THE WHO guitarist Pete Townshend has admitted paying to download child porn from the internet.
But the rock legend denied being a paedophile and claimed he only purchased the obscene material as research for a book.
Townshend spoke out after reports said a rock star was at the center of an international probe into child porn.
Police were said to be preparing to quiz the musician after he bought child sex images from an American pay-per-view porn syndicate.
Townshend's credit card details were among 7,000 names US Postal Service passed to Scotland Yard.
The following is Townshend's official statement in regards to his admission of paying to download child porn from the Internet:
"I am not a paedophile. I have never entered chat rooms on the internet to converse with children. I have, to the contrary, been shocked, angry and vocal (especially on my website) about the explosion of advertised paedophilic images on the internet.
"I have been writing my childhood autobiography for the past seven years. I believe I was sexually abused between the age of five and six and a half when in the care of my maternal grandmother who was mentally ill at the time.
"I cannot remember clearly what happened, but my creative work tends to throw up nasty shadows — particularly in 'Tommy'.
"Some of the things I have seen on the internet have informed my book which I hope will be published later this year, and which will make clear to the public that if I have any compulsions in this area, they are to face what is happening to young children in the world today and to try to deal openly with my anger and vengeance towards the mentally ill people who find paedophilic pornography attractive.
"I predicted many years ago that what has become the internet would be used to subvert, pervert and destroy the lives of decent people.
"I have felt for a long time that it is part of my duty, knowing what I know, to act as a vigilante to help support organisations like the Internet Watch Foundation, the NSPCC and Scotland Yard to build up a powerful and well-informed voice to speak loudly about the millions of dollars being made by American banks and credit card companies for the pornography industry.
"That industry deliberately blurs what is legal and what is illegal, and different countries have different laws and moral values about this. I do not. I do not want child pornography to be available on the internet anywhere at any time.
"On one occasion, I used a credit card to enter a site advertising child porn. I did this purely to see what was there. I spoke informally to a friend who was a lawyer and reported what I'd seen.
"I hope you will be able to see I am sincerely disturbed by the sexual abuse of children, and I am very active trying to help individuals who have suffered, and to prevent further abuse."