British disc jockey Dave Lee Travis cleared of sex assault charges
British disc jockey Dave Lee Travis was cleared by a jury yesterday of a string of sexual assault claims in the latest failure for a police probe set up in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal.
Travis, 68, one of the biggest names in British broadcasting in the 1970s and 1980s, was found not guilty of 12 indecent assault charges, while the jury could not reach a verdict on two other charges.
Outside court after the verdicts, Travis said he had been through "a year-and-a-half of hell."
"I had two trials," he said. "I had one trial by media and one trial by crown court. And I have to say in all honesty that I prefer trial by the crown court."
Travis - whose real name is David Griffin - told jurors during his trial that he was not a sexual predator, as prosecutors claimed.
"I do not have a predatory nature with women. I have a cuddly nature," he said. "Maybe that's what this is all about, but I am not predatory."
Prosecutors must decide whether to ask for a retrial for the former BBC star on the two remaining charges following the verdict at London's Southwark Crown Court.
Travis, who was nicknamed the "Hairy Cornflake" and counted Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi among his fans, showed no emotion as the verdicts were read out. He had denied all 14 assault charges.
The trial heard allegations that Travis had assaulted girls while live on television and in his radio studio. It was shown footage of Travis allegedly putting his hand up a young woman's skirt as he introduced a song by The Smurfs on the TV show Top of the Pops in 1978.
Travis argued that it would have been "insane" for him to grope someone on television.
Travis spent 25 years presenting on BBC Radio 1, and also hosted a music request show on BBC World Service radio.
He was among several ageing celebrities arrested under Operation Yewtree, the British police probe into abuse set up following revelations that the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile was a prolific sex offender.
Several of those arrested have already been bailed with no further action taken against them.
Last week another veteran star, Coronation Street actor William Roache, was cleared of rape.
Additional reporting by Associated Press