DJ Travis 'a groping opportunist'

DJ Travis 'a groping opportunist'

Dave Lee Travis denies the charges

Dave Lee Travis arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London

First published in Entertainment News © by

Veteran DJ Dave Lee Travis was an "opportunist" who acted as if he had the "perfect right" to grope young women, jurors in his retrial have been told.

Travis, who is standing trial on three charges, inappropiately touched women who were "many years" younger than him over a period of more than 20 years, London's Southwark Crown Court heard.

The former Radio 1 DJ, who is charged under his real name of David Griffin, faces a retrial on two counts - one of indecent assault of a woman between November 1 1990 and January 31 1991, and another of sexual assault on a different woman between June 1 2008 and November 30 2008 - on which a jury was unable to reach verdicts at a trial earlier this year.

He has also pleaded not guilty to an additional count of indecent assault alleged to have taken place on January 17 1995.

Opening the prosecution case, Miranda Moore QC told the jury of six men and six women that the airing of a television expose on Jimmy Savile in 2012 had prompted a number of women to come forward to Operation Yewtree - the investigation set up in the wake of the Savile scandal - about Travis.

She said the allegations spanned a period from 1985 to 2008 and were alleged to have taken place when Travis was working as a DJ or entertainer, such as starring in a pantomime, or as a guest celebrity, or in his own home while he was being interviewed.

Ms Moore said the jury would hear from three women to whom the three charges relate, but also two other women who would describe similar alleged incidents.

She said: "We say ... he has a propensity towards laying his hands in a sexual manner on young women who are alone with him or in vulnerable positions.

"He is an opportunist."

Ms Moore added: "Generally speaking, you will hear evidence that the ladies concerned were in their early 20s or 20s, with this defendant being older by many years when it happened, probably 20 years-plus.

"The defendant, according to these ladies, simply seemed to act as if he had a perfect right to touch their breasts or put his hands in their clothing to grope them."

She said the women were left embarrassed and shocked by the alleged assaults and, while they had not told police amid concerns that Travis was a celebrity, all had confided in other people at the time.

Outlining the allegations, Ms Moore said the first charge related to a woman who was working on a production of Aladdin in which Travis was starring.

The woman claimed that the DJ assaulted her while they were alone in his dressing room, holding the door closed as he put his hand inside her trousers.

She managed to prise open the door to the corridor - where comedy stars the Chuckle Brothers were standing - and escaped, later telling co-workers on the production.

The second charge relates to an alleged assault by Travis on a young woman working on the Mrs Merton Show.

Ms Moore said Travis approached the woman in the corridor where she was smoking, commenting on her "poor little lungs", then put his hands on her chest for at least 10-15 seconds until she backed away.

The alleged victim's first thought was "Oh my god, Dave Lee Travis has got his hands on my breasts", the court heard, and she went and told another member of staff in similar words.

She was "mildly hysterical" at the time she told her colleague, the court heard, and the pair ended up laughing about "the absurdity of the situation".

In a third count, Travis is alleged to have groped a female journalist when she went to his home to interview him. He touched her chest, holding his hands there for several seconds, the court heard.

She later told her flatmates and her mother but did not take it any further because she did not want to jeopardise her career, Ms Moore said.

The prosecutor also outlined claims from two other women - to which charges are not related.

One woman claimed she was assaulted by Travis as she served him drinks at a venue on the Isle of Man, when he pinned her against a wall and put one hand on her chest and one between her legs.

She was "dumbfounded", the court heard, and said something like "Don't touch me", pushing him away and leaving but when she told a security guard, and later her husband, both told her Travis was "just messing about".

Another woman, also a journalist, claims that Travis assaulted her while she was at his house to interview him.

Travis, who was arrested in October 2012, denies all of the incidents, jurors heard.

Ms Moore said: "He has suggested that possibly the women have come forward motivated by greed or compensation or possibly fame.

"He has not thought to say that any of these incidents was consensual or that he made an honest mistake or that it was a joke.

"When spoken to by police he was adamant that he knows where the line is drawn and how one should behave and he never crossed it."

