NEWS

  • Michelle Mone, (UK Hushpuppi) Stole £29m from the TAX payers.

    Revealed: Tory peer Michelle Mone secretly received £29m from ‘VIP lane’ PPE firm


    Documents suggest husband passed on money from PPE Medpro, which secured £200m contracts after Mone lobbied minister

    The Conservative peer Michelle Mone and her children secretly received £29m originating from the profits of a PPE business that was awarded large government contracts after she recommended it to ministers, documents seen by the Guardian indicate.

    Lady Mone’s support helped the company, PPE Medpro, secure a place in a “VIP lane” the government used during the coronavirus pandemic to prioritise companies that had political connections. It then secured contracts worth more than £200m.

    The yacht, the wedding and £29m: Michelle Mone’s life during the Covid crisis

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    Documents seen by the Guardian indicate tens of millions of pounds of PPE Medpro’s profits were later transferred to a secret offshore trust of which Mone and her adult children were the beneficiaries.

     

    Asked by the Guardian last year why Mone did not include PPE Medpro in her House of Lords register of financial interests, her lawyer replied: “Baroness Mone did not declare any interest as she did not benefit financially and was not connected to PPE Medpro in any capacity.”

    The leaked documents, which were produced by the bank HSBC, appear to contradict that statement. They state that Mone’s husband, the Isle of Man-based financier Douglas Barrowman, was paid at least £65m in profits from PPE Medpro, and then distributed the funds through a series of offshore accounts, trusts and companies.

    The ultimate recipients of the funds, the documents indicate, include the Isle of Man trust that was set up to benefit Mone, who was Barrowman’s fiancee at the time, and her children. In October 2020, the documents add, Barrowman transferred to the trust £28.8m originating from PPE Medpro profits.

    That was just five months after Mone helped PPE Medpro secure contracts to supply masks and sterile gowns for use in the NHS.

    Contacted about the new disclosures, HSBC said it was unable to comment, even to confirm if the couple had been clients. A lawyer for Mone said: “There are a number of reasons why our client cannot comment on these issues and she is under no duty to do so.”

    A lawyer who represents both Barrowman and PPE Medpro said that a continuing investigation limited what his clients were able to say on these matters. He added: “For the time being we are also instructed to say that there is much inaccuracy in the portrayal of the alleged ‘facts’ and a number of them are completely wrong.”

    Mone, 51, and Barrowman, 57, have over the last two years repeatedly insisted they had no “involvement” in PPE Medpro, and “no role” in the process through which the company was awarded its government contracts. PPE Medpro has repeatedly refused to identify its mystery backers, but denied it was awarded contracts because of “company or personal connections” to the UK government or Conservative party.

    The Guardian has previously reported how those claims seem to be at odds with documents appearing to show the couple were secretly involved in PPE Medpro’s business, and emails suggesting Mone repeatedly lobbied the government on its behalf during the nine-month period after she helped secure its place in the VIP lane.

    However, the Guardian’s latest revelation – that the peer and her husband secretly amassed an offshore fortune on the back of PPE Medpro profits – could prove the most consequential for Mone, who has already been placed under investigation by the House of Lords commissioner for standards.

    Separately, PPE Medpro has become the subject of a potential fraud investigation by the National Crime Agency. In April this year, NCA officers searched several addresses, including the mansion Mone and Barrowman occupy in the Isle of Man. At the time, lawyers for PPE Medpro declined to comment on the NCA investigation.

    The controversy over Mone and PPE Medpro threatens to embroil the prime minister, Rishi Sunak, who has pledged to make “integrity and accountability” pillars of his leadership. David Cameron, who was himself embroiled in a lobbying scandal last year, was the Conservative leader who appointed Mone the baroness of Mayfair in 2015. The former owner of a lingerie business, she has proven to be one of the party’s most high-profile and controversial peers.

    Michelle Mone founded the lingerie brand Ultimo. Photograph: SWNS.com

    HSBC INVESTIGATION

    The leaked documents setting out HSBC’s understanding of the offshore distribution of PPE Medpro’s profits were produced by the bank, which held several accounts linked to the Tory peer, her husband and children.

