One of the most prominent BBC Radio One DJ’s of my generation is about to be exposed as a man who has groomed hundreds, maybe even thousands, of teenage girls – some rumored to be below the legal age of consent – whilst he worked for the BBC. In another case echoing the actions of former BBC grandee Jimmy Savile, this is a case which may be the end of the BBC as we know it. But, for me, this also brings back personal memories of meeting this radio DJ three times during the period he was most prevalent. So, it’s time I tell you about my three meetings with the BBC Radio One DJ, Tim Westwood, and I’m sorry, but this is all going to get a little wild.
(NB: This is not one of my investigative pieces but rather a personal account of my own experiences of meeting Tim Westwood)
Before I was an investigative journalist, I was also once employed within the hospitality sector. I was an 18 year old smoker, skater, punk and all round troublemaker when I was offered a juxtaposed position working within an opening 5 star Hilton hotel in the extremely lively and vibrant Welsh capital. By stepping into the world of the wealthy, I was offered a brief but intimate look behind the curtain, and behind that proverbial curtain I would often be met with the sights and sounds of the more disgusting behaviour of the rich and famous. When I gained my first ever proper employment, shortly after becoming an official college dropout, I would be warned very clearly by my maternal grandfather to: “not get involved with the sex, drugs and gambling which you find in high class hotels,” but that was exactly what you probably shouldn’t say to an unruly young man such as I was back then. In fact, within the initial interview for employment with the Hilton Hotel Group, I was purposefully thrown right into the middle of the sex, drugs and gambling.
Becoming a Five Star Teenage Pimp
In April 1999, I was still just 18 years old when I went to my first interview for full time employment. The Hilton had rented out the 13th floor of the Capital Tower building in Cardiff which was a stone’s throw away from where the hotel was being built. The Hilton Cardiff was being built on the site of the old tax and army offices which had been redeveloped with the executive floors being added to the top of the existing structure, which allowed for great views across Cardiff Castle. I would wait in Capital Towers, looking out at where the hotel was being built, and I was of course completely anxious about my first ever major interview for full-time work. I had carefully draped an ill-fitting white shirt over the black rope holding up my button-less trousers, I had one of my dad’s kipper-like ties on, and black shoes with blue laces which had holes at the toe ends. I thought the man who walked in the room to interview me, Brian Byrne, would see right through my failed attempt to look respectable and laugh me out of the building, but it turned out that Brian Byrne had significant issues with alcohol. What follows is a story which I’ve told over and over again, and it’s a very accurate account of the events without any intention or need to exaggerate.
When Brian entered the interview room, I remarked to him about it being “a brilliant view” but he wasn’t very responsive. He told me to take a seat and began to ask me questions which I had never expected to be asked. The very first question in my interview to work for the Hilton Cardiff was, “If a guest wants a prostitute, what would you do?” As you can imagine, I was expecting something much less controversial as the first question in an interview for a branded hotel, but 5 star hotels are far from normal places. I responded with the answer I thought he’d want, “I suppose I would send them to the nearest red light district, maybe offer them a taxi?” Brian looked disgusted with my response, rolling back in his chair and shaking his head whilst tutting. What Brian Byrne would do next was truly unexpected, he would tell me in detail how to organise prostitutes for guests. He would inform me that in my role on the concierge desk that I was to:
- Find out the guests preference for a sexual partner and any details concerning the amount of cash they’re wishing to pay, the services required, the most convenient time for the encounter, and to confirm the guest had the correct amount of cash available.
- I was then to contact one of the preselected and approved local brothels and escort agencies to organise the most appropriate lady for the guest.
- I was then to meet the lady at the front desk and take her to the room in order to introduce them to the guest.
- When in the room, I was to find out how long the whole event would take and return at the appropriate time.
- I would then escort the ladies downstairs and organise them transportation.
