Dave Lee Travis alleged assault was ‘aggressive’

Comedian Dave Gorman has told a court that colleagues on the Mrs Merton Show believed an alleged assault by veteran DJ Dave Lee Travis on a female television personality was “aggressive” and not a Carry On-style “playful” act.

Comedian Dave Gorman leaves Southwark Crown Court in London after giving evidence. Picture: PA
Comedian Dave Gorman leaves Southwark Crown Court in London after giving evidence. Picture: PA

He said the former Radio 1 star had appeared as a guest on the comedy chat show in the mid-1990s when he heard later that Travis had “grabbed” the woman’s breasts in the corridor of the BBC television studio.

The alleged victim, who was working as a part of the production crew at the time, told the court yesterday Travis got a “weird sexual thrill” as he squeezed her breasts and the former Tops Of The Pops presenter had an “intense” stare during the incident.

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Gorman, who was a writer on the Mrs Merton Show show, told Travis’s retrial at Southwark Crown Court in London: “I was told that as (the woman) was escorting Mr Travis back to his dressing room, he at some point....grabbed her t***.

“My recollection was everyone in the team would have known. This was office gossip to some extent.

“My feeling was, if you think back to that time, the idea we’d call the police and say ‘Dave Lee Travis grabbed (the woman’s) t***’, wouldn’t have gone anywhere.

“He had been and gone.

“I recall discussions and questions about whether it had been a sort of ‘Carry On film wahey’, which might be playful albeit ill-judged, or whether it was aggressive.

“My recollection was it was aggressive.”

The female TV personality, who was in her 20s at the time of the alleged assault, claimed Travis approached her while she was smoking and commented on her “poor little lungs”, before he squeezed her breasts.

She told the court she “froze” as she was pinned against the wall by the DJ before he let go of her breasts after 10-15 seconds.

Wearing a checked shirt, jeans and trainers, Gorman told the jury he could not recall who told him about the alleged assault but it was a day or two after it was said to have happened.

He said the alleged assault “was never at the front of his mind” over the years but it was not something he had “completely forgotten”.

Travis, 69, who is charged under his real name David Griffin, denies two counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault.

He is facing a retrial on two counts - one of indecent assault of a woman between November 1 1990 and January 31 1991, and another of sexual assault on a different woman between June 1 2008 and November 30 2008 - on which a jury was unable to reach verdicts at a trial earlier this year.

Travis, of Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, has also pleaded not guilty to an additional count of indecent assault alleged to have taken place on January 17 1995.

In a police interview read to the court, the DJ said the allegation he grabbed a female TV personality’s breasts at a BBC studio was “totally untrue”.

“I would have been crazy to grope a woman in a corridor,” he said. “I absolutely, categorically did not grab her breasts.”

Travis told police he did not remember the alleged victim but it was “possible” he had urged her not to smoke and could have accidentally touched her body.

“I like to get on with people,” he said. “I don’t like to leave people with a sour taste in their mouth. I suspect grabbing someone’s breasts for 15 seconds would leave a sour taste in their mouth.

“What would this be saying to her, ‘Your breasts are going to fall off if you smoke?’”

He added: “There has to be a realisation people can just jump on the bandwagon and have a crack at someone.

“Anyone could call and say DLT grabbed my a***. It’s just too easy.

“I don’t understand why I’m being vilified.

“I remember the days people used to touch people and you would kick them in the balls. You didn’t take them to bloody court.”

Asked about an allegation he pinned a woman against a wall and put his hand between her legs at a venue in the Isle of Man during the 1980s, Travis told police: “Pinning against a wall constitutes a nasty attack. It’s a very serious attack and I can assure you it did not happen.”

He added: “I have respect for people beneath me.

“I have stood on a street corner and had a good old conversation with a dust bin man. I have spoken to the Queen.

“I’m not going to sit there and just jam her against the wall. Why would I need to do that? It did not happen.”

Travis’s defence barrister Stephen Vullo told the jury there were “very troubling things” about the case against his client, after detective sergeant Gary Pankhurst from Operation Yewtree revealed “thousands” of police hours had been spent on the investigation.

Cross-examing the officer in the witness box, Mr Vullo said there was “evidence” an alleged victim, who claimed she was assaulted by Travis at a panto, had been “tipped off” by police that the Chuckle Brothers could not remember the incident during an off-the-record conversation.

The woman, who initially said she had seen the comedy duo during Travis’s alleged assault, later changed her evidence to say she only heard them walking past, the barrister said.

The alleged victim had also contacted a legal firm which specialises in compensation for sex abuse victims, he added.

Mr Vullo said some witness statements had been disclosed to the defence team just days before Travis’s retrial was due to start.

The court heard Travis had sold his home to pay for his own private investigators ahead of the trial.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.