Dave Lee Travis guilty of indecent assault

Dave Lee Travis
Dave Lee Travis

Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis has been convicted of indecent assault by a jury at Southwark Crown Court.

The ex-Top of the Pops presenter was cleared on a second charge of the same offence following a trial at London’s Southwark Crown Court.

The jury were unable to agree a verdict on another charge of sexual assault and were discharged.

Travis, 69, who became a household name in the 1970s, had faced a retrial after jurors failed to reach verdicts on two of the charges earlier this year.

Prosecutors had claimed the ex-Top Of The Pops presenter was an “opportunist” who acted as if he had the “perfect right” to grope young women.

He was accused of two counts of indecent assault and one of sexual assault, with the allegations dating back to the 1990s when he was starring in panto, while the most recent was said to have happened during an interview with a journalist at his home in 2008.

Wearing dark grey trousers and a light grey blazer, Travis stared straight ahead with a stony expression and held his hands in front of him as the verdicts were read out.

He glanced over his shoulder to his wife Marianne, who sat at the back of court, before sitting down.

The jury of six men and six women came to their verdicts after 19 hours and 15 minutes.

Prosecutor Teresa Hay told the court that the Crown would not be seeking a retrial on the count of sexual assault which the jury was hung on, and a formal verdict of not guilty was entered.

The forewoman told the court the jury had found Travis guilty of a single count of indecent assault by a majority of 10 to two.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC warned the former radio star that he was looking at “all options” when he considered his sentence.

Sophie Wood, defending, told the judge they would be asking for Travis to be given a non custodial community order sentence.

She said: “It is the defence position that we will seek to persuade your honour that this is a community order penalty. That is where we submit it fits.

“It’s the defence position that a pre-sentence report would assist.”

Judge Leonard said “all options remain open”, including jail.

Travis left the courtroom accompanied by his wife Marianne, who put a protective arm around her husband’s back as he left.

He declined to comment on the verdict, saying: “I’m not speaking to anybody right this moment.”

With his quirky catchphrases and over-the-top personality, Travis came to personify Radio 1 in its heyday when it pulled in massive audiences and its DJs were almost as famous as the artists whose records they played.

DLT - real name David Patrick Griffin - learned his trade in clubs and on pirate radio as well as a stint touring the United States with Herman’s Hermits before joining the BBC in the late 1960s.

Dubbed the Hairy Cornflake as a result of the hirsute presenter’s stint on the Radio 1 breakfast show, he was a fixture on the station for more than two decades and a regular on Top Of The Pops (TOTP).

The larger-than-life star, who drove a yellow pontiac he called the Flying Banana, even had a hit single of his own when his version of the trucking song Convoy GB, attributed to Laurie Lingo And The Dipsticks, was a top five hit in 1976.

It was a parody of CW McCall’s hit which had been in the charts just weeks earlier and saw him guesting on TOTP himself, dressed as a superhero with his face covered.

But by the early 1990s, audiences for Radio 1 were falling and plans to bring in a new generation of DJs - who would bring a new generation of listeners with them - were under way, with controller Matthew Bannister wielding the axe for many familiar voices thought to be out of step with the plan to appeal to younger audiences.

Travis, complete with his ‘’quack, quack, oops’’ catchphrase and gimmicks including the snooker on the radio game, was seen as old-fashioned and was being parodied on a weekly basis by Harry Enfield with his Smashie and Nicey characters.

The characters, which lampooned Travis as “BLT - the Hairy Sandwich”, reflected the view that Radio 1 and its veteran presenters were falling behind the times.

DLT jumped before he was pushed when he famously quit Radio 1 live on air in 1993, telling listeners that ‘’changes are being made here that go against my principles and I just cannot agree with them’’.

He kept working, with stints on stations including Classic Gold, Garrison Radio and Spectrum FM, but did not leave the BBC entirely.

His programme A Jolly Good Show stayed on the World Service until 2001 and in 2011 an unlikely fan emerged in the shape of Burmese pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

She told the Radio Times that the request show helped make her ‘’world much more complete’’ when she listened to it during her years under house arrest.

The DJ was even introduced to the campaigning politician when she visited Broadcasting House in 2012.

Along with his love of broadcasting, Travis has also spoken of his passion for photography.

He was awarded a fellowship of the British Institute of Professional Photographers and is an associate of the Royal Photographic Society with a book of his work published.

Titled A Bit Of A Star, Media Women... Their Fine Points And Phobias As Photographed By Dave Lee Travis, the book features celebrities such as Joanna Lumley, Kim Wilde and Jenny Agutter in a variety of quirky costumes and poses.

Travis previously told jurors he had taken a series of photographs designed to ‘’halt people in their tracks’’ where stars were asked to tell him something about themselves they either liked particularly or disliked.

In his private life, Travis married Swedish girlfriend Marianne in 1971.

The couple reared pigs and chickens in the home counties, with Marianne often accompanying Travis to his guest appearances and DJ slots.

Although happily married, during his first trial Travis admitted that he had given in to ‘’temptation’’ more than once during his career, as he enjoyed the celebrity status being a Radio 1 DJ afforded him.

During his two trials, both defence and prosecution witnesses alike described the 6ft 1in-tall defendant as a “gentle giant” and ‘’larger than life’’ character who enjoyed giving bear hugs to all he met.

When asked to describe himself during the first case, he told jurors to much amusement: ‘’I have never said, in my life, that I am a sex symbol. No, I am a big, hairy, cuddly bear.’’

Jurors heard that Travis’s career dramatically ground to a halt when he was arrested in October 2012, with his defence barrister Stephen Vullo QC saying the former star was “finished” and his reputation “totally ruined”.

He has also faced financial ruin and sold his house in order to pay private investigators to help in his defence case.

Mr Vullo said the fact that Travis had been investigated by officers from Operation Yewtree - the inquiry set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal - had put him under a “massive intrusive microscope”.

“Anybody that’s ever had anything against him at all has really had the opportunity in the last two years to tell Operation Yewtree all about it,” he added.