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John Leslie 'a gentleman,' say former Blue Peter colleagues

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image captionJohn Leslie said he cannot remember being at the party in 2008

Former colleagues of TV presenter John Leslie have described him as a "gentleman" who was "adored by women" to a jury.

The 55-year-old denies grabbing a woman's breasts at a party in 2008.

At Southwark Crown Court, ex-Blue Peter presenter Anthea Turner said Mr Leslie had always been "incredibly respectful" towards her.

Mr Leslie faces a single charge of sexual assault by touching a woman without her consent.

Ms Turner, who worked with him on the popular children's television show, said he was "absolutely adored" by women who worked with him.

She had "never, ever, ever seen John behave in any way inappropriately with any woman," she said.

Ms Turner said the charge against Mr Leslie was "not the man that I know, not at all".

Character evidence was also heard from Mr Leslie's former This Morning co-host Fern Britton.

In a statement read to the court, she said: "I can confidently say that the allegations that have been made about John do not sound like the man that I know in the slightest."

'Paranoid'

Mr Leslie told the jury he has "never crossed the line between behaving gregariously and criminal behaviour".

He said he could not remember being at the 2008 Christmas party where assault is said to have occurred.

On Wednesday, Mr Leslie told the court he would have been "paranoid" on any social outing after being painted as a "sexual monster" by newspapers.

Cross-examining him on Thursday, prosecutor Jocelyn Ledward suggested the TV star had exaggerated his paranoia.

"If you had any idea of what I went through in 2003 (onwards), it didn't stop because of the court case," he replied.

"It's 17 years. It just is relentless. They are not stopping, the tabloid press. This is what they did. I'm not recovered, I'm not better. I'm not the person I used to be. I'm not a recluse, I grant you."

The trial continues.

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  • City of Westminster

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