    The Guardian understands that HSBC launched its own investigation following media reports about Mone’s apparent links to PPE Medpro, which raised potential concerns for the bank. A report produced by HSBC on the couple and their links to PPE Medpro stated that it did “not manage to corroborate” those concerns.

    In the process of investigating the couple, however, HSBC pieced together a money trail showing that Barrowman had transferred tens of millions in PPE Medpro profits through a network of offshore entities. About £29m ended up in the trust benefiting Mone and her children, the report indicates.

    The bank’s investigation noted that “large value inter-account transfers” originating from PPE Medpro were being routed through Barrowman’s offshore accounts, often crediting and debiting within minutes of each other.

    The internal bank report described the money flows as “unusual activity”, noting a concern that Barrowman “may be attempting to conceal the true origins of the funds through multiple layers of transactions creating a distance between the receipt of PPE funds and the final beneficiaries”.

    Referring to Mone, it concluded that the transfers “suggest a UK peer in the House of Lords has benefited from a contract with the UK government”. Barrowman is understood to have told HSBC that his wife had “no involvement” in the business activities of PPE Medpro, and the onward transfer of its profits via his personal bank account had been made “in his personal capacity”.

    HSBC was unable to corroborate any concerns of wrongdoing by the couple, but it did identify a number of “risks” related to retaining Barrowman and Mone as clients – including what it saw as potential reputational damage to the bank. Multiple sources have told the Guardian that HSBC then decided to drop the couple as clients.

    MESSAGE AND MONEY TRAILS

    Mone and Barrowman have long denied any involvement in PPE Medpro, or any role in the process through which it was awarded government contracts. However, over the last two years the Guardian has ascertained multiple instances in which the couple appear to have been involved in the business.

    The Tory peer first approached ministers in May 2020, before PPE Medpro had even been incorporated as a company. She contacted Michael Gove, who was then a Cabinet Office minister, and Theodore Agnew, then a minister for procurement, using their personal email addresses.

    Mone told her fellow Conservative politicians that large quantities of PPE could be procured via “my team in Hong Kong”.

    Cabinet Office officials then added PPE Medpro to the VIP lane, which was used by the government early in the pandemic to prioritise referrals from politically connected companies.

    The government has consistently defended the VIP process; spokespeople have maintained that contracts were awarded “in line with procurement regulations and transparency guidelines, and there are robust rules and processes in place to prevent conflicts of interest”. However the VIP procurement process has been ruled unlawful by the high court.

    Within weeks of Mone’s referral, which led to PPE Medpro being added to the high-priority channel, the company had received two government contracts worth a total of £203m to supply millions of face masks and sterile surgical gowns.

    Around that time, Mone and her then fiance appear to have been secretly involved in PPE Medpro’s business, according to previously leaked documents. Barrowman appears to have been personally involved in setting up PPE Medpro’s deals with a supply chain partner, Loudwater Trade and Finance, in which PPE Medpro committed to using its “extensive network” to seek contracts with the UK government. Barrowman also participated in a meeting between the Cabinet Office, PPE Medpro and Loudwater.

    Meanwhile, Mone appears to have sent a WhatsApp message from a private jet in which she discussed specific details relating to PPE Medpro’s contract for sterile gowns. The message was sent to a person in PPE Medpro’s supply chain who referred to her as “Lady Michelle”. The couple were also included in correspondence between PPE Medpro’s suppliers about the cost price of gowns.

    Masks in the PPE Medpro product catalogue. Photograph: PPE Medpro

    When the Guardian reported on their apparent secret involvement in the company, Mone’s lawyers said its reporting was “grounded entirely on supposition and speculation and not based on accuracy”, while lawyers for Barrowman said the Guardian’s reporting amounted to “clutching at straws” and was “largely incorrect”.

