Travis could face prison for groping TV celebrity

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FORMER Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis has been found guilty of groping a female TV personality.

The ex-Top of the Pops presenter was convicted by the jury at London’s Southwark Crown Court by a majority of ten to two yesterday.

Former radio and TV presenter Dave Lee Travis  arrives with his wife Marianne Griffin at Southwark Crown Court in central London. Picture: Getty

Former radio and TV presenter Dave Lee Travis arrives with his wife Marianne Griffin at Southwark Crown Court in central London. Picture: Getty

Travis, 69, was found guilty of indecent assault on the woman, who was working on The Mrs Merton Show in 1995.

He was cleared 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.

Travis faced a retrial after jurors failed to reach verdicts on those two charges earlier this year.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC warned the former radio star that he was looking at “all options” for sentencing.

Travis replied: “I understand. Thank you, your honour.”

A Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) spokesman said after the hearing that the maximum sentence he faces is ten years in prison.

Travis stared straight ahead with a stony expression and held his hands in front of him as the verdicts were read out.

He glanced over his shoulder to his wife Marianne, at the back of court, before sitting down.

Travis’s victim told the court during the trial that he got a “weird sexual thrill” as he indecently assaulted her.

She said Travis approached her in the corridor of a BBC television studio where she was smoking and commented on her “poor little lungs” before he squeezed her breasts.

The woman, who was in the production crew in Manchester, said the assault was “unbelievably weird” and Travis had an “intense stare”. She said she “froze” as she was pinned against the wall by Travis, before he let go of her breasts after ten-15 seconds.

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

She gave evidence without a screen, in view of Travis in the dock, and said she had spoken in public about the assault.

Comedian Dave Gorman, who was a writer on the show, said he remembered hearing about the incident and that it was “aggressive” and not a Carry On-style “playful” act.

Sentencing was adjourned until Friday morning.

Sophie Wood, defending, told the court that the “custodial threshold has not been met”, and said the judge could order Travis to carry out unpaid work as punishment.

Travis was cleared of 12 counts of indecent assault at his original trial in February.

He faced a retrial on two counts on which the jury was unable to reach verdicts.

He also denied the additional count of indecent assault, but was convicted over that charge yesterday.

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

During the trial, prosecutors claimed Travis was an “opportunist” who acted as if he had the “perfect right” to grope young women.

Giving evidence, the veteran DJ denied the claims, telling jurors the women had been lying.

Yesterday Mark Castle, chief executive of Victim Support, said: “Today’s conviction is a vindication for all victims of indecent assault who were attacked by someone so famous that they feared they would never get justice. We hope this verdict will encourage anyone who has been a victim of this crime to seek help.”

Profile: Broadcasting superstar known worldwide

Dave Lee Travis, was one of the biggest stars of the British airwaves in the 1970s and 80s.

Travis, real name David Patrick Griffen, spent 25 years on BBC Radio 1, including two as the host of the Breakfast Show.

He appeared numerous times on TV programmes such as Top of the Pops, making him a household name.

He started his career as a nightclub DJ in Manchester in the early 1960s before joining pirate station Radio Caroline.

One of many pirate DJs to be recruited by the BBC, Travis joined the new pop music station Radio 1 shortly after its launch in 1967 and became the third Radio 1 Breakfast Show host when he took over from Noel Edmonds in 1978.

The disc jockey, who gave himself the nickname The Hairy Cornflake, also became known for his wacky sound effects, including his trademark “quack quack oops”, and games such as snooker on the radio. He was a regular host of Top of the Pops in the 1970s and 80s and is one of the few presenters to have also sung on the show. His 1976 novelty hit Convoy GB, released under the name Laurie Lingo and the Dipsticks, reached number four in the charts.

He resigned from Radio 1 live on air in 1993 – “Changes are being made here which go against my principles,” he declared.

Travis was known to millions worldwide through his music request programme A Jolly Good Show on the BBC World Service. He first hosted the show in 1981 and remained until 2001.

After Radio 1, Travis went on to host shows on stations including Classic Gold, Magic AM, BBC Three Counties Radio and Spain’s Spectrum FM.

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