What you must consider is that I was very wild and immature at the time and this all sounded so amazing that I couldn’t believe that it was actually happening. Once Brian Byrne had told me what I should do, he asked me the initial question again and I agreed that he was the boss and he knew best. The rest of the interview was brief and banal, and I would leave thinking that I’d been unsuccessful, but quite the opposite, I would be offered employment to begin with training on 19 July 1999. I was soon working on the concierge desk of a five star hotel and it was during a very special time in the capital city’s history. In honour of the coming millennium, the Millennium Stadium had been built in the city centre of Cardiff and it would host the Rugby World Cup in the October of 1999. The Welsh were intent on being noticed by a wider audience and famous people would find that there wasn’t much of a selection of five star hotels to be had in the locality.
Over the next few months leading up to the official opening of the Hilton Cardiff by Prince Charles and the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup, I would become the classic representation, almost a Michael J Fox-esque comedy caricature, of a five star concierge worker.
The First Westwood Experience
By the time I first met BBC Radio One DJ Tim Westwood, I was already really good at my job, if my job was to get high and to make rich people want to give me their money. I was being paid £4 an hour and tipping was about the only way to make a proper wage. All of the people working nights alongside me were all competing for the big tips, so, instead of arguing with each other, we would often work together to get as much as we could. We were almost like totally high versions of Dickensian street urchins, with all the tricks and strategies to completely take any frivolous guest for everything we could. We wouldn’t go as far as to steal, because these people could easily be convinced to just hand over money and gifts to their new best friends.
But this stint of craziness would only last properly for 6 months until I was promoted to work on the reception desk. But during that initial period was the first time the infamous BBC Radio One DJ Tim Westwood and his entourage would stay at the hotel. It would be during this experience that I would grow up a lot and learn a bundle of vital life lessons.
Tim Westwood’s entourage would start turning up to the hotel the day before the arrival of Westwood himself. The first group would check into rooms 318, 320, and 322, and they were not the usual Hilton guests. It would eventually be revealed to me that these men were actually referred to as “Yardie Gangsters”, a name given to Jamaican street gangsters in the UK community. The men who were staying in these rooms would make the entire floor smell appealing, at least for a weed smoker like myself.
It was about 1am in the morning on a weekend where Tim Westwood was the headliner of a local club night. Tim Westwood and his main crew had arrived at the hotel, booked and paid for by the BBC, and they had briefly checked into the hotel earlier that evening before I had started on shift. But these men who would be with Tim Westwood later weren’t at the club night as it was happening. Me and a friend of mine, Ollie, who worked as a Night’s Room Service Porter, were walking the corridors of the hotel, starting from the top and working our way down. He was collecting breakfast cards, trays and glasses which had been left outside rooms whilst I was doing a security walk and posting express check out bills under the doors, when we saw some peculiar activity which marked the beginning of the night’s main event. We were standing on the 5th floor, looking out over the open atrium at these men on the third floor swapping between rooms when they should be at this event. Ollie and I ducked under the balcony, slowly popping our eyes over the ledge to watch all the hasty-looking erratic activity for a while before deciding to radio the manager. The manager on shift, a horrible lady who would bully most of the staff, was an Irish woman named Jean. I told her that something strange was going on and that she should come up to take a look, she told me: “Fuck off, I’m having a cigarette!”, which was a relatively standard response for Jean.
Ollie and I watched a little more before we got on with our floor walk. By the time we’d made it to the third floor, we would pass by the rooms just as one of these men was coming out of the door. The smell of weed was like I had only previously experienced in Amsterdam and I couldn’t resist myself and I had a sudden urge to vocalise my approval. I said to the guy, “That smells like some grade ‘A’ cheeba!” with a grand smile adourning my face. He looked at me and asked, “Do you want to have a smoke?” I gave Ollie a look that personified the expression, “You’ve only got one life!”, and Ollie nodded his head, completely in tune with my want to seek out more weed related naughtiness. We walked into the literal plumes of thick smoke and both perched against the far wall of the bedroom. There were five Jamaican gangsters sitting and lying around the room, all watching the movie US Marshals on the television. Everyone was silent until I asked for the name of the guy who had initially offered us into the room. He told me his name was ‘Taz’ whilst his friend who he was sitting next to finished rolling a fat blunt.