    In September 2020, Barrowman was paid at least £65m in “profits” from the PPE deal, the HSBC report states. It states that money was transferred in two instalments to the Warren Trust, one of Barrowman’s Isle of Man trusts, using the reference “Distribution”.

    From there, transfers totalling £45.8m were made to Barrowman’s personal HSBC Isle of Man bank account. That account, in turn, transferred £28.8m in October 2020 to the Keristal Trust, the beneficiaries of which, bank records indicated, were Mone and her children, the report states.

    The Keristal Trust’s “settlors” – a reference to the individuals who created or funded it – were Barrowman and another individual linked to PPE Medpro, the document indicates. The document adds that the Keristal Trust’s bank account was opened in May 2020. That was the same month Mone recommended PPE Medpro to Gove and Agnew.

    The HSBC report states that smaller sums – ranging from £5,000 to £200,000 – originating from PPE Medpro profits were passed to some employees of the Knox Group, Barrowman’s financial services firm, who were involved in the PPE business. According to the report, one of those employees told the bank the transfers were “gifts”.

    HONEYMOON PERIOD

    Like his wife, Barrowman has repeatedly distanced himself from PPE Medpro, although neither of them have explicitly denied that he benefited financially from it. Previously, his lawyers have also insisted that Barrowman was never an “investor” in PPE Medpro.

    However the leaked HSBC report suggests that another Barrowman trust in the Isle of Man made an investment of £3m in PPE Medpro in June 2020, using the reference “PPE Transfer”. The £3m capital injection was later repaid into Barrowman’s trust by PPE Medpro, along with interest, the report states.

    Contacted this week, PPE Medpro declined to comment about whether Barrowman had invested in the company, citing a continuing investigation. Barrowman also declined to offer further comment citing live investigations, but his lawyer said he disputes the Guardian’s “claims and accusations”.

    Barrowman will now be under pressure to explain why he received at least £65m in PPE Medpro profits, and apparently passed on around half of that to his wife and her children, all via offshore payments.

    Barrowman and Mone’s huge windfall from PPE Medpro’s profits appears to have landed at an auspicious time for the couple: a few weeks before their wedding in the Isle of Man and honeymoon in the Maldives.

    Their extraordinary enrichment from the profits of PPE Medpro may explain why Mone continued to lobby the government for further business for the company, months after it had been awarded £203m in PPE contracts.

    Around the time Mone’s trust received tens of millions in profits originating from PPE Medpro, she appears to have lobbied another then Tory minister, James Bethell, this time promoting the company’s sale of Covid-19 tests, leaked emails suggest.

    PPE Medpro ultimately failed to persuade the government to buy its antigen tests, despite Mone’s continued efforts to pull strings with her political contacts.

    In February 2021, back from her honeymoon, Mone appears to have been lobbying again, according to an email sent by Jacqui Rock, the chief commercial officer for NHS test and trace.

    The senior civil servant told colleagues that Mone was angry at the treatment of PPE Medpro, whose products were being subjected to tests. The Tory peer believed PPE Medpro had been “fobbed off”, Rock told colleagues. “Baroness Mone is going to Michael Gove and Matt Hancock today as she is incandescent with rage.”

     

     

     

     

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  • Migos: Takeoff shot dead in Houston age 28. Very sad news

     

    The Georgia rapper was known for creating hits such as Versace and Bad and Boujee alongside fellow rappers Quavo and Offset

    Takeoff (L) and Quavo, of Migos
     

    Takeoff, the third member of Migos alongside the rappers Quavo and Offset, has died, TMZ reports. The 28-year-old rapper, real name Kirshnik Khari Ball, was fatally shot at a bowling alley in Houston where he and Quavo were playing dice around 2.30am; Takeoff was pronounced dead at the scene. Two other people on the premises were shot and taken to hospital. Quavo was unharmed.

    On Twitter, friends and admirers paid tribute to the late rapper. “I remember Takeoff being a very down to earth, cool dude,” wrote boxer Chris Eubank Jr. “Can’t believe I’m having to say this again about another young black star being killed for no reason, something really has to change in the industry.”

