Pete Townshend says he can prove he's not a paedophile...

THE WHO star PETE TOWNSHEND has offered to hand his computer hard drive over to police investigating allegations that he accessed child porn on the Internet.

Townshend, who came forward at the weekend after police revealed they were investigating a major UK rock star whose credit card had been used to access a child porn site based in Texas, has vehemently denied that he is a paedophile, and said he wants police to be “able to convince themselves that, if I did anything illegal, I did it purely for research”.

Speaking in The Sun newspaper today (January 13), he said he had looked at child porn sites “maybe three or four times,” but had only looked at front pages and previews, had only used his credit card to access one once, and had never downloaded material. He said he was outraged when first stumbled across them about six years ago while surfing the net with his son, Joseph, who is now 16.

Townshend, who says he believes he was himself abused as a child, said: “I was not breaking the law at the time… it was then illegal to download, which I did not do, not to search and view. I did not think using a credit card was illegal either at the time. As a public figure I would never have given details had I known I would be breaking UK law.”

He added: “I need to regain the trust of police and authorities involved in protecting children to continue to use my energies and determination to help what they do…I sincerely believed that the police would know my history as someone who works tirelessly to help the abused, and that since 1978 I have run a charity which has contributed millions to organisations working to prevent violence and abuse.”

He also commended the police’s clampdown on Jonathan King, who was jailed for child abuse, and Gary Glitter, who was in possession of child porn. “Chasing after people like Jonathan King and Gary Glitter is important, and it is important that the police are able to convince themselves that – if I did anything illegal – I did it purely for research. I am not a paedophile.”

A second rock star, a TV presenter and two MPs are also reported to be being among 7,000 people whose details were passed on to UK police by the FBI.