Ollie and I were ecstatic to be about to smoke some good weed, we were constantly on the hunt for the green stuff and this smelt divine. The guy would light up the fat blunt and a couple of boys would take a puff before it got to me. We both knew that we would be leaving soon, so we took some enormous puffs on the doobie and then thanked our hosts and left. What we were soon to realise, almost as soon as the door abruptly slammed shut behind us, was that we had been given more than just weed. Within five seconds, Ollie and I were floating down the corridor and barking at each other like dogs, this, I suppose, is the type of thing my grandad had warned me against. It really is as extreme as I describe, straight away we both realised that this was most likely PCP (known as Angel Dust). Whatever it was, Ollie and I had a hard time not barking down the corridors of this five star Hilton whilst we were stopping to slap each other across the face. By the time we got to the ground floor public toilets and splashed water on our faces, we were still no better off. We stood for quite a while barking at each other, slapping each other across the face some more, and laughing like a couple of Norman Bates’.
We were still meant to be walking the floors, but instead we went to the back service entrance of the hotel, on a strip known as the Friary, to smoke cigarettes and attempt to sober up. At the top of the rear ramp, we stumbled out onto the street smoking when we saw a tall man turn down the Friary and begin to walk towards us slowly. He was a lanky black man dressed in an all white tracksuit, with white trainers, and a white baseball hat. We watched him walk towards us and Ollie and I discussed if we were still too high to know whether or not any of this was normal. The man approached us slowly, walking as cool as can be, smoking an enormous spliff. He nodded towards us and asked, “Yo, do you know where the Hilton car park is? I have to meet some friends there.” For some reason I felt like I should mention Taz’s name, to which the guy said, “Oh, you know Taz!?” as he handed me his spliff. This spliff was quite normal and we chatted with the guy for a bit. The issue for me was that the hotel had valet parking and so no guests really went to the car park. I had started talking about other things but the guy would ask again and Ollie would automatically answer him. He said goodbye to us and left the way he’d come, I looked at Ollie like he was a dope, “you probably shouldn’t have told him where the car park was,” I said, but before we’d thought through the consequences another strange thing happened.
A dark green BMW would slowly drive towards us down the same road. It would turn by where we were standing and go back to the top of the street, parking in the General Managers car parking space next to the hotel. Out of the vehicle stepped a large black man with two very tall women who looked “professional”. Ollie and I split up, he went to the front desk via the loading bay basement whilst I went to the front entrance. I stepped into the hotel as they were waiting for the lift and asked them if they were residents. The three said nothing and just walked straight back out of the hotel and left. Ollie got to me just as they walked out the door and our manager was still smoking with the security guards in the patisserie, so Ollie and I went to get some food downstairs.
I really can’t express how naive Ollie and myself had been to accept random blunts from obvious Jamaican gangsters. If we had been a normal pair of folks then we would have soon been unconscious or rumbled by our bosses. But Ollie and I had just come back from a crazy four day drug binge in Amsterdam, and our tolerance was high. Still, what would happen next would even be hard for a sober person to deal with. Ollie and I had served ourselves some cold battered cod and peas from the food which had been left for the staff in the basement cafeteria. We had maybe eaten just a bite or two before our radios began screaming at us in the thick Irish accent of our Duty Manager, “GET THE FUCK UP HERE!!!!”.
In the Hilton, we always reacted quickly to everything and Ollie and I sprinted, again in separate directions, towards the foyer of the hotel. I would run out the side staff door on the Friary and screech around to the front doors. We had left a completely quiet front desk, but by the time I burst through the front doors it was completely packed out with people and everything was going bat-shit crazy.
