Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Ex face of Slimfast ‘took indecent images of girls’

TV dieting personality and radio DJ Barry Bethell told a court he was “disgusted” with himself after he took indecent images of young girls.

Bethell, who became famous as the face of SlimFast in the early 1990s, told jurors at his trial the photographs were intended to be promotional pictures to be given to child modelling agencies.

However, “it became voyeuristic”, he said.

The photographs of young girls in a series of erotic poses were found at his home in Whitstable, Kent, after he was arrested in February last year.

The 66-year-old appeared for the third day of his trial at Canterbury Crown Court, where he is accused of two counts of sexual assault against girls under the age of 13 between October 2004 and February 2008.

He is also charged with one count of downloading indecent images of a child between January 2001 and February last year. He denies all the charges.

Jurors have heard Bethell has pleaded guilty to eight other charges, which include downloading indecent images of children and taking indecent images of children.

Giving evidence yesterday, Bethell denied allegations that he had sexually assaulted the two young girls who visited his home, and said although he sometimes touched them, he never did so in a sexual way.

The girls, who cannot be named for legal reasons, went to his bungalow offering to carry out odd jobs, he said, which he let them do in exchange for small amounts of money with the consent of their parents.

He told jurors that as a tactile person, he would often greet the girls with hugs and kisses, but described them as nothing more than “pecks”.

He also denied buying the girls gifts, such as an iPod and a laptop computer, to bribe them to keep quiet.

The trial was adjourned to Tuesday.

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