It’s like the Wild West online, minus the cowboy hats, gun slinging, chewing tobacco and calling everyone ‘boy’.

The Huw Edwards and Pip Schofield ‘affairs’ have demonstrated this as the rumour mill worked overtime to unmask the alleged fiend in the style of a Scooby Doo short.

Despite both acting in a fashion that could deemed morally wrong, their downfall was due to the positions they held in the media field. These were not two young and green wanabees but experienced, at the top of their game, broadcasters who could and should have known better but didn’t.

‘Online’ caught them out via the remote kangaroo court which is the equivalent of ducking to test for witches in days yonder down t’village pond.

When the Sun, in an attempt to alienate and flatline sales not only in Liverpool but now in Wales, first printed their revelations with ‘clues, it was only a matter of time before the pressure got too much and a celebrity let slip the accused name.

Epping Forest Guardian: Brett Ellis is concerned about the internet becoming a courtBrett Ellis is concerned about the internet becoming a court

Online books were being opened up with the early favourites being Edwards and Graham Norton. Jeremy Vine and Rylan Clark were also in the frame until they both, publicly and categorically, pulled themselves out of the running whilst no doubt, instructing their legal teams, rightly, to go for those who libelled them time and again online.

It is this apparent cloak of cyber anonymity that gives credence to such spurious claims and, despite protestations as to the contrary, regulations being discussed, online is one area that politicos, business and celebrity cannot be protected and likely, never will.

It became a national obsession: A male who is currently not on the BBC and paid over £400k per year were the clues the Sun gave us, which became a clue too many as we collectively played the world’s largest ever version of ‘Guess who’. Does he have a Welsh accent? Check. Until his missus, who was then cruelly trolled as ‘looking like Mick Hucknall’ put him and the country out of our misery as we looked for the next target to drag around the living room carpet and rip limb from limb.

As for Norton, well he’s a rich man anyhow, but if I were he, I would spend every waking minute with my legal team as I go for each and every person who accused him of being a paedophile, as a bit of public humiliation and accountability is the only thing to stem the tide of future online attacks as the saloon doors open and the fightback commences.

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher.