Leslie hits out at Ulrika silence

JOHN LESLIE has hit out at Ulrika Jonsson on live television for staying silent over the sex abuse allegations that he claims ruined his life.

In an interview with Richard and Judy on Channel 4 last night the former This Morning presenter also revealed he had dropped plans to sue Channel Five host Matthew Wright and appeared to confirm a split from the girlfriend Abi Titmuss.

It was his first live television interview since sex charges levelled against him were dropped.

The Edinburgh-born TV host said that he had pleaded with Ms Jonsson, a former girlfriend, to speak publicly on the issue, but she had ignored him.

Asked whether he hated Ms Jonsson, he replied: "Hate’s a very strong word. I was very angry at the time. I’m more upset now because she stood by and let it all happen, and we pleaded with her to either come out and say it was me so I could defend myself or say it wasn’t. It was a throwaway comment in a book that she knew would make money.

"She found herself in a situation where she couldn’t say if it was me or not because if she had said it wasn’t me, people would then have asked, ‘Well, who was it?’."

The former Blue Peter presenter said he would not sue Channel Five presenter Matthew Wright, who named him, linking him to Ukrika.

In a Sky One show - John Leslie: My Year of Hell, to be screened tomorrow night - Mr Wright offers John Leslie an apology.

Mr Wright claims he cannot remember blurting out John Leslie’s name during his show The Wright Stuff last October. Mr Leslie said: "I think he just made a really big mistake and unfortunately I was the one paying the price."

And the 38-year old appeared to confirm a split between him and nurse girlfriend Abi Titmuss.

The 27-year-old stood by Mr Leslie throughout his ordeal, but it seems the relationship has now ended. Ms Titmuss is believed to have moved out of Mr Leslie’s London home and last week the pair were pictured apparently rowing outside her flat.

Judy Finnigan asked him whether the pair would remain friends. He said: "We will be friends for life."

During the interview Mr Leslie admitted being a "lad about town" in the past but denied ever acting inappropriately, saying: "I treat women with respect.

"My mother’s brought me up to respect everybody. Never have I acted inappropriately to women. I treat women with respect.

"I wouldn’t have the friends I have and I wouldn’t be comfortable being the type of person who routinely went around abusing women - and I wouldn’t be able to do it with the media that we have in this country," he said. And he told host Richard Madeley: "I don’t know what rough sex is. These women could never have claimed I enjoyed rough sex."

Mr Leslie, who is a former James Gillespie’s High School pupil, had faced charges of attacking the same woman twice between 25 and 28 May 1997.

But he was sacked from his 250,000 a year job on ITV show This Morning last October after a Sunday newspaper published a picture of him snorting cocaine.

He said taking the Class A drug - and being photographed doing so - was his biggest regret because of "the embarrassment and the shame it heaped on my family".

And he admitted to making a "major mistake". "It’s the one thing that I admit to and I was so stupid," he said. But he added: "It wasn’t part of my life and since then it’s stopped completely. But that was my biggest lesson and the most hurtful thing for me."

In a documentary to be broadcast tomorrow on Sky One at 9.30pm he will admit to using the drug on a number of occasions.

Mr Leslie’s parents Leslie Stott, a salesman, and Lexia, a social worker, both still live in the city.