The Editor of Country Squire Magazine has made the following statement on Chris Packham and the Wildheart Trust (now known as the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary):
Text of the Statement Follows:
I have a statement to make.
My name is Dominic Wightman.
I am the Editor of Country Squire Magazine. Along with colleagues I have been threatened with legal action for defamation by Chris Packham – a wildlife presenter you may know from CBBC’s Really Wild Show. The legal threat was made several weeks ago, and one wonders whether Packham has since lost his bottle.
I have been asked by Packham’s lawyers to remove some articles from our magazine website which he doesn’t take kindly to, even to apologise for publishing them. I am refusing to do so because – and I’ve had the articles verified by numerous parties, including distinguished experts – the evidence in those articles, related to tigers which Packham claims in crowdfunders were maltreated and rescued, shows they were never maltreated, and they were rehomed NEVER rescued.
Yet Packham, knowing this, yoking his BBC-built celebrity, as he has done in the past to raise large sums of money from the British public, went on with others amidst a fanfare of misleading publicity to crowdfund many thousands of pounds for his girlfriend’s zoo which houses these tigers and charges the public a lot of ticket money to see them. Risibly, Packham is still claiming to this day that the tigers were maltreated and rescued despite the easily accessible truth that says otherwise. Packham’s girlfriend’s zoo is run by a charity called the Wildheart Trust which she CEOs, which cynically changed its name in April to The Wildheart Animal Sanctuary when this bad press broke on them in our magazine and in the Daily Mail.
These are stories well worth reading and go to the heart of how remote the BBC has become from the people, especially from countrysiders, allowing its high-paid presenter activists to still get away with so much, hiding in plain sight and dissembling the truth before our very eyes, despite the lessons that should have been learnt from Savile. I shall publish all the verified evidence in detail on the magazine over coming days so the British public and BBC licence fee payers – as well as those who paid their hard-earned money into the crowdfunders – can decide for themselves. It’s hardly rocket science – if an animal is donated to me and I then crowdfund thousands to ‘rescue’ it and claim maltreatment of the animal in the past that I know full well did not happen, then that’s deception of the most obvious kind.
The licence-fee-paying British public should expect Packham to provide answers to the following 5 questions at once:
- Question 1. Are Packham and Wildheart able to prove that the tigers the Trust owns were ever “left to fight for scraps [sic] of food between performances”? If not, why did they make this claim while crowdfunding?
- Question 2. Packham, You and your partner Charlotte Corney visited the tigers before they moved to England. They were being held at AAP Primadomus in Villena, Spain. In a promo video made on the day of transfer an AAP Primadomus representative clearly states the truth, that the tigers were donated to them. You used this video in your crowdfunder. The solicitor involved in the transfer clearly states the tigers were donated. So why did you lie and say you were rescuing the tigers? You were merely rehoming donated tigers were you not?
- Question 3. The previous owner of the tigers donated them to AAP on the understanding he could visit them whenever he wanted. Do you not think on reflection it was highly deceitful not to let him know the tigers had been moved? For him – an old man – to discover from a relative his beloved tigers had been relocated to your girlfriend’s zoo in another country under the fraudulent banners of rescue and mistreatment? At what point did you know about the professional judgements which showed unanimously the tigers had never been maltreated while under the care of the previous owner? What was your personal involvement in the Mirror’s “Rescued from Hell” campaign? When will you be apologising to the previous owner?
- Question 4. The monies crowdfunded by Wildheart for the tigers project should by law receive a separate allocation heading in the charity’s accounts. Where is that separate allocation heading? What is the status of those monies received and spent? This specific project allocation heading does not appear in the Wildheart charity’s accounts. As well as being illegal, is this not blatant obfuscation?
- Question 5. Amidst the publicity generated by our articles, a lady has come forward who was attacked in a car park by you, Packham. She was just an ordinary member of the public so you may have forgotten her – you reacted after her trolley accidentally tapped your car. Why have you never sought her out and apologised to her? What about your past and present colleagues who say you have a vicious and fiery temper and have attacked and bullied them in the past? Have you sought anger management? Is it really OK to blame your obvious nastiness on Asperger’s when in reality you’re just a narcissistic little bully?
With the kind help of colleagues we have now put all the data collected on this Packham case into one dossier. This dossier has now been handed over to the police. We have requested that a full investigation be undertaken into Packham, his girlfriend and his colleagues at the Wildheart Charity, which benefitted from these crowdfunders, and who now own the tigers in question at their zoo on the Isle of Wight. Furthermore, as well as submitting a highly detailed complaint to Charity Commission investigators, we have ensured that other esteemed bodies and charities related to Packham have been kept abreast of developments, as well as the original owners of the tigers who Packham has repeatedly and cruelly defamed. We are compiling a new complaint for the Fundraising Regulator after the investigator looking at the previous complaint made by our writer Nigel Bean whitewashed a response and then conveniently upped and left the body. I have also written to the honours forfeiture committee and the Prime Minister suggesting Packham’s CBE be removed. I have sent the articles, along with an evidence pack, to Tim Davie, Director General of the BBC, requesting that Packham be dismissed from all BBC programmes forthwith. Pinocchio Packham has lied very publicly in the past – but this time he has crossed a line which no BBC employee or contractor should be permitted to cross, however narcissistic or damaged they might claim to be. We expect a full and open investigation from the BBC and hope they have learnt their lessons from past cover-ups.
I fully stand by the claims of these articles and reiterate the essence of them here – that Packham is a charlatan and not fit to benefit from BBC licence fee payers, some of whom, especially here in rural areas, struggle to make licence fee payments at all; licence fee payments which are still, even in 2021, in the era of media organisations brave enough to embrace the market like Netflix, Amazon and GB News, forced upon them by the law of the land.
I would also like to point out that, although I am not a trained journalist like Carole Cadwalladr or Martin Bashir, I have always been meticulous in my role as Editor of this magazine and that suggesting otherwise, as Packham’s tank-chasing and politically activist lawyers, Leigh Day, have intimated, is clear defamation of my editorship. I shall leave fabricating and smearing to those whose moral relativism and penchant for trolling seem to be characteristics shared by hypocritical class warriors like the multi-millionaire, Packham, who seem to think that expensive court threats will somehow prevent publication of truths that are inconvenient to them. Packham, confess and apologise now.
Thank you very much indeed.
If You would like to get in touch with Country Squire Magazine about anything in this statement or because You have information that may be pertinent then please use the contact form above or using this link. All information received will be treated in utmost confidence. Anonymous tip-offs are also welcomed. The response so far has been fantastic. Cheers.