Court hears Dave Lee Travis assaulted girls on air

2014-01-14 20:11
Former radio presenter Dave Lee Travis arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London. (Carl Court, AFP)

Former radio presenter Dave Lee Travis arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London. (Carl Court, AFP)

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London - Veteran British presenter Dave Lee Travis sexually assaulted young women while live on television and in his radio studio, prosecutors told his trial on Tuesday.

The 68-year-old former BBC star, one of the biggest names in British broadcasting during the 1970s and 1980s, denies assaulting 11 women, one of whom was underage at the time of the alleged crime.

The jury at London's Southwark Crown Court was shown footage of Travis allegedly putting his hand up a young woman's skirt as he introduced a song by The Smurfs on the TV show Top of the Pops in 1978.

Prosecutor Miranda Moore said Travis, who appeared in court under his real name David Patrick Griffin, was an "opportunist" who had targeted "young women who were very vulnerable".

Travis spent 25 years presenting on BBC Radio 1, and also hosted a music request show on the BBC World Service, a favourite of Myanmar's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi who was at the time being held under house arrest.

The youngest of his alleged victims says she was 15 when he attacked her - below the age of sexual consent in Britain, which is 16.

She claims Travis groped her breasts and pinned her to her seat while in his trailer at a concert by the pop group Showaddywaddy in 1978.

"In her words, she thought he was going to rape her," Moore told the jury.

Moore said another alleged victim was forced to flee a studio after Travis pressed his groin against her and put his hand into her underwear.

"She told him to stop and he grabbed her and put the red light on," Moore said - signalling the studio was broadcasting live and nobody should enter.

Another accuser said she was groped by Travis while working at a theatre where he was performing as the "evil wizard" in the pantomime Aladdin in late 1990 or early 1991, the court heard.

The jury was told that Travis pulled his hand out of her trousers when he heard a member of the comedy duo the Chuckle Brothers, who were also performing in the pantomime, walking past.

Travis is accused of 13 counts of indecent assault between 1976 and 2003, and one count of sexual assault in 2008.

Wearing a brown jacket, black shirt and chequered tie, he listened from the dock as the charges were read to the jury.

He is one of several ageing celebrities in Britain arrested under Operation Yewtree, the police operation set up in the wake of revelations that late BBC star Jimmy Savile was a prolific sex offender.

The charges against Travis are not connected to his former colleague.

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