Belfast Telegraph

DLT: Savile abuse 'worst crime'

Dave Lee Travis has told a jury that he would have reported Jimmy Savile to police if he had known that the TV star was a paedophile, saying: "It is the worst crime in the world."

The veteran DJ told London's Southwark Crown Court that although "people automatically assume" he must have got on with Savile because they were both in showbusiness, they never really had a conversation.

Travis, who is on trial accused of indecently assaulting 10 women and sexually assaulting another, said he did not know where Savile lived or have his phone number.

Answering questions from Stephen Vullo, for the defence, he said: "I, like other people, did think 'he seems to like young girls'. He was always surrounded by girls and by that I mean girls of 16, 17, 18.

"But I don't think that anyone knew what was going on as far as him being a paedophile.

"In all honesty, if I had known that Jimmy Savile was a paedophile I would have been the first to get him arrested because it is the worst crime in the world as far as I am concerned."

Travis, who appeared under his birth name David Griffin, told the jury about his time as a rising star radio DJ in the 1960s and how he took over the BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show in 1978.

He said that at its peak the show had 15 million listeners and he explained how he had gone on to present Top of the Pops on television for "100 to 150 shows".

He compared the nerves he had felt presenting the Eurovision song contest to those he felt giving evidence in his trial.

The 68-year-old, from Buckinghamshire, denies 13 indecent assaults and one sexual assault, dating back to 1976 and the height of his fame.

The alleged offences occurred 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.

Travis said before his arrest in November 2012 he had never been arrested for anything. Travis also said he had no police cautions or convictions.

"I must have had a speeding offence somewhere in my life," he said. "I have not been arrested for anything or cautioned for anything."

Speaking about what it was like to work at Radio 1 in the late 60s and early 70s he said: "It was the golden years on Radio 1, I think it was true to say at that particular station, as opposed to Radios 2,3 and 4.

"We had so much fun. Everyone was popping in and seeing other people in that office we were talking about this and that.. It was a really fun atmosphere."

Asked by his defence barrister Stephen Vullo if pranks played at Radio 1 were "part of the fun" Travis responded "oh yes, yes,yes."

He recalled a time when he was setting a needle on a record when David Hamilton had walked in. "He said 'hi' he said 'I don't like this record and he lifted the needle. Oh my heart jumped," Travis told the jury.

"From what I recall he had arranged it with an engineer to be playing a tape of the record at exactly the same time to freak me out."

Travis described claims that he was a sexual predator as "nonsensical" but admitted he was "tactile".

"I don't do that, if I like someone I will hug them and give them a kiss because the whole world needs that," he said.

"Perhaps hugging is something which can be misconstrued by some people or if people are looking for an excuse they can say 'he touched us'. I did hug a lot girls.

"I do not have a predatory nature with women, I have a cuddly nature.

"Maybe that's what this is all about, but I am not predatory.

"If I really like somebody I will put my arm around them and I might give them a peck on the cheek, I even do that with men, to make them feel comfortable and welcome to the place.

"But nowadays you are not allowed to do that, put your arms around people and hug them."

He said that "air kisses" were part of showbusiness, but denied that he considered it his right to touch people because he was famous or even that he was that big a star

"There are no unimportant people," Travis said. "I would never, never treat anybody as if they were under me or less than me.

"In my career I have met princesses, I have met the Queen, I have met the dustman - they are all the same to me. I just like people."


From Belfast Telegraph