Travis: TOTP grope claims 'insane'

Messenger Newspapers: Dave Lee Travis has denied he is a "sexual predator" Dave Lee Travis has denied he is a "sexual predator"

Veteran DJ Dave Lee Travis has told a jury that claims he was filmed groping a young female fan while presenting Top Of The Pops are "insane".

The former BBC star is alleged to have put his hand up the teenager's skirt during a live edition of the show in 1978.

Travis, who is on trial at London's Southwark Crown Court accused of indecently assaulting 10 women and sexually assaulting another, denies all the offences against him.

Asked by Stephen Vullo, for the defence, if the claims relating to the chart show were true, Travis replied: "No, it's not. It's not even close.

"That is a completely insane claim, and it's especially insane because I've seen the video."

Travis, now 68, said he had no recollection of the supposed incident during the height of his fame.

Asked by Mr Vullo what the effect would have been on his career if he had done it, Travis said: "It would have killed it stone dead."

"If I had been caught doing that in the Top Of The Pops studio I should have thought the book would have been thrown at me and I would have been out of the BBC," he added.

Travis said that as the presenter he was the "lowest of the low" compared to the show's director and production team and there was no way that the footage would have been adapted by them so the alleged assault could not be seen by viewers.

"I would have no power whatsoever," he added.

Travis, from Buckinghamshire, denies 13 indecent assaults and one sexual assault, dating back to 1976 and the height of his career.

Appearing under his birth name David Griffin, the alleged offences occurred when he was working as a BBC DJ, as a broadcaster with Classic Gold radio, while appearing on Top Of The Pops and when starring in panto.

Travis, who chose to sit down to give his evidence, said he took his job seriously and that, even though working in showbusiness was fun, "it is a business nevertheless".

Wearing a maroon blazer, white shirt and patterned tie, he said he did not like being asked whether he had ever cheated on his wife, to whom he has been married since 1971.

But questioned further by Mr Vullo if he had ever "fallen into temptation", Travis admitted he had "once or twice".

"Of course, I'm human," he told the court.

"Consensual, if I might add."

Travis asked jurors to "think logically about it".

He went on: "If these women supposedly are chasing after me because I was the pop star of the day, the question would have to be, why would I go and assault somebody?

"I don't like the idea of assaulting women in any way, shape or form."

Asked about claims that he put his hand up a woman's skirt in front of the organiser of a Norwich Union event he was working at, Travis said he "should be committed somewhere" if that had happened because it would have been bad for business.

"And it didn't, by the way," he added.

The court heard that he was alleged to have indecently assaulted a woman who was working as a stage hand on a pantomime he featured in.

"This is what has been doing my head in about this case, it's the numbers," he told jurors.

"It's because there are quite a few complaints against me that this is any way important to people.

"I hate this idea that there is no smoke without fire.

"I can only say what I know and the way I feel about things.

"If I had sexually assaulted this girl in my dressing room, I would fully expect her to go and tell her boss and the boss would tell the person running the panto and that would immediately get me in big trouble."

He dismissed the idea that she would have decided not to complain because he was a celebrity.

"You are never too big in this industry, you can be knocked over very quickly and I don't believe in taking risks with my business and I certainly don't believe in attacking young girls," he said.

Asked about his relationship with the Chuckle Brothers, who also featured in the pantomime, he said that they were "all showbizzy friends".

"They were the comedy duo and I was the butt of all their jokes," he said.

Travis was asked about his interest in photography in relation to evidence heard about a picture he took of a female pop star in a bikini.

"I will not have them called sleazy," he said.

He was also questioned about allegations that he grabbed the breasts of a female journalist who came to interview him at his house after asking if she would pose for photographs.

Mr Vullo asked if they were true.

"No, of course not," he said.

"I'm not likely to get somebody to agree to do a photograph with me if I'm putting my hands all over them. It's just not the way it works."

He also denied claims heard yesterday that he groped another journalist.

"After this I will never have an interview with a female again without somebody else sitting there with me," he said.

"It just breaks my heart."

Travis was asked about allegations that he assaulted a teenager in his Radio 1 studio during a live broadcast but said he could not remember any such incident.

"This is just lies, out and out," he said.

"I don't have to recall that as it never happened."

Asked if he could have got away with such behaviour while working at the BBC, Travis said: "I keep saying this, Mr Vullo.

"Yes, my position was quite high up within the echelons of DJs but nobody is bigger than the station - ever."

The trial was adjourned until 10.30am tomorrow, when Travis will continue to be questioned.

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