Thursday 25 December 2014

Travis rails at 'year of living hell' after not-guilty verdict

Jennifer Cockerell and Alex Diaz

Published 14/02/2014 | 02:30

Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis leaves court in London. Reuters
Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis leaves court in London. Reuters
Former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis in court

"A YEAR and a half of hell" was the reaction from British DJ Dave Lee Travis after being found not guilty of 12 charges of indecent assault.

The court failed to reach verdicts on two other charges and they were discharged, meaning there will be a further hearing on February 24 to decide whether to have a retrial on them.

Speaking outside the court, Travis (68) said the case had cost him his reputation along with so much money that he has had to sell his house.

Flanked by Marianne, his wife of more than 40 years, Travis said: "I don't feel like there is a victory in any way, shape or form.

"On the contrary, I think you already know that I have been through a year and a half of hell on this which included costing me so much money to pay out for my part of this trial."

He added that he felt he had been through two trials – one by media and one in the courtroom.

Travis showed no reaction as the verdicts were read out, looking straight ahead and listening with the aid of headphones, as he had done during the four weeks of evidence.

The jury of eight women and four men deliberated for more than 20 hours after a trial in which the former 'Top Of The Pops' presenter was accused of indecently assaulting 10 women and sexually assaulting another in alleged incidents dating to 1976 when he was at the height of his fame.

Prosecutors alleged that Travis was an "opportunist" who assaulted "vulnerable" young women while working at the BBC and commercial radio.

Yesterday's verdicts came a week after 'Coronation Street' star William Roache was cleared of a string of sex offences, prompting claims that he had been the victim of a "celebrity witchhunt" in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.

Travis, from Buckinghamshire, was arrested under Scotland Yard's Operation Yewtree, which was prompted by abuse allegations involving the late Savile.

WITCHHUNT

Outside court, Travis declined to answer questions from reporters about whether he felt he had been the victim of a witchhunt, while Detective Chief Superintendent Keith Niven, who is leading Operation Yewtree, also refused to answer the same question.

Travis was found not guilty of indecently assaulting nine women, but jurors failed to reach verdicts on the alleged indecent assault of a woman working on the pantomime 'Aladdin' in the early 1990s along with an alleged sexual assault on a journalist who interviewed him at his home in 2008.

Giving his own evidence, Travis – on trial under his birth name David Griffin – told jurors that he was not a "sexual predator" and the claims against him were "nonsensical".

"I do not have a predatory nature with women, I have a cuddly nature. Maybe that's what this is all about, but I am not predatory," he said.

Travis also said he would have reported Savile to police if he had known the television star was a paedophile, but denied the two had ever been close.

The defendant was supported by a host of defence witnesses during the case, including Chuckle Brothers Barry and Paul Elliott, Patricia 'Dee Dee' Wilde of 'Top Of The Pops' dance troupe Pan's People, and former colleagues at the BBC and elsewhere.

His wife had been in court to support him since the jury retired to consider its verdicts on Monday. She did not attend the rest of the trial, with Travis telling jurors he did not want her to give evidence as she has "suffered enough nonsense".

Mr Niven said outside court: "The Metropolitan Police take all allegations of sexual abuse very seriously. We fully investigate every case and once sufficient evidence is obtained investigators work with CPS lawyers and a decision whether to charge is made.

"In the case of Mr Griffin, the prosecution was brought, he was tried and the jury reached their decision.

"We encourage victims to come forward and pledge our commitment to support anyone who has been subjected to sexual abuse.

"We continue to work closely with our partners and dedicate resources to investigate crimes of this nature."

Press Association

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