Belfast Telegraph

Travis accuser 'surprised' at BBC

An alleged victim of veteran DJ Dave Lee Travis has told a court that when she worked at the BBC in the mid-1970s "it was common practice to have tongues down your throat, tongues in your ear, bums being squeezed".

The woman, who alleges that Travis pinned her up against a wall while presenting his Radio 1 show and put his hand inside her knickers, said that as she became more mature she learned how to deal with the unwanted attention.

The woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told London's Southwark Crown Court she was 17 when she started working at the BBC's Broadcasting House.

She told jurors: "During that time I just got on with it. You had to get on with it. There wasn't anybody to talk to about it.

"The more time I spent at the BBC the more I realised it was common practice to have tongues down your throat, tongues in your ear, bums being squeezed.

"Even when I was in (another department at the BBC) it was like that but I was a bit more forewarned and a bit more forearmed and a bit more mature."

Earlier the woman said she did not tell anyone at the time of the alleged assault by Travis, now 68, as she thought no one would believe her but tried to complain to the BBC after allegations about Jimmy Savile were publicised.

She told jurors: "They said we are not taking calls of this nature so I felt like the BBC had slammed the door in my face. I was surprised."

Giving evidence from behind a screen, the woman told the court that Travis had invited her into his empty studio while a song was playing.

She said he turned the lights off before holding her close to him in a slow dance and became aroused before assaulting her.

Travis, who denies 13 counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault, gave a loud sigh from the dock as the woman described how he "caught my eye" as she stood outside the door and asked if she wanted to choose the next track on his drivetime show.

The alleged victim, who said she had a clerical role at the corporation, said she had been "star struck" by Travis when she had seen him in the studios previously and he had twice given her a lift in his car, which he described as "my big yellow banana".

She told jurors that after turning the lights out so that the technical operator in the adjoining studio could not see, he played a "smoochy song" on the national radio station and put his arms out for her to dance with him.

The woman, who recalled he smelled of cigars and the feel of his woolly jumper against her skin, said she felt "confused" as Travis held her close as they danced.

"I was struck dumb a bit, I just didn't expect it," she said. "I wasn't sure what to do."

She said she then became aware that Travis had an erection but she did not realise at first what it was.

"He'd been pressing himself against me and I was horrified," she said. "I didn't actually know what it was, it seems stupid but I was still a virgin.

"Then within seconds I just worked it out and I was horrified and I pulled away."

The woman said that because the studio's red light then came on she felt "trapped" as it meant they were live on air.

She told jurors that Travis then pushed her up against the wall and "put his hand up my skirt and fingers right inside my knickers".

But the alleged victim said she realised she could reach the handle of the door from where she was and made her escape.

She said she saw a technical operator for the show in the adjoining room and told him "You won't believe what he's just done".

The woman said the man replied: "I thought you were a bit brave going in there."

She said that because of his reaction and because she thought people might not believe her, she "didn't tell a soul" about what had happened.

"These DJs were big, big stars," she told jurors.

"They were like pop stars. There would be crowds of people hanging around outside the building to see them.

"They were like demi-gods."

Jurors were told that the woman is taking legal action against the BBC.

The witness, who referred to the defendant as DLT, earlier said she called the director general's office at the BBC to complain about Travis after the Savile allegations came out.

She said that after being told they were not dealing with such calls, she went to police and was also interviewed by the Daily Mail.

Of the BBC, she said: "To this day I haven't had so much as an acknowledgement, so much as an apology."

During cross-examination the woman was asked by Stephen Vullo, defending Travis, what she said to his suggestion that her claims were an "absolute pack of lies".

She told jurors: "I would say that you're just doing your job and I'm absolutely not."

Asked about her own criminal convictions for an assault on her former business partner, the woman said she had pleaded guilty but had been going though a mental health breakdown at the time.

"I was struggling big time with life in general," she said.

Mr Vullo suggested the witness had come forward with the claims about Travis for her own financial gain because of her money worries.

"I certainly did not," she said.

Travis, 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.

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

The trial was adjourned until 9.30am tomorrow.


From Belfast Telegraph