     

    Takeoff was born in Lawrenceville, Georgia, in 1994. He began rapping with Quavo and Offset, his uncle and cousin, respectively, in 2008 under the collective name Polo Club. In 2011, the trio released Juug Season, their debut mixtape as Migos.

    In 2013, Migos released Versace, their first mainstream hit. The song was notable for popularising the triplet flow – Migos’ signature rapid-fire cadence – within modern rap, and was eventually remixed by Toronto rapper Drake, who would go on to have a long-running association with all three members of the group.

    Migos are best known for their 2016 Lil Uzi Vert collaboration Bad and Boujee, which peaked at No 1 in the US, as well as Top 10 hits MotorSport, with Nicki Minaj and Cardi B, and Walk It Talk It, with Drake. As a solo artist, Takeoff released one album – 2018’s The Last Rocket, which debuted at No 4 in the US – and one record as a duo, last month’s Only Built for Infinity Links, with Quavo.

    More to follow.

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  • Queen Elizabeth II has died, Buckingham Palace announces

    Queen Elizabeth II, the UK's longest-serving monarch, has died at Balmoral aged 96, after reigning for 70 years.

     

    Her family gathered at her Scottish estate after concerns grew about her health earlier on Thursday.

    The Queen came to the throne in 1952 and witnessed enormous social change.

    With her death, her eldest son Charles, the former Prince of Wales, will lead the country in mourning as the new King and head of state for 14 Commonwealth realms.

    In a statement, His Majesty The King said: "The death of my beloved mother Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.

    "We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world."

    In a statement, Buckingham Palace said: "The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.

    "The King and the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow."

    All the Queen's children travelled to Balmoral, near Aberdeen, after doctors placed the Queen under medical supervision.

    Her grandson, Prince William, is also there, with his brother, Prince Harry, on his way.

    Queen Elizabeth II's tenure as head of state spanned post-war austerity, the transition from empire to Commonwealth, the end of the Cold War and the UK's entry into - and withdrawal from - the European Union.

    Her reign spanned 15 prime ministers starting with Winston Churchill, born in 1874, and including Liz Truss, born 101 years later in 1975, and appointed by the Queen earlier this week.

    She held weekly audiences with her prime minister throughout her reign.

    At Buckingham Palace in London, crowds awaiting updates on the Queen's condition began crying as they heard of her death. The Union flag on top of the palace was lowered to half-mast at 18:30 BST.

    The Queen was born Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor, in Mayfair, London, on 21 April 1926.

    Few could have foreseen she would become monarch but in December 1936 her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated from the throne to marry the twice-divorced American, Wallis Simpson.

    Elizabeth's father became King George VI and, at age 10, Lilibet, as she was known in the family, became heir to the throne.

    Within three years, Britain was at war with Nazi Germany. Elizabeth and her younger sister, Princess Margaret, spent much of wartime at Windsor Castle after their parents rejected suggestions they be evacuated to Canada.

    After turning 18, Elizabeth spent five months with the Auxiliary Territorial Service and learned basic motor mechanic and driving skills. "I began to understand the esprit de corps that flourishes in the face of adversity," she recalled later.

    Through the war, she exchanged letters with her third cousin, Philip, Prince of Greece, who was serving in the Royal Navy. Their romance blossomed and the couple married at Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947, with the prince taking the title of Duke of Edinburgh.

    She would later describe him as "my strength and stay" through 74 years of marriage, before his death in 2021, aged 99.

     

    Their first son, Charles, was born in 1948, followed by Princess Anne, in 1950, Prince Andrew, in 1960, and Prince Edward, in 1964. Between them, they gave their parents eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.

    Princess Elizabeth was in Kenya in 1952, representing the ailing King, when Philip broke the news that her father had died. She immediately returned to London as the new Queen.

    "It was all a very sudden kind of taking on and making the best job you can," she later recalled.

    Elizabeth was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953, aged 27, in front of a then-record TV audience estimated at more than 20 million people.

