ITN newsreader in photographs row back on air

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The Independent Online
REBECCA FOWLER

Julia Somerville, the ITN newsreader, will present the lunchtime news today for the first time since becoming the focus of intense media attention when she was arrested last week over allegedly pornographic photographs.

Ms Somerville, 48, and her boyfriend, Jeremy Dixon, 56, an architect, were both questioned by police in connection with the pictures last Thursday evening. Mr Dixon was arrested at a West End branch of Boots, the chemist, where he was picking up a processed film of family snaps. Both have strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

The couple's home in Muswell Hill, north London, was besieged by journalists when it emerged that they were at the centre of the investigation into the photographs, which were reportedly of Ms Somerville's seven-year-old daughter in the bath.

An ITN spokeswoman, Janie Ironside-Wood, confirmed that Ms Somerville would present her professional face to the world today, and will read the news as usual, but appealed for her to be left alone. "We would ask people to respect her privacy, her home and her family," she said.

Ms Somerville was furious that reports of the investigation had been leaked to the press. In a statement she said: "I am extremely distressed that these unfounded allegations should have been leaked to newspapers. I strenuously deny any allegation of wrongdoing. Innocent family photographs, processed at Boots chemist, have been completely misconstrued."

A Scotland Yard spokesman denied yesterday that information had been leaked by the police. "We have acted responsibly throughout," the spokesman said. "We are unaware of how the details reached the media, but when we were asked we neither released nor confirmed the names of the individuals involved. We must stress that the normal processes that come into effect whenever any photographic developer is suspicious or anxious about photographs were carried out on this occasion."

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