All Shit Breaks Loose
As I walked through the big glass door, there was crazy activity happening all around me. On the left of me, standing beside the concierge desk, were three men of about 24 years old, who were all hugging very large rolls of turf and were crying tears of pure joy. Next to them were two members of the French rugby team who were completely wasted and were using one of the two large porter trolleys as a battering ram to wake up their comrade who’d fallen asleep on the other trolley. The rugby players were singing classic French nursery rhymes and going into fits of giggles. In front of the reception desk was around thirty people, nearly all of them black, with the very obvious exception of Tim Westwood.
It was a bizarre scene to witness. Tim Westwood and his main crew had invited back loads of very young girls, probably on the promise of a wild party at the Hilton. By the time we got there Jean had handled the situation in her usual manner, lacking in diplomacy, and a stand off argument had ensued. What I saw was really peculiar and probably deserves a little context. Whatever anybody tells you, racism was a major problem throughout British history, racism didn’t stop after the murder of Stephen Lawrence. At the time, black music nights in the South West of England and in South Wales were few and far between. Young black people in 1999 were still being treated like second-class citizens and they would often flock towards anyone who’d recognised their struggles. What I saw was a mass of young black girls, with a few tough looking black guys, all encircling Tim Westwood like he was the only one willing to defend their right to exist and have a normal life, and Tim Westwood was doing that loudly. When I looked up at him (he was about six foot seven, whilst those around him were all fairly short) he was screaming at all the various members of staff who were stopping him taking all these young girls up to the rooms. It really was a bizarre sight, he was like seeing the image of a false prophet surrounded by followers who were all purposely keeping physically close to him. He would scream at Jean before telling us that we were all racist, pointing at each member of staff individually whilst shouting “And your Racist!”. When he got to pointing at me and shouting the same, I squeaked up with a “fuck you” (I have personal experience of racism which for many reasons I cannot discuss out loud and I think it’s not helpful to bandy the term around). I really have always been extremely mouthy when being shouted at, and this was no different. Eventually the manager would agree to three guests extra per booked room and it ended up with an unruly party up on the floor Westwood was staying.
After that situation had been supposedly dealt with, I turned my attention to the other revellers who were hanging around, getting the three men and their turf (which they had stolen from the newly opened Millennium Stadium) bin bags to hold their souvenirs and then quickly kicking them out into the cold October night. Once I had got the three members of the French rugby team to their rooms, I went back to finish my fish. Ollie was stuck in the main kitchen making food for the Westwood group, whilst I went around doing my other duties. It would be about 5:30am when I was called back to the concierge desk. There was a load of commotion when I arrived with various team members holding their heads in their hands and looking like the apocalypse had arrived. Jean was looking for anyone to blame for what she had just discovered and started pointing her finger around shouting. One of the day porters had come in early, a really nice guy called Jamie, who told me that eleven cars had been stolen. I completely cringed, suddenly a lot of the night made sense, especially the being drugged with PCP and the whole car park thing.
But, thankfully for everyone working that night, a simple structural problem became to blame for the thefts. The porters closet, where all the car keys were neatly filed in paper envelopes, including full details of the vehicles and where they were parked in the local car park, never had a lock on the door. In fact, whilst we were doing our regular jobs, the Jamaican Yardies would go into the open porters closet and select the cars they wanted to steal, eleven in all, every model being the best they could find. For the dozen or so Jamaican gang members who would attempt this fantastical heist, things wouldn’t work out as planned. In fact, the man who worked nights in the car park fell off his chair when he heard eleven cars all start at the same time. The gang managed to steal one white BMW before the car park attendant had jumped on the bonnet of the second car. The occupants would crash into the car park wall and jump out, fleeing the scene and leaving a line of vehicles trapped behind them. Soon all the guys jumped out and ran off down Greyfriars Road.