    Subsequent decades would see great change, with the end of the British Empire overseas and the swinging '60s sweeping away social norms at home.

    Elizabeth reformed the monarchy for this less deferential age, engaging with the public through walkabouts, royal visits and attendance at public events. Her commitment to the Commonwealth was a constant - she visited every Commonwealth country at least once.

    But there were periods of private and public pain. In 1992, the Queen's "annus horribilis", fire devastated Windsor Castle - a private residence as well as working palace - and three of her children's marriages broke down.

    After the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a car accident in Paris in 1997, the Queen drew criticism for appearing reluctant to respond publicly.

    There were questions about the monarchy's relevance in modern society.

    "No institution… should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don't," she acknowledged.

     

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  • DJ Tim Westwood accused of sex with a 14-year-old

    DJ Tim Westwood accused of sex with a 14-year-old

    DJ Tim Westwood is facing allegations from a woman who says they had sex several times starting when she was 14.

    She says Mr Westwood was in his 30s at the time and describes him as a "predator".

    The woman is one of several to come forward after an investigation by BBC News and the Guardian, with claims of misconduct and abuse dating from 1990 to 2020.

    Mr Westwood did not respond to a request for comment.

    It is illegal in the UK to have sex with a 14-year-old.

    In April, a number of women accused the former Radio 1 DJ of predatory and unwanted sexual behaviour and touching, in incidents between 1992 and 2017. They also accused him of abusing his position in the music industry.

    BBC News and the Guardian have investigated the stories of 10 women who came forward after the initial revelations. Some of the women told us they encountered Mr Westwood when they were under 18.

    Warning: Some of the stories contain descriptions of sexual violence and attempted suicide

    One says that she was only 14 when she first had sex with Mr Westwood. Another says she was 16 when the DJ, who was in his 40s at the time, began what she says was a "controlling" relationship with her. Both women say their relationships affected their mental health.

    Two other women say they were in their mid-teens when they were sexually assaulted by Mr Westwood.

     

    Tim Westwood in 2007
    Image caption,
    Tim Westwood in 2007

    The testimonies of these and other women feature in a new BBC News documentary, Hip Hop's Open Secret: Tim Westwood, which is available on the BBC iPlayer now and airs on BBC Three at 22:00, and raises new concerns about the 64-year-old's behaviour over three decades.

    One woman, who was 20 when she met the DJ at a student club night, says he sexually assaulted her in his hotel room by pushing his penis into her mouth while she was resisting.

    He previously strenuously denied the allegations of seven women who featured in the original investigation by BBC News and the Guardian.

    In a response at the time to that BBC documentary, a spokesperson for the DJ said he denied the allegations in their entirety. They said: "Our client confirms that there has never been any complaint made against him, whether officially or unofficially, relating to claims of inappropriate behaviour of the nature described."

    After those revelations, the British hip-hop DJ stepped down from his weekly Saturday night radio show on Capital Xtra "until further notice", according to a statement from parent company Global at the time.

    Other than two who are friends, none of the women we spoke to know each other or have met. All are black.

    All but one of the women's names have been changed to protect their identity

    Of all those who have spoken to the BBC and the Guardian, Esther was the youngest at the time that she says the DJ had sex with her. She says she was 14 and the experience later led to her attempting to take her own life.

    She first met him at his club nights at the Arch in Vauxhall in 1990. She and her friends were big fans of the DJ's hip-hop show on Capital radio, and they would often call the programme for a shout-out.

    They became regulars at his club night. "[Tim Westwood] would always see us. He'd let us in for free," says Esther. "Sometimes he'd come and check on us: 'Ah are you guys enjoying yourselves?' And that's how it started."

    She says the DJ knew how young she was because he had asked her her age.

    Esther
    Image caption,
    Esther

    "He didn't look shocked or anything," she says. When she asked him if she could continue coming, he said, "Sure you can."

    "I think we exchanged numbers and he just started, 'Oh are you coming tonight, you know, so I can leave your name at the door.' And then I'd say it was a couple of months after that he asked to meet up with me at Hammersmith Station."

