Tuesday 6 December 2016

DJ Neil Fox tells court in sex assault trial: 'I made saucy comments but never had a sex complaint against me'

Jamie McKinnell

Published 02/12/2015 | 12:18

DJ Neil Fox arriving at Westminster Magistrates Court in London with his wife Vicky Fox
DJ Neil Fox arriving at Westminster Magistrates Court in London with his wife Vicky Fox
DJ Neil Fox arriving at Westminster Magistrates Court in London

Neil Fox had never been the subject of complaints during his 29-year broadcasting career until 2014 despite at-times "saucy, cheeky, over-the-top" banter with colleagues, the DJ has told a court.

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The 54-year-old, of Fulham, south-west London, entered the witness box at Westminster Magistrates' Court today to begin his defence against eight counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault between 1988 and 2014.

DJ Neil Fox arriving at Westminster Magistrates Court in London
DJ Neil Fox arriving at Westminster Magistrates Court in London

Fox, who denies the charges, was arrested minutes after coming off air at Magic FM in September last year.

He told the court he worked with "hundreds" of female colleagues over his career, during which he had been broadcasting almost continuously on different stations, including Capital FM, for 29 years until his arrest.

He had never been the subject of a complaint regarding sexually inappropriate behaviour until last year, he said.

Under questioning from his defence counsel, Jonathan Caplan QC, Fox described the methods radio teams used to keep the energy up before and during breakfast broadcasts. This included loud music, dancing, running around the office and creating makeshift obstacle courses.

He said: "It sounds daft, but it was the way we, I, got myself going, and the team would join in very much as well. They would be part of that."

Fox said his entire shifts, not just the on-air periods, constituted a "full performance" and his colleagues would often make playful comments to one another.

Mr Caplan asked: "Could those comments become edgy or sexual?"

Fox replied: "Of course they could. Like any office. Some of it could be saucy, cheeky, over the top."

The DJ said there was also "horseplay", which involved "piggybacks, tickling and squeezing". But he insisted he would never have engaged in such conduct if it was not consensual, "otherwise it would create a bad atmosphere in the studio".

Asked whether the culture of radio had changed over the past 25 years, he said: "I think the workplace in general, it's changed, hasn't it? Laws have changed. HR has changed. Political correctness has changed."

He added: "But I don't think my behaviour has changed. I'm the same guy now, with the same morals, as I was then."

Regarding specific allegations by a former colleague that he once squeezed her breasts from behind, he said: "That would be wholly wrong, totally disrespectful, and it's not something I would do."

The complainant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has also claimed Fox once pushed her over and simulated a sex act.

He admitted many people in his then-workplace playfully pretended to have been caught in compromising positions.

Fox said: "There was a lot of Carry On-style Benny Hill humour in that ... building.

"It does sound daft in the cold light of a December day.

"I have no recollection of doing that with (her)."

The trial began on November 6 but resumed yesterday after a break of nearly three weeks.

Fox denied specific allegations by two other women that he kissed them inappropriately at fan meetings in 1991 and 1996.

He said if a young fan asked him for a kiss, he would respond with "a social kiss" on the cheek.

Mr Caplan asked: "Was it your practice, if a fan asked for a kiss, to kiss her by inserting your tongue into her mouth?"

Fox replied: "No."

The DJ said he would have met "thousands" of female fans over the years and most of the time there was security present.

He also denied an allegation by a former colleague that he had simulated a sex act after falling on top of her on a couch and tickling her.

He said it was well known that the woman was ticklish.

Mr Caplan asked: "Did you feel you had a consent to engage in that level of behaviour?"

Fox replied: "Yes, she had tickled me before."

He added: "It was not a big deal, I didn't think."

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