Peter Wells

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Peter Wells
Peter Wells (1947–1979) was a member of the Croydon CHE Group, which he joined in 1978, becoming a very active and outspoken member.

In August 1973, aged 25, he began a sexual relationship with a 17 year old young man. In 1974 the youth's mother was suspicious and got her church involved in investigating the relationship. The youth 'confessed' the relationship to the church rector who then informed the police. Wells was charged and remanded in custody to await trail. In September 1974 he was sentenced to two and a half years in jail for two buggery offences [1]. A month after his release in 1976 Wells attended the CHE Conference in Southampton and received applause after he addressed the conference. In 1978 Wells took his case to the European Court of Human Rights. The Court ruled that they believed they had been an element of force in his sexual activity with one of the youths and therefore the imprisonment was correct [2]. The ECHR also found that the UK different ages of consent for homosexual and heterosexual sex were not incompatible with human rights. Years later the case of Euan Sutherland overturned this ruling. In February 1979 Wells was murdered in an unrelated incident at his home address. The CAGS Tennis Group later named a doubles tennis tournament trophy in his honour.[3]

Peter Wells was born in Bristol and grew up in Sanderstead.[4]

Cover of the book

Further reading

  • Merrick Badger, The Story About Peter Wells, Glad to Be Gay /Purple White and Green, 2016. Excellent little book. There is however an important error on page 3 which states 'Two men over 21 could have sex-but not anal sex-if they were alone and in private' (following the 1967 change in the law). The 1967 Sexual Offences Act in fact legalised anal sex between two men aged 21 years or over </ref>.

External links


  1. Consenting buggery between a man 21 yrs or over with a youth 16-20 years old carried a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment at the time
  2. Merrick Badger pp 42-44 (2016)
  3. Out of the Shadows, page 52.
  4. Badger, page 5.