Woman 'in panic at Dave Lee Travis groping'

A court has heard how Dave Lee Travis grabbed the woman's breasts whilst she was broadcasting on BBC Radio 4, as June Kelly reports

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A radio announcer was in a "panic" as DJ Dave Lee Travis grabbed her breasts when she was broadcasting live on BBC Radio 4, his trial has heard.

The woman, who was a BBC trainee, said she had been frightened she would mess up an announcement but she could not tell her bosses as he was a "big star".

A second witness said Mr Travis touched her breast the first time they met.

Mr Travis, 68, whose real name is David Griffin, denies indecently assaulting 11 victims between 1976 and 2008.

He denies 13 counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault.

Giving evidence behind a curtain, the first witness said Mr Travis had walked into the studio as she was about to go on air on Radio 4 in the early 1980s and sat down behind her as she read out the time.

"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."

'Few choice words'

The woman, who was 26 at the time, told the court Mr Travis held her breasts throughout her announcement which lasted about 10 seconds.

Travis in court Mr Travis DJ hosted the Radio 1 Breakfast show from 1978 to 1980

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 woman said if she not been on air she would have "screamed" at him, probably with "a few choice words", she said.

The alleged victim said Mr Travis sat down after the incident "as if nothing had happened" and "thought it was funny".

'Stupid joke'

She told the court she had decided not to raise a complaint with senior managers as she was on probation as an announcer.

"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,'" she said.

Mr Travis's barrister, Stephen Vullo, told the witness his client denied the indecent assault totally and had no recollection of it.

Under cross-examination the witness said she did not think Mr Travis had intended it as a sexual assault but as a "stupid joke".

The witness said she contacted the press after an article which said a Radio 1 DJ had repeatedly groped DJ Liz Kershaw on air and she thought it was Mr Travis.

Start Quote

I was initially terrified no one would believe me”

End Quote Second witness

The second witness, who was based at Chiltern Radio from 2000-2004, said she was assaulted on her first day working in the same building as the defendant.

She said: "Dave Lee Travis got up and he came over, was introduced to me, and the first thing he did was kiss me on the cheek, put both arms around me like a bear hug, which did not feel right.

"He let go of one hand, and with the other started to rub the side of my body. He was touching my breast. He was holding my body."

'Pungent aftershave'

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

The woman said that in a second incident, Mr Travis "slid his hand" on her breast as he reached to take a pen away.

Asked by Ms Moore how she felt, the witness replied: "Terrified. Shocked. Sick."

Asked why she had not said anything, she said: "I had the job of my dreams. I had worked very hard to get where I was. I was initially terrified no-one would believe me."

The witness said women in the office "kept their heads bowed" when he walked in.

She said that she "absolutely snapped" after a third incident and a manager had to pull them apart, with Mr Travis becoming very aggressive when she shouted that he was a pervert.

The witness said senior managers "were 100% aware" of Mr Travis's behaviour, and that the latest incident prompted him to be banned from the office where she was working.

Donald Douglas, a network programme controller for Classic Gold radio - which shared premises with Chiltern Radio - said he was aware of a single complaint against Mr Travis, but said he was not aware of a "campaign of sexual assault" by a member of staff against women.

Another witness - a female journalist who worked at Chiltern Radio at the same time as Mr Travis - said he "couldn't keep his hands off" her and she felt incredibly uncomfortable when he was around.

"We couldn't stand it whenever he walked into the newsroom," she said.

The trial is expected to last up to six weeks.

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