She added: "Essentially his defence is, this never happened, it is made-up, fabricated, lies, whatever expression you want to use, that's what he says.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I have already said to you that you are going to have to consider what these ladies say happened, when they told people about it, and why there was no report to the police at the time.

"The one thing the three ladies on the indictment did do was to complain to somebody at the time. These are not allegations that have come out after the Jimmy Savile expose."

Travis, wearing a dark jacket and patterned tie, shook his head occasionally during the opening and at one point had to get up and move around in the dock because of a bad back.

Giving evidence, the alleged victim relating to the third count described how Travis groped her chest as she stood in his kitchen after interviewing him.

The woman, who was working as a journalist, said the DJ had showed her a picture of a woman in a bikini, offering to take a similar picture of her.

She said: "He then looked at me and looked me up and down and said 'You've got a good figure, I could take a picture of you'."

She said she dismissed the comment, but Travis later made the same offer, prompting her to feel she had to give a "bigger justification" as to why she did not want one taken.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, she said: "I just blurted out, thinking it would put him off, 'Well, I don't think I have big enough boobs'.

"There was a split second and then he put his hands out and put them on my breasts."

She said he kept his hands there for several seconds, then afterwards acted as if nothing happened.

Travis dropped her off at the railway station to catch a train, and she that said as the train pulled out: "The enormity of what had happened hit me and I suddenly felt very depressed and very lonely and exploited."

The woman told her flatmates what had happened, and they agreed she should go to the police, but her mother, whom she also told, advised her not to because of concerns over the stress of a formal complaint, and the effect it would have on her job, she said.

She added that she did not feel in danger from Travis, or she would have run out of the house, but said she had not exaggerated her claims that he had deliberately groped her.

Under questioning from the DJ's barrister, Stephen Vullo QC, she said: "It was a deliberate hands-on, one, two, three, four, pull away.

"He did not look embarrassed or bashful by what he had done at all.

"He never said sorry, he didn't look embarrassed about what he had done and he was still relatively talkative even though he was a bit quieter."

Asked by Ms Moore: "Is there any possibility that he accidentally came forward from the kitchen island and put both hands out and they landed on your breasts?", she answered: "Absolutely not."

A woman who shared a flat with the alleged victim at the time told the jury that she told her about the alleged assault when she returned from Travis's house.

She said her friend was "upset and a bit angry" when she returned, and described how she and Travis and been looking at some pictures or photographs.

"She said he had made a lewd comment and then, out of the blue, he had grabbed her without saying anything."

She said her friend told her the DJ had said something about taking a picture of her, making her feel uncomfortable.

"She had carried on talking to him. I think she had ignored the comment and he just reached out and placed both hands on her breasts and she had been shocked."

She said they discussed whether she should tell her employers, but she had been worried about what they would think of her because it was the first assignment she had been sent to do by herself.

They advised her to call her mother, she said, which the woman later did.

Later, when allegations emerged about Travis in the media, the witness said they had advised the woman to contact police.

"I think it was about Dave Lee Travis and so we said 'Well, that sounds similar to your experience so you should contact them."

The woman's mother told the court that her daughter called her to ask for her advice after the alleged incident.

She said: "She was very upset and she told me what had happened that had upset her.

"She told me she had gone to do the interview by train and Mr Travis had picked her up from the station in his car and driven her to his home.

"She had done the interview and felt the interview had been done very professionaly and I think it was as she was leaving or coming back from the room they had done the interview in, I think they were in the kitchen and he was talking to her and at some stage in the discussion he touched her in a way that I would regard as inappropriate.

"He touched her breasts for a period of time and that is what upset her."

She said she did not question her daughter in detail about the alleged assault, but asked her whether Travis had tried to do anything else, which her daughter said he had not.

The woman said she was "adamant" that her daughter should not tell her employers about the alleged assault, telling the court: "I was very concerned, not that people wouldn't believe what she had to say but that they would then start to worry about her ability to do the job."

When they discussed the matter a few years later, her daughter, who had since changed jobs, wanted to go to the police and she had "fully supported" her.

The case was adjourned until 10am on Monday.

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