    She says the DJ met her in west London and drove her to a flat. He offered her a drink but she said she just wanted a juice. They sat and talked - and then he kissed her.

    "I was like, OK, I don't have a problem with that. And then, it progressed from there. We had sex."

    This would not be the only time. The DJ, she says, would call her at home - after 18:00 because he knew her mum worked nights - and they would arrange to meet.

    "I never gave consent [to sex], but I never said no either so, I just went along with it," she says.

    Presentational grey line

    If you have been affected by any of these issues in this story you can visit BBC Action Line.

    Presentational grey line

    Esther, who described herself as a "bit of a troubled teen", says she broke off contact with the DJ when she was 16, and realised the relationship didn't feel right.

    She says it felt like a "dirty little secret".

    "I kind of thought it was normal but that's because I didn't understand the gravity of the situation. It wasn't a relationship and it wasn't about love, it was just a thing, and a thing you couldn't discuss with anybody."

    She says it feels like the DJ had groomed her, and describes Mr Westwood as a "predator", and herself as "prey".

    She didn't tell anyone, she says, because she felt she would "get the blame, not him… because I'm no-one".

    Esther started a new relationship not long afterwards and her then partner told the BBC he had been "repulsed" to learn that the older DJ had had sexual encounters with the teenager.

    Lydia, another woman to come forward, was at college doing her A-levels when she started going to Mr Westwood's night at Caesars club in Streatham, south London.

    She says the DJ saw her one night and asked her for her number. They started a relationship. Lydia says Mr Westwood knew she was only 16. At the time he told her he was 27, though she later discovered he was in his 40s. She lived on her own and describes herself at that time as a "vulnerable young girl".

    Lydia
    Image caption,
    Lydia

    Sex was consensual, "but it didn't feel like a healthy sexual relationship because he was a grown man and I was a teenager", she says.

    During the 18 months it lasted, he isolated her from friends and family. She says she became depressed and tried to end her own life.

    A friend of Lydia's from the time remembers the impact on Lydia's mental health. Her brother also told us he recalls confronting Mr Westwood about the situation.

    "It was quite controlling in lots of ways," says Lydia. "I had a home phone, and he demanded to have the password to it so he would often listen to my messages."

    If he was travelling he would insist that she came with him, she says, because he didn't trust her to be on her own.

    Lydia said she would sometimes go with Mr Westwood to the BBC, when he "went to pick something up".

    A BBC spokesperson said it was standard procedure in 1997 for people working in BBC buildings to sign in guests, adding that the BBC introduced a regularly-updated Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy in 2004 and a visitor policy in 2010.

    A spokesperson said: "Today, the BBC's safeguarding arrangements have never been stronger and are regularly updated in line with best practice. Where under 18s are permitted access to BBC premises under our safeguarding policy they will always be accompanied by a chaperone and are never left alone."

    Lydia chose to tell her story to correct what she sees as "a lie". Mr Westwood had previously said in a statement that he could "categorically" say he had "never had an inappropriate relationship with anyone under the age of 18". This was in response to claims made against him in 2020 on social media. He said they were fabricated, false and without foundation.

    "I'm probably one of the few girls that he couldn't deny being with because there was quite a lot of witnesses," she says.

    "I wish more people had stepped in, I wish the adults who were around him, the bodyguards, the secretaries, the people who I would say were bystanders."

    Two others who were under 18 have also come forward with allegations.

    Paige was in Year 9 - so 13 or 14 years old - when Mr Westwood performed at an under-18s night at the Oceana club in Cardiff. Paige, who lived in south Wales, went along.

    "I was excited that Tim Westwood was gonna be there. For me as a kid that was like awesome."

    Paige won a dance competition and was invited to the DJ booth to pick up her prize. She asked Mr Westwood to sign her shirt and says he then grabbed her breasts and said, "Woah look at these".

