Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Travis: I'm a decent human being

DJ Dave Lee Travis is accused of a series of indecent assaults and one sexual assault

Former Radio One disc jockey Dave Lee Travis has told his trial he is "astonished" at sex offence allegations against him and told jurors he is a "normal, decent human being".

Becoming increasingly angry as he was cross-examined, Travis denied indecently assaulting 10 women and sexually assaulting another in incidents dating back to 1976 and the height of his fame.

"Suddenly I'm a great predator," he told jurors at London's Southwark Crown Court.

"These things did not happen. I don't know how I can convince you that they did not happen.

"I'm a normal, decent human being. I play jokes on people. I cuddle people. And if there have been some sexual interactions in the past, it's been consensual.

"It's been suggested that women threw themselves at me - thank God most of them missed."

Appearing under his birth name David Griffin, the 68-year-old, also became annoyed when questioned by prosecutor Miranda Moore QC about claims he grabbed a female journalist's breasts after asking her to pose for suggestive photographs.

"I'm a professional in my photographic life. I'm a professional in my broadcasting life.

"I do not want to touch the breasts of anybody, let alone anybody who works for the press. That would be suicide.

"I have not been groping people for 40 years," he said.

Ms Moore said: "It's got you written all over it Mr Griffin. Because you've been doing it for years and getting away with it."

The defendant, known as DLT, replied: "I've not been doing it for years. I've not been getting away with it."

Travis, from Buckinghamshire, denies 13 indecent assaults and one sexual assault.

The charges relate to allegations from 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.

Ms Moore put it to Travis: "The way you have behaved over the last 40 years, since (the first victim) in 1973 through to (the final victim) in 2008, is that you had just done it and thought, 'I could do that, I'll get away with it'."

He replied: "I'm really genuinely astonished with that."

The defendant went on: "I've already been brought down, whatever happens in this case. It's affected me really badly."

Asked why the alleged victims would have invented their claims, Travis suggested there were "umpteen reasons", including that they had "dreamt" them.

"I'm trying to look at alternatives," Travis said.

He told jurors that if one of the victims had got confused by a dream, "I would call her an unfortunate person who's had some sort of a mental lapse in terms of not being able to tell the difference between reality and nonsense".

He also said Twitter and Facebook could be to blame for the women coming forward with similar stories.

"I'm saying that is one of many possibilities and you can't go through them all," Travis added.

Ms Moore said: "The other possibility, of course, is that they're telling the truth and you're telling lies."

Travis replied: "Absolutely, it's their word against mine. This is what this is all about."

Referring to claims by a journalist that he had a "sleazy" photograph of a celebrity on his wall, Travis told the court that he displays photographs he has taken of famous people in his home.

They included television hosts Bob Monkhouse, Graham Norton and Linda Lusardi, Pink Panther actor Burt Kwouk, model Nell McAndrew and Lord Lichfield.

He also said he took a photograph of singer Kim Wilde "in black leather attached to a policeman".

During re-examination by Stephen Vullo, for the defence, Travis was asked again about his comments that things were "different" in the 1970s and 1980s.

He repeated that his words had been taken out of context and he had not been referring to his alleged victims' claims.

He told jurors: "I was saying that it was different in those days and that people would go around in offices and they would pat a girl on the bottom or something like that.

"I'm not saying it's right to have done it then or now.

"Women had to put up with that and that was a shame and if they complained they'd be laughed at in a lot of cases."

After completing his evidence, which lasted a total of three days, Travis left his seat in the witness box.

Travis's former personal assistant Margaret Merritt told jurors he was a "kind gentleman who used to hug women".

"He was very tactile," she said. "But never ever in a sexual way."

Ms Merritt, who worked as his PA from 1974 to 1976, was asked by Mr Vullo if she ever saw him acting inappropriately.

"Never, never," she replied. "I didn't hear not one complaint about him. He was just always a fun person and people liked to be around him."

Ms Merritt, who said she was a backing singer in 1970s pop group Pickettywitch, told jurors she was "really upset" when the allegations against Travis emerged and called him straightaway.

She said she loved her job and the reason she stopped working for him was because she decided to go abroad after both her parents died.

"I was very proud to be working for him," she added.

Amanda Townley, Travis's personal assistant from 1978 to 1986, was asked by Mr Vullo if she was ever "made to feel uncomfortable" by the defendant.

She replied: "Never at all. He was like my big brother. It was a wonderful job and he was a lovely person.

"I have never had any feelings of any doubts or worries and I'm a fairly astute and inquiring type of person."

When questioned if she had ever seen Travis acting in an "inappropriate way" with a woman, she told jurors: "I wouldn't have turned up for work the next morning if I had.

"He could be tactile. He was warm and welcoming. I personally never felt uncomfortable.

"If I was ever upset or if I had a personal issue, he would give me a hug to say it will get better.

"I was not ever aware of anything inappropriate or excessive."

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Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Virgo:

Spending time on your own will be rewarding. You're an extremely conscientious person who is hyperaware of your surroundings. Sometimes this sensitivity can inhibit you from doing what you really want. You're afraid of offending people with your bold ideas. Instead of repressing your instincts, obey them. If you've developed a romantic interest in someone special, make your move. Playing the aggressor will boost your confidence. Keep your conversations light and playful.More