View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. News
August 21, 2023

Former Independent on Sunday and New Statesman editor Peter Wilby sentenced for viewing child abuse online

Wilby admitted having viewed abuse material since the 1990s.

By PA Media and Press Gazette

Former Independent on Sunday and New Statesman editor Peter Wilby has been given a suspended sentence for viewing child abuse online.

The 78-year-old had 167 indecent images of children on his computer, according to the National Crime Agency.

When interviewed by police, Wilby admitted having viewed abuse material since the 90s and said he had a sexual interest in children.

Having worked as an education correspondent for various newspapers, Wilby joined The Independent on Sunday in 1990 and went on to become editor.

He was also the editor of the New Statesman from 1998 to 2005.

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

He has since written various columns for publications including The Guardian, with work published as recently as November last year.

Content from our partners
Publishing on the open web is broken, how generative AI could help fix it
Impress: Regulation, arbitration and complaints resolution
Papermule: Workflow automation for publishers

Wilby was charged with three counts of making indecent images of children to which he later pleaded guilty, the NCA said.

Investigators said he had been accessing the material online from his home in Essex.

At Chelmsford Crown Court, Essex, on Friday, he was sentenced to ten months in prison, suspended for two years.

He is also required to undertake 40 hours rehabilitation, is subject to a ten-year sexual harm prevention order and was placed on the sex offenders’ register for five years.

Adam Sprague, operations manager at the National Crime Agency, said: “The material accessed by Wilby and recovered from his computer showed real children being cruelly and sexually abused.

“He was viewing this content while working as the editor of prominent national news outlets, a role in which he was entrusted to form the news agenda for the British public. A trust which he has greatly betrayed.

“While there is a global demand for this material, children will continue to be abused. The NCA is committed to tackling child sexual abuse in all its forms, to disrupt offenders and protect children.”

The New Statesman said in a statement following the sentencing: “On 18 August it was reported that Peter Wilby, a former editor of the New Statesman, was convicted after he admitted viewing images of child sexual abuse. He was given a ten-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, at Chelmsford Crown Court.

“The New Statesman staff and management had no knowledge of Wilby’s arrest or charges before they were reported yesterday, and are shocked and appalled to learn of these horrifying crimes.  

“Wilby, 78, was New Statesman editor from 1998 to 2005, and remained a contributor.”

Topics in this article : ,

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network