    Paige
    Image caption,
    Paige

    "It's difficult because I didn't necessarily see it at the time as a violation," she says. But reflecting on it now, as a mother, she is angry.

    She added: "Young black women are hyper-sexualised from a very young age" - which is partly why she didn't recognise what happened as assault at the time.

    Paige's mum recalls picking up her up from the club that night, and says Paige told her what happened a few years later.

    Like Paige, 15-year-old Emma was a big fan of Mr Westwood's music, calling herself a real "hip-hop head". So when she heard a call out on his BBC Radio 1 show for people to work on his "street team", she saw it as "the greatest opportunity".

    She and other teenagers would hand out fliers and work backstage at gigs. She says she first met Mr Westwood at his office in Carnaby Street, London. At some point, she says he asked to meet up with her. "I think it was a drink or a dinner or something."

    She says she didn't think it was going to be anything more than that given the age gap - Mr Westwood was 26 years older than her. "So in my head he was like - not my dad - but he's like an older guy, so just asexual to me in a way."

    Mr Westwood picked her up from her London home in a large, American car. But they ended up at a flat, where he told her he needed pick something up.

    Emma
    Image caption,
    Emma

    There they talked about music. He put hip hop on - before switching to RnB. "[It was] getting kind of slow jammy and I was like, 'Hmm, OK, I don't feel good about this.'"

    When he then got closer, she made her excuses to leave.

    "We're in the car […] he leans in very fast, like he's talking to me, he's like 'Yeah, I really like you,'" she says. "And then sticks his tongue down my throat."

    Emma told him she was only interested in working with him. Soon afterwards she was dropped from his team.

    Sophie also worked on the street team, She told the Guardian she worked with Mr Westwood when she was 18 and was trying to break into the music industry.

    She says people would drink together after his show. One night she says he offered to take her home, but - as with Emma - instead drove to a flat.

    She said she wasn't immediately worried because he was her boss. Sophie says she was "intoxicated" and remembers "certain parts of the sex happening" but "I don't remember it in full". She does remember that it was unwanted.

    Talia was 20 when she met Mr Westwood in 2012. She says she was left completely shocked by her encounter with the DJ and thought of going to the police. But she didn't think they would take it seriously.

    Mr Westwood was at the height of his career. He had been at Radio 1 for 16 years and was in demand as a club DJ, particularly for student nights. Talia was studying at Nottingham and went to his club night at a venue in the city called Oceana.

    She recalls the DJ pointing her out to someone she took to be his bodyguard. He came over and told her Mr Westwood wanted her to stay behind at the end of the night. She and the DJ posed for a photograph together. He then offered to drop her and her friend back at their university halls.

    Talia with Tim Westwood
    Image caption,
    Talia with Tim Westwood

    But the plan changed and they ended up at Mr Westwood's hotel. "Maybe this was just me being naïve," she says, "because [my friend] and I thought it was just gonna be a chat and that would be it and you know, I'd go back to halls."

    Then Talia and Mr Westwood went to his hotel room, where they began kissing. But very quickly he had removed all his clothes.

    "I still had my clothes on because I just wasn't expecting that to happen," she says.

    She says she told him that she didn't want to "do anything like that" because they hardly knew each other.

    "I kept saying, 'No, you know we've just met, let's just talk.' I remember saying, 'Oh, why don't we just have a conversation?' Then obviously the struggle started and I kept saying no."

    She says he was then straddling her on the bed and was trying to get her to give him oral sex.

    "I was just thinking, 'ah God, this can't be happening.' Here is this tall like man like just towering over me and I just felt you know, caged, like I couldn't get out. And I was saying no. So I felt really like, really powerless I'd say in that moment."

    She says he then forced his penis into her mouth.

    Talia left the hotel and returned to her university halls.

    According to the 2003 Sexual Offences Act, the intentional penetration of a mouth with a penis without consent could meet the legal definition of rape.

    Reflecting now, Talia says she feels "dirty".

    "I feel like I shouldn't have gone with him and maybe it's my fault that I did that. At the time I didn't know that it was happening to all these other women, I thought it was just me."

