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DJ Travis 'mortified' by conviction

Disgraced DJ Dave Lee Travis said today he was "mortified" and "really disappointed" by his indecent assault conviction as he again criticised prosecutors for portraying him as a sexual predator.

The former Radio 1 star walked free from court despite being found guilty of groping a young researcher behind the scenes at The Mrs Merton Show.

He was sentenced to three months in prison suspended for two years by judge Anthony Leonard QC at London's Southwark Crown Court.

Outside court, Travis, 69, said: "Whilst I'm relieved I've been able to prove I'm not a sexual predator, I'm mortified and I'm really disappointed that I was convicted of one count."

He added: "It's of little comfort to me that I was acquitted of so many others."

He said that two years ago he was accused out of the blue of being a sexual predator.

"Never before that date had anyone ever suggested to me that I'd committed a crime whatsoever.

"With millions of pounds of tax payers' money, thousands of hours of police resources, the judge accepted today that the Crown had failed to prove their case against me - namely, that I was a sexual predator.

"I've always been worried, as have my close family and friends, that if the prosecution threw enough mud at me, some of it might stick."

He went on: "Those closest to me, including my wife Marianne, have been by my side all the time.

"We all know the truth and I'm grateful for that."

His trial heard that the former Top Of The Pops presenter got a "weird sexual thrill" when he indecently assaulted the woman, who is now a successful TV personality, in 1995.

He cornered the woman in the corridor of a BBC television studio where she was smoking, and commented on her "poor little lungs" before squeezing her breasts for 10 to 15 seconds

Travis, who became a household name in the 1970s, was found not guilty on a second indecent assault charge and the jury was discharged after it was unable to agree a verdict on a count of sexual assault.

He faced a retrial after jurors failed to reach verdicts on those two charges earlier this year. He was cleared of 12 counts of indecent assault at his original trial in February.

Travis, of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, was first arrested in October 2012 under Operation Yewtree, Scotland Yard's investigation into historic sexual abuse in the wake of allegations against the late DJ Jimmy Savile.

Judge Leonard said the offence was of a "different order of magnitude" to other more serious convictions under Operation Yewtree.

He said Travis "towered" over his diminutive victim, and thought he could get away with the attack because he was a TV star.

The judge told him: "It was an intentional and unpleasant sexual assault.

"You took advantage of a young woman in a vulnerable position whose job it was to look after you that day.

"She was subjected to an unprovoked and terrifying assault and considers herself lucky to be psychologically robust enough to deal with the distress, supported by family and friends."

He said he judged that Travis believed "she would not make a fuss about what you did to her", which he was right about.

"She made no complaint until she heard you describe the witnesses in your previous trial as 'liars'. That encouraged her to come forward."

During the trial, Travis's victim told the court that the DJ had an "intense stare" as he groped her and the incident was "unbelievably weird".

She said she "froze" as she was pinned against the wall.

The victim said she reported the incident - which she described as a "squeezing grope" - to a senior producer.

She told the court: "I said 'Oh my God, Dave Lee Travis just touched my tits'.

"It was absolutely the weirdest thing that happened in my life."

The woman, who was in her early 20s when she was assaulted, said she did not make an official complaint or contact police at the time because she was young and did not want to make a "fuss".

She said a colleague later told her that Travis was known as an "octopus" because "he's got hands that go everywhere".

Comedian Dave Gorman, who was a writer on The Mrs Merton Show, said he remembered hearing about the incident and that it was "aggressive" and not a Carry On-style "playful" act.

"My recollection was everyone in the team would have known," he said. "This was office gossip to some extent."

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