Friday 17 November 2017

Accused DJ Dave Lee Travis 'thought it was a prank'

A radio announcer who was allegedly assaulted by DJ Dave Lee Travis while on air believed senior managers at the BBC would have told her to "live with it" had she complained.

The woman, who cannot be named, said she was in a "panic" when Travis grabbed her breasts as she introduced Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4 in the early 1980s.

She told jurors at Southwark Crown Court she did not tell bosses about the alleged incident "due to the climate at the time" and because Travis was "a big star" at Radio 1.

Another alleged victim said senior managers at a local radio station Travis later worked at "were 100pc aware" of complaints about him from female staff.

Giving evidence behind a curtain, the first witness, the former BBC Radio 4 announcer, said she was assaulted by Travis after he walked into the studio she was in as she was about to go on air.

The woman, who was in her 20s at the time, said the veteran DJ sat down behind her as she read out the time, when she felt him standing behind her.

"His hands came round under my arm pits and he put one hand on each breast," she said.

"He started to move my breasts up and down."

The woman told the court Travis held her breasts throughout her announcement which lasted about 10 seconds.

Asked by prosecutor Miranda Moore QC how she felt at the time, she replied: "Well I imagine there was a feeling of sort of panic.

"Radio 4 is a very serious network. I was making a serious announcement. I was just frightened I was going to mess up the announcement."

The alleged victim said Travis sat down after the incident "as if nothing had happened".

She said due to "the climate at the time", she believed she would be told "to live with it" had she reported the incident to management.

"I believe he (Travis) thought it was a prank," she said. "I don't believe I saw it as sexual at the time."

Dressed in a dark green blazer, white shirt and tie, Travis listened to the proceedings in the dock today with the aid of headphones.

The 68-year-old, from Buckinghamshire, is charged with 13 counts of indecent assault dating back to between 1976 and 2003, and one count of sexual assault in 2008.

He is accused of assaulting 11 women, one of whom was 15 at the time of the alleged crime.

He denies all the charges.

The first witness told the court she had decided not to raise a complaint with senior managers due to the esteem in which Travis was held.

"I was on probation as an announcer," the woman said.

"There was no way I was going to start telling off this big star of Radio 1.

"If I had gone to the management, I imagine it would have been 'so what?! You're a big girl, deal with it'."

Having only recently started with the broadcaster, the woman said she was worried that a complaint would seem like "this woman can't take a joke... (she) has no sense of humour".

The witness said she had often recalled the Travis anecdote when taking part in conferences some years later, so as to warn women about the potential sexism they might face from colleagues in the media.

During cross-examination, Stephen Vullo, defending Travis, said his client denied any knowledge of the incident.

Interfering with a Radio 4 announcement would have had "serious consequences" and would have prompted an inquiry, he said.

Asked why the studio manager allowed Travis into the studio, the woman replied: "There was not a question of allowing him into the studio. There was no lock.

"If anybody just opened the door and walked through, what is he going to do? Going to stand up and confront a 6ft man? I don't think the studio manager would be in a position to report somebody of Dave Lee Travis's stature at the time.

"Had I had the courage to go to management who knows whether I would have been the one in trouble, the studio manager or Mr Travis."

She told the jury that other Radio 1 DJs, including the late John Peel, would also enter the studio during Radio 4 announcements but it was never reported to management.

A second alleged victim, who worked on Chiltern Radio for four years at the turn of the millennium, said women "kept their heads down" whenever Travis entered their office.

The woman, who was in her 20s at the time of the alleged offending, recalled three specific incidents where Travis is alleged to have abused her.

She spoke of how he would fondle her breasts and thighs, move his face very close to hers, and would wear an "old" cologne which "was the first thing you noticed when you entered the building".

She said she was assaulted on her first day working in the same building as the defendant, when they were introduced and he hugged her tightly and touched her, the court heard.

"I was frozen," she said.

"I was shocked and in denial."

Travis raised his eyebrows and sighed as the woman gave her evidence.

The woman said she knew when Travis was nearby because of his "strong, pungent aftershave".

"It was incredibly strong and you could smell it throughout the building," she said.

"It was Jazz or Fahrenheit. Something fairly old. As soon as I smelt that, before I could even look around, his hands were on my shoulders."

The woman said she repeatedly questioned why she did not complain to Travis when he allegedly touched her breast while reaching for a pen in a second incident.

But she finally "snapped" after Travis allegedly approached and assaulted her while she was perched on a desk.

The witness said: "He walked straight towards me. I knew what was coming, I didn't have a chance to move.

"His face was inches - even less than that - from mine.

"He had both hands on my thighs and began rubbing my thighs.

"He pushed the skirt up. I could feel his fingers against my knicker elastic - at which point he tried to get his fingers under.

"At that point I absolutely snapped. I couldn't take it any more."

She said a manager had to pull the pair apart after she kicked off, but that Travis had become very aggressive when she shouted out that he was a pervert.

The witness said senior managers "were aware" of Travis's behaviour, and that the latest incident prompted him to be banned from the office where the complainant was working.

She said: "My boss was aware of it. I had gone to him and management in the past and said that this was happening to all the women in (the office).

"He was 100pc aware."

She told the court that she decided to speak up years later because she wanted her daughter to know how to fight against sexism.

The witness said: "This has to be stopped for every woman."

Jurors were yesterday told that Travis was an "opportunist" who assaulted "vulnerable" young woman.

Travis, whose real name is David Patrick Griffin, allegedly assaulted women at various locations including at a Showaddywaddy concert when the alleged victim, who was 15, feared she was going to be raped.

In one incident, the court heard he "touched the bum" of a 19-year-old woman during a recording of Top of the Pops.

In another incident, Travis allegedly assaulted a woman working in the pantomime Aladdin in which he was appearing in Crawley, West Sussex, between November 1990 and January 1991, the court heard.

Press Association

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