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Police Investigating Dan Wootton Over Allegations of 10-Year Catfishing Campaign Following Byline Times’ Special Investigation

Scotland Yard has announced that a man in his 40s is under a formal investigation. It comes three months after Byline Times handed a dossier of evidence about 40-year-old GB News star Dan Wootton to detectives

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GB News’ scandal-hit star presenter Dan Wootton is tonight at the centre of a Metropolitan Police probe after a three-year investigation by Byline Times, it can be exclusively revealed.

Detectives from the Complex Investigation Team of the force’s Central Specialist Crime division are looking into serious allegations relating to the obtaining of sexual images by deception and blackmail.

A Met Police spokesperson told this newspaper: “In June 2023, the Metropolitan Police was contacted with regards to allegations of sexual offences committed by a man aged in his 40s.

“Officers assessed all information available to establish whether any criminal offence has taken place. We can confirm that an investigation has now commenced into these allegations.

“Detectives will continue to liaise with the complainant to establish the circumstances. There has been no arrest and enquiries continue.”

Byline Times’ journalists handed a 28-page dossier of evidence to the Met Police on 20 June.

On 12 July, criminal claims started to emerge on social media, with posts rapidly attracting more than 18 million views. On 27 July, Byline Times started publishing a series of stories examining 40-year-old New Zealander Wootton’s personal and professional conduct.

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It is understood that detectives are currently focused on allegations that Wootton staged a 10-year-long campaign to ‘catfish’ men using the online alias of ‘Martin Branning’ to persuade them to film sexual content which was then, in at least one case, allegedly used for blackmail.

It follows the announcement of separate investigations by Wootton’s former employers News UK, where he was a long-standing senior editor between 2013 and 2021, and DMG Media, the publisher of MailOnline.

Wootton was sacked last Thursday from his twice-weekly MailOnline column, for which he was paid £250,000-a-year, following his part in a misogynistic rant in which Laurence Fox denigrated journalist Ava Evans on his GB News show Dan Wootton Tonight.

Questions about Wootton, who was suspended by GB News after the misogyny storm last Thursday – two-and-a-half months after this newspaper started publishing allegations about his conduct – have also been raised by the House of Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

GB News Chief Executive Angelos Frangopoulos confirmed to the committee that the station is “monitoring” events as Wootton remains off-air.

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