    Talia's friend Tatiana told the BBC that she bumped into Mr Westwood at a bar in Nottingham a month or two later. She asked him about Talia, and was shocked when he said he didn't remember her. Shortly afterwards he touched the friend's bottom - "smacked it almost" - and when she turned to challenge him he sipped on his drink "like nothing had happened".

    Two other women, Josie and Isla, say that Mr Westwood behaved inappropriately after brief encounters with him in public. Josie had been shopping in London in 2018 when she recognised the DJ and asked to have a photo taken with him. But she says he started messaging and calling her regularly, "pestering" her to come over to his house. She says during a FaceTime call he unzipped his trousers and moved his phone down before she hung up. She says he messaged afterwards saying he was sorry and had been joking.

    The previous summer, August 2017, Isla went to a Capital Xtra event at Boxpark, Croydon, where Mr Westwood was handing out flyers. He approached Isla and her friend. Isla took a snapchat video with him, and says he immediately afterwards started rubbing his genitals against her. She froze and says the incident was "unsettling and traumatic".

    Like many of the women, Elizabeth says she met Mr Westwood at a club night in 2019. She was 19 and he was in his 60s. She says over the next year they met several times and had two sexual encounters which she describes as consensual but "uncomfortable" - partly because of the age difference and partly because he put pressure on her to drink a lot. She recalls telling him she was about to turn 20, and he replied saying he wished he had had more time to have sex with her when she was a teenager.

    Tim Westwood in 1984IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
    Image caption,
    Tim Westwood in 1984

    Mr Westwood worked at Capital Radio between 1987 and 1994. He went to work for Capital Xtra in 2013. For this latest investigation, the BBC asked Global, who own Capital Radio and Capital Xtra, whether it had received any complaints about Mr Westwood.

    A spokesperson said: "If Global is going to provide comment we will let you know."

    Mr Westwood worked at the BBC for 19 years.

    BBC Director General Tim Davie, speaking as the corporation unveiled its annual report on Tuesday, said the claims against Mr Westwood would be investigated and a report published within two weeks.

    "We have an internal audit separate to myself working to the senior independent director, Nick Serota, going through now, responding to anything that is coming into us.

    "We have no objective apart from to ensure everything is flushed out and we understand exactly what happened with regards to the BBC and also to do the right thing and [ensure] any cases are looked at."

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  • DJ KAY SLAY HAS PASSED AWAY FOLLOWING COVID-19 BATTLE

    DJ Kay Slay has passed away after a long battle with Covid-19, reveals Wack 100.

    Wack was the first to reveal the news of the legendary DJ battling the virus back in January. The 55-year-old had been on a ventilator according to him and the family asked for positive energy so he could get better. A few days ago, Wack gave an update on Kay Slay, saying that he was still fighting.

     

     

     

    Wack 100 initially suggested DJ Kay Slay was moments from dying in an Instagram post from December 2021. But Kay Slay’s biological brother Kwame Grayson told DX that was far from the case, explaining, “He’s definitely not going to die. That right there…I’m not going to lie, I was jumping around. I was definitely happy. Kay Slay is a private dude and he didn’t tell anybody in the hospital who he was, and we was kinda getting average treatment. When they found out who he was, that’s when everybody stepped up treatment.

    “He was slowly fading away, but God didn’t let that happen. Everything in time and when they found out who he was, they got him powered up again. So he’s up and going. He’s like in a recovery state, but he’s definitely not going to die. You can trust me on that.”

    DJ KAY SLAY'S BROTHER PROVIDES PROMISING UPDATE ON HIS COVID-19 BATTLE

    Last week, Wack 100 said he was “still fighting” and needed all the prayers he can get, writing on Instagram, “He’s been off the #ECMO machine for a couple weeks now. Let’s continue our prayers as our brother continues to fight.”

    Sadly, he didn’t pull through. HipHopDX sends our condolences to DJ Kay Slay’s family and all those who loved him. Check out a few of the reactions below.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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