Dave Lee Travis described as 'opportunist' sex offender

Dave Lee Travis leaves Southwark Crown Court

Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis was an "opportunist" sex offender who targeted "vulnerable" young women, a London court has been told.

Mr Travis allegedly assaulted 11 victims, at places including the BBC and pantomimes, between 1976 and 2008.

One woman, aged 19, had been "assaulted live on Top of the Pops" in 1978, prosecutor Miranda Moore QC said.

Mr Travis, 68, whose real name is David Griffin, denies 13 counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault.

The DJ hosted the Radio 1 Breakfast show from 1978 to 1980 and was a regular host of Top of the Pops in the 1970s and 80s.

He denies the assaults and claims the alleged victims are motivated by greed for compensation and media attention, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Operation Yewtree

The alleged victims were aged between 15 and 29 at the time of the incidents.

Court sketch of Dave Lee Travis Mr Travis listened as the prosecution outlined its case against him

"The offences vary in gravity," Ms Moore said.

"All are sexual in nature involving unwanted contact by this defendant on much younger women, both over clothing and under clothing."

The youngest alleged victim, who was 15, claims she was attending a Showaddywaddy concert in 1978 at a farm in Gloucestershire, where the defendant invited her in to his trailer for a drink.

At court

Standing at the front of the dock, close to the glass, Dave Lee Travis listened intently as the court clerk read out the indictment.

Hands clasped in front of his light brown jacket, the DJ followed the proceedings with the aid of a hearing loop - the acoustics at Southwark Crown Court are notoriously poor.

After the charges had been set out, and the jury told that he had pleaded not guilty, the 68-year-old sat down as Miranda Moore, for the prosecution, outlined the case.

Occasionally he glanced downwards or shook his head, but mostly he was focused on the courtroom in front of him and the 12 jurors who will eventually determine his fate.

After discussing music, Mr Travis suddenly commented on the girl's breasts, then exposed them by lifting her top over her head and pulling down her bra, Ms Moore told the court.

The woman claims she was then pinned to her seat. "In her words, she thought he was going to rape her," Ms Moore said.

Mr Travis, of Mentmore, Buckinghamshire, was arrested as part of Scotland Yard's Operation Yewtree, which was set up after abuse allegations against the late entertainer, Jimmy Savile, the court heard. Police got referrals from "all over the country" about Mr Travis, Ms Moore said.

One woman, who was an 18-year-old BBC clerk, alleges an assault in a BBC radio studio between 1976 and 1977. She went to the Daily Mail in 2012 after she felt nothing was being done by the BBC, the court heard.

Mr Travis is alleged to have pressed his groin against her and when she told him to stop, "he grabbed her and put the red light [signalling a live broadcast] on". He appeared to her to be getting angry, Ms Moore said, before he "put his hand up her skirt".

The woman then ran from the room, "not caring if she was live on air", the court was told.

'Humiliated'

During an appearance on Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4 in the early 1980s, Mr Travis is alleged to have grabbed one woman's breast which he "moved up and down", Ms Moore said.

In another incident, he allegedly assaulted a woman while he was appearing as the "evil wizard" Abanazar in the pantomime Aladdin.

Mr Travis pressed against the woman and indecently assaulted her, while holding the door shut in a room at the theatre, in Crawley, West Sussex, it was alleged. He only stopped when he heard someone walk past, added Ms Moore.

The woman reported the incident, which happened between November 1990 and January 1991, to a stage manager but it was decided she would not go to the police because Mr Travis was a "star", Ms Moore said.

Dave Lee Travis in 1981 In the 70s and 80s, Dave Lee Travis was one of broadcasting's biggest stars

"She was a junior member of a team and there was thought that she may lose her job," Ms Moore said, but added that the theatre later decided that female workers should not be left alone with Mr Travis during the show's run.

On another occasion Mr Travis allegedly assaulted a female student after asking her to guard his camper van at Nottingham Polytechnic, where he was appearing as a DJ, between January 1983 and March 1984.

When Mr Travis came out of the van he grabbed her left breast, before saying "securi-titty", the prosecutor said. He later kissed the student before she ran away, after which she "felt stupid and humiliated".

Three allegations, from 2000 to 2003, relate to two women who worked at Chiltern FM, where Mr Travis was "sexually assaulting" one woman and other colleagues on a "regular basis", the court heard.

Mr Travis was also accused of assaulting a British Airways worker at two corporate parties, a hotel receptionist in the Cornish town of Bude, and a journalist who visited his home in 2008 - all of which he denies.

None of the alleged victims knew each other, the court heard.

Judge Anthony Leonard told the jury to try the case only on evidence heard during the trial, and not to do any internet "sleuthing".

The trial is expected to last up to six weeks.

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