I would have to wait around to give a very sanitised statement to the police (they never asked if we took drugs, but I told them the entire story without the PCP, barking, or the slapping. The hotel took full responsibility for the events due to the obvious security flaws which made the theft so easy. The hotel would officially tell the BBC that Tim Westwood was not welcome to stay at the hotel again and all the staff were relieved to know that. The stolen car would turn up a week later in Coventry with traces of cocaine on the seats, or at least that’s what I remember reading at the time.
These event will be well documented in police statements and hotel logs.
The Second and Third Tim Westwood Nights
I had learnt a lot from the initial Westwood night, I had been very lucky not to have been caught and fired for my own actions. I did become a little less naughty as a direct consequence of that first encounter. Even though Tim Westwood had been banned from the hotel, he would return. This time he would have them book him under the name Adrian Williams (it was common for celebrities to book under pseudonyms, but he had been clearly banned from ever staying in the hotel again). I walked into work just as he was checking-in at the front desk and he wasn’t fooling anyone with his assumed identity. I watched as Brian Byrne and another manager argued with him politely at the front desk, eventually agreeing to let him stay but with certain conditions. Brian Byrne wasn’t capable of really doing his job, by this time, he had already collapsed from blood poisoning as a direct result of his alcohol consumption whilst on shift just a couple of weeks before.
We were given instructions to report any activity from Westwood’s room during the second stay. He would be staying in an executive twin room on the 6th floor along with DJ Goldfinger, who was a large, very fat, black guy. Eventually they would go perform and they would return at about 3am. I would be doing a floor walk with a colleague at about 3:30am, starting on the 7th floor and working our way down. When we got to Westwood’s floor, we approached from the far end of the corridor, moving towards where the lifts were situated. Outside Tim Westwood’s room was a line of 10 or so teenage girls, none of the girls were talking to each other and they all seemed completely nervous. Most of the girls were black, and as we got closer to them, I realised that I knew one of the girls. Some friends and I used to hang around and skateboard at Heath Park and three of us had met three girls there a couple of years before. We’d got to know the girls and they were very nice but they were about 3 years younger than us, and when you’re 16/17 years old, that stuff really matters. We hadn’t seen each other since and I was really surprised that she was here. I stopped to talk to her, I asked her how she’d been and we had a little small chat. I remember very clearly what I said next. I leaned across and spoke to her in the most non judgemental tone I could, saying, “You know this isn’t good?”, gesturing at the open bedroom door which she was queuing-up to enter. I remember her looking down at the carpet awkwardly and saying, “I know, I just want to meet Tim,” I felt real sadness and I could see that she knew that she was doing something risky. I moved closer and put my hand on her arm and said, “Really, there’s nothing in there for you.” She just nodded a little and I gave her a little smile and with that I told her that it was nice to see her. I walked slowly along each of the girls. They had already got past security, reception, and the duty manager, but they were obviously very young and extremely nervous. When I got to the door of the BBC Radio One DJ, I took a look inside. The bedroom door had been wedged open, and in the room was Tim Westwood and DJ Goldfinger in only their underpants, looking like a pair of pathetic old men. Tim Westwood was jumping around like a child and appeared as though he was really pumped up about meeting each of these young girls in his underpants, in a little twin room, in the cold capital city of Wales.
We always reported everything during a floor-walk, and that wouldn’t have been any different in this situation, but all I remember is feeling sad. I really liked the girl I spoke to, she was a very kind natured and sweet girl, the juxtaposition of her and Tim Westwood was jolting. I wasn’t really aware at the time of what I’d witnessed. You get used to seeing some crazy sights when you work nights in a five star hotel, some criminal and it was always easy to dismiss the bizarre events as just another night. But that night did change something inside me permanently. I would become strict about allowing all situations which didn’t clearly have vocally consenting adults involved. I was still wild for quite a while after these events (maybe I still am in some ways) but I was strict if my suspicions were aroused. Tim Westwood would return once more, giving me a signed CD as a ‘sorry’ for his previous behaviour. I remember seeing him and realising as he stood before me that he was actually one of the most pathetic humans I’d ever met. I couldn’t even look at him properly because I knew who he really was. I threw away the shitty CD and within a month or two I was promoted by the Hilton and began to behave myself and began to forge out a career.
