume that relationship that we have built over the last 30 years.

"Finally, to my family and especially my incredible wife Vicky, I cannot begin to tell you how much I love you and how much I thank you for simply being there and holding my hand through this long and arduous journey.

"It has been tough at times, you have shown me how to look for the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the gain and the pain, and find out what makes us grateful, not hateful.

"Thank you very much, happy Christmas."

Speaking to reporters, he said he was "obviously pleased and relieved" at the court's verdict.

He added: "Following my arrest over 14 months ago, I strenuously denied all of the allegations and today I have been vindicated.

"It has been a long, hard and stressful 14 months though, and a lot has been said and written about me in that time that over the next few days, weeks and months will need to be addressed and rectified.

"Now this case has also, once again, exposed concerns about how high-profile cases such as this are investigated by the police and the CPS, but this is not the time or the place to address these matters."

Those concerns were echoed by broadcaster Paul Gambaccini, himself under suspicion of historical sex abuse until the case against him was dropped last year, who called on Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to resign.

Mr Fox has been suspended from Magic FM following his arrest, five minutes after he came off air in September last year.

It is unclear at the moment when or whether Mr Fox will return to broadcasting.

During the trial, Mr Fox flatly rejected allegations he had various sexual contacts with fans and colleagues.

The DJ rebuffed allegations from a woman who claimed the pair had a relationship which included inappropriate touching during a private tour of Capital Radio's record library, sexual encounters at his flat and kissing her in the radio station's car park.

He told the court the girl was "a little bit obsessed" with him.

When asked about an ex-colleague's allegations he put his hands on her breasts, Mr Fox said: "I do not remember the incident at all."

He said there was room for the woman to mistake his action of hugging her.

Regarding another occasion where he was accused of simulating having sex with a female colleague from behind, Mr Fox insisted such actions took place commonly around the office as a "play-acting, hi-jinks thing".

He denied he was a sexual bully.

Asked by prosecution counsel John Price QC to provide an explanation as to why three different people who did not know each other were accusing him of similarly inappropriate conduct, Mr Fox replied: "I don't have an explanation at all."

Returning the verdict, Mr Riddle said: "We heard evidence about 10 allegations from six women. We believed each of the complainants.

"The question we must ask is whether we are sure of the facts alleged, sure of the context in which they occurred, and sure that they amount to criminal offences."

He said the most difficult aspect of the case was that the allegations were historic. They were said to have occurred at intervals over a quarter of a century to the late 1980s.

He said: "While the events were undoubtedly memorable for the complainants, it is appropriate ... to approach accounts of what happened in a brief period of time, so long ago, with caution."

He added: "It was a strong case and one that needed to be brought to the court for determination.

"The verdict is not guilty on all charges."

Mr Fox thanked members of court staff as he left the building.

He was mobbed by photographers as he shared a kiss with his wife in emotional scenes following the statement.