Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

'Good luck to Savile, said Travis'

DJ Dave Lee Travis arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London, where he is accused of a series of indecent assaults and one sexual assault

Dave Lee Travis knew that Jimmy Savile liked young girls and thought "good luck to him", a jury has been told.

But the veteran DJ did not think the girls were under-age and said he would have reported Savile if he had known he was a paedophile, jurors at London's Southwark Crown Court heard.

Travis, who is on trial accused of indecently assaulting 10 women and sexually assaulting another, made the comments to police after his arrest on suspicion of sexual offences.

Reading extracts from interviews with police after his arrest in November 2012, junior prosecutor Teresa Hay said that, although the defendant, known as DLT, denied the offences, he described such groping behaviour as the "norm" during the 1970s.

Ms Hay told jurors: "He said if he had touched someone's breasts he would admit it as it was considered to be a bit flirtatious at the time and no one thought that much about it.

"He said the allegations did not happen. If any of it had been true, he would apologise and accept that this was the norm in that period.

"He said his reputation was everything to him - if it had happened, he would happily own up."

Asked about his relationship with disgraced presenter Savile, Travis told the Operation Yewtree officers that he only knew him as a colleague and someone to say hello to if they passed in a corridor.

Ms Hay said he told police: "Like most people at the BBC, I did not know him.

"He described Jimmy as having a 'verbal wall'. No one got any sense out of him. He felt like he could not get through.

"He said he knew he liked young girls but, when all of this came out, most of them sat back in horror.

"He said he thought 'Good luck to him'."

But she added that he said he did not think the girls were under the age of consent and "would have reported him if he'd known he had been a paedophile".

"He was genuinely shocked at the allegations," Ms Hay said.

Travis, 68, of Buckinghamshire, denies 13 indecent assaults and one sexual assault, dating back to 1976 and the height of his fame.

The alleged offending includes when he was working as a BBC DJ, as a broadcaster with Classic Gold radio, while appearing on Top Of The Pops, and when starring in panto.

Jurors heard Travis described the allegations as "degrading" towards him and, because of his celebrity status, he was "fair game".

"He was in the firing line and anyone could take a shot. He said he was no angel but he thought it was just not on," Ms Hay said.

The court heard he told officers he thought it "incredible that people were coming out of the woodwork" after 40 years, and said he expected it was because they wanted to sell their stories due to the "money-grabbing culture".

Referring to evidence heard previously from a woman who said Travis attacked her in a BBC studio while presenting his Radio 1 show in the mid-1970s, jurors were told: "He said the allegation was unbelievable and he was shocked that people in his industry were such targets.

"He said he would have had to be a moron to do anything in the studio when people could see in from outside."

Asked by officers about the similarities between some of the women's accounts, the defendant said: "Two people who are not connected are both telling porkies."

The court heard he described allegations that he groped a teenage girl in the audience of Top Of The Pops in 1978 as "ridiculous and stupid".

"There were cameras on him from all angles and the show goes out to 20 million people," Ms Hay said.

Travis, who said he had been "happily married" since 1971, described himself as a "tactile" person who would usually kiss or hug men and women when meeting them, but said he would never grope them.

He "understood the line between being naturally huggy and making people feel uncomfortable", Ms Hay said.

"He accepted that he had opportunities but if you live in a sweet shop, you do not eat the sweets."

Travis, who is on trial charged under his real name David Patrick Griffin, listened to the evidence from the dock with the aid of headphones.

Jurors were told that, after initially being arrested and questioned on November 15 2012, he was interviewed by police on three further occasions in March, August and September last year.

The trial was adjourned until Monday January 27, when jurors will continue to hear about the interviews.

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