DJ Neil Fox cleared of sex assaults

media captionRadio DJ Neil Fox: "Today I have been vindicated"

Radio DJ Neil Fox has been cleared of sexually abusing fans and colleagues.

Mr Fox, 54, from south-west London, had denied eight indecent assaults and two sexual assaults between 1988 and 2014, against women and girls as young as 14.

Westminster magistrates said the six alleged victims were believable but the bench "could not be sure that in the context it was a criminal offence".

The DJ and ex-Pop Idol judge said he had been "vindicated" and could not "wait to be broadcasting again".

In an emotional speech outside the court, he said the past 14 months had been "long, hard and stressful".

He thanked his friends, listeners and his family "who have stuck by me and lifted me up when I was falling down".

"This case has once again raised concerns about how high-profile cases such as this have been investigated by the CPS but this is not the time or the place to address these matters," he said.

Mr Fox, who has been off air since his arrest in September 2014, added that "a lot had been said and written" about him that would need to be "addressed and rectified".

At the scene

image copyrightAFP

By Frankie McCamley, BBC reporter

It was a short yet emotional hearing that only lasted about four minutes.

Despite the chief magistrate Howard Riddle saying this was a strong case that needed to be brought to court, he was quick to deliver the verdict.

Neil Fox cried as he was cleared of all the charges. Tears could also be seen in the public gallery where the 54-year-old's wife Vicky hugged friends. She later embraced her husband.

The pair made their way outside within minutes to give a statement hand in hand. The breakfast radio host held back tears as he thanked his family and supporters.

Prosecutors had claimed the DJ had exploited the privilege that came with his fame to abuse women and girls.

Six women had made allegations, and one claimed she was 14 when Mr Fox took her to an underground car park at Capital Radio in Euston, central London, and kissed her.

'Lots of banter'

The court had also heard from a woman who was 14 when Mr Fox allegedly kissed her and slid his hand up her skirt at a motor show in Bromley, south-east London, in July 1991.

The three adult complainants came into contact with Mr Fox through work at radio stations, spanning a period of 11 years.

One of the women alleged that Mr Fox had regularly touched her bottom, while another said he had approached her from behind and kissed her bare shoulders.

London's breakfast radio king

image copyrightPA
image captionNeil Fox with fellow Pop Idol judges in 2001

DJ Neil Fox's commercial radio career has spanned 30 years, and during this time he has won 10 Sony radio industry awards and a lifetime achievement award.

His early radio career saw him move from Radio Luxembourg to London's Capital Radio in the late 1980s.

Mr Fox, who used the nicknames Dr Fox and Foxy, started presenting the station's chart show in 1993. The show's popularity peaked in 1995 when the Daily Mirror reported more than 3.5 million listeners tuned in each week - making it more popular than Radio 1's Official Chart show.

He was a judge on ITV's talent show Pop Idol from 2001 to 2003, alongside music mogul Simon Cowell. The show became one of the most popular reality programs on TV and more than 13 million viewers watched the final of the first series.

Mr Fox left Capital in 2005 after missing out on presenting the breakfast show, which was given to Johnny Vaughan, moving to rival station Magic 105.4 the same year to present its breakfast show.

By June 2008 he was the most popular breakfast DJ on London commercial radio, with a peak audience of 158,000 listeners - beating Heart and Capital's breakfast shows.

Mr Fox's defence lawyer Jonathan Caplan QC told magistrates the youngest of his alleged victims was an "obsessive fan" who was "in love with Mr Fox" to the extent that she recorded the anniversary of the date they first met in her diary.

In his closing submissions, Mr Caplan said evidence heard during the trial was "unreliable" and apart from the complainants, "no other fans of the thousands he has met or befriended" had come forward to support the allegations against Mr Fox.

In a police statement made last year, the DJ said: "In radio, there is lots of fun, lots of high jinks, lots of horseplay, lots of banter. But I know where the line is, and I have not crossed the line."

Chart show

Mr Fox became well known for presenting the chart show on Capital Radio, and was a judge on the ITV show Pop Idol between 2001 and 2003.

He joined Magic 105.4 in 2005, where he presents the breakfast show, Foxy in the Morning. He is currently not hosting the show.

A spokeswoman for Bauer Media, which owns Magic, said: "We will be taking some time to reflect on the outcome of the trial and we have no further comment to make at this stage."