I’ve seen many things over the two decade period where I was working nights in hotels, but one recurring theme is the abuse of women in many different ways. After working at the Hilton, I would work in other big city centre hotels which catered for a clientele more like myself, working class folk. I would almost exclusively work as a Night Manager primarily due to me being ill with something called Graves Disease through most of my formative years, but this suited my skill set. Over the years, I would learn to read people very well and I was conscious of everything which was happening in any hotel in which I was working. I discovered that my job became a counsellor to women and men who were having bad times, I would become hyper-vigilant to any potential trouble and I’d deal with things decisively once they had occurred, and I became very good at spotting situations which could turn violent or criminal. One of the main duties I took upon myself was protecting women and children, and I took this seriously throughout the rest of my career. When I first became a manager, not too long after my Hilton days ended, I witnessed on many occasions what can happen when a couple with relationship issues are stuck in a hotel room together. I walked into rooms of screams and shrieks with blood everywhere, I’ve stood face to face with people who want to end me for pointing out that their partner doesn’t want to have sex with them, and I’ve even got to kick one guy full force in the testicles whilst protecting a girl during a night shift. But even with all the good deeds I’ve done later, I really wish that I could return to that corridor in the Hilton Cardiff in 1999 and tell all of those girls to go home. Then I wish that I had gone into that bedroom myself with a baseball bat and a pair of pliers.
What I learnt working in hotels is that human nature, once affected by the call of the night, will lead to people acting irrationally and that it’s best to try to keep your head and bring a sober perspective to any issue. I eventually had to stop working as a manager in hotels for this very reason. In one Cardiff hotel a few years ago, I walked past a room in the middle of the night and heard woman being loudly forced into sexual acts. There was no mistake about what was happening. I was never trained to enter into a situation like this, they did “train us” about signs of abuse in many of the hotels I’ve worked in, but when you actually deal with something like this, it becomes so much more personal and complex. On that occasion I took immediate action to stop it. I banged on the door and I separated the girl from them, but they would soon take her from the hotel and leave me making police statements for three hours worried about the girl’s safety. In the same hotel, shortly after I left, a man murdered his wife in the night.
There’s a Storm Coming!
In August 2019, sickened by the actions of Connor McGregor, I wrote a thread on Twitter explaining about some of the people who were celebrity sex offenders and still at large. I wrote a Tweet about Tim Westwood within that thread and since then I’ve been contacted by none other than the BBC who are now trying to micromanage the affair in an effort to limit the damage done to their already tarnished credibility. Another BBC Radio One DJ has abused masses of young girls whilst he was representing the British Broadcasting Corporation and this should signal the end of any public funding for this completely backward and outdated organisation. There should also be a comprehensive investigation into all BBC entities of the past and present in relation to the exploitation of children and vulnerable young girls in particular. It is clear that the British Broadcasting Corporation has significant and continuous issues with employing men who target children and young people. There is no doubt in my mind that nothing has changed and that this activity will still be happening in the BBC to this very day. This is a sick institution which doesn’t learn from its experiences. Instead, if the BBC aren’t able to hide, obfuscate, or cover-up their criminality then they will micromanage the revealing of the information surrounding any event to limit the damage to their treasured organisation.
This should not be the start of just another BBC historic sexual abuse scandal, this must be the end of the BBC as a public entity. They knew perfectly well at the time that Tim Westwood was acting inappropriately and you should expect this to become more well known as this case comes out into the public. For Tim Westwood to offend, it took the BBC turning a blind eye to his assaulting young girls, some rumored to be children. This has happened again and again, and we can be sure that, if this has been a recurring theme throughout the history of the BBC, then it is still happening to this very day. Open your eyes and withdraw your licence for this abominable organisation which has been responsible for the systematic sexual abuse of thousands and thousands of young girls and boys throughout its horrible history.