Dave Lee Travis 'living a nightmare' after judge orders sex assault retrial

Veteran broadcaster ordered to face two charges, as NSPCC report reveals Jimmy Savile victims were 'laughed at' when they reported crimes to police

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 10:51am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 25 February, 2014, 12:01pm

The former BBC Radio DJ Dave Lee Travis said he was living a nightmare after being told he will face a retrial over allegations he sexually assaulted two women.

The veteran broadcaster was told he will go on trial for around two weeks later this year over one count of indecent assault and one of sexual assault.

This month Travis was cleared of 12 counts of indecent assault dating back to the mid-1970s, but jurors could not reach verdicts on those two charges.

Miranda Moore QC, for the crown, told Southwark crown court in London on Monday that prosecutors would be seeking a retrial over the two remaining counts. The first indecent assault allegation relates to a woman in the early 1990s, and the sexual assault charge to a journalist in 2008.

Wearing a purple and black shirt and a black suit, Travis sat slumped against the wall of the dock as the decision was announced. Moore said: “I can tell the court the prosecution will be seeking a retrial over the two outstanding counts.”

The 68-year-old was supported in court on Monday by his wife, Marianne, and two former PAs, Amanda Townley and Margaret Merritt, a backing singer in the 1970s pop group Pickettywitch.

Standing outside court holding hands with his wife, Travis said: “I want to say something at this point. The last time I stood here I told you I had been suffering – can you stop clicking for a moment guys because I can’t think straight – I told you I’d been through 18 months of a nightmare and apparently I was wrong because the nightmare is now going to go on.

“This whole thing started when I was 67 and I hope it’s going to end by the time I’m 80.”

Travis and Marianne, his wife of 43 years, then made their way past a scrum of photographers into a waiting black saloon car.

During the short hearing the court heard that the retrial, scheduled before Judge Anthony Leonard, is expected to last two weeks.

Travis was released on police bail to return to the court for a pre-trial hearing on March 28.

Meanwhile, victims of Jimmy Savile, the former BBC TV presenter who after his death was unmasked as one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders, said they were ignored or laughed at when they tried to report that he had abused them, a report said on Monday.

Last year, police said Savile, one of the country’s best-known celebrities in the 1970s and 1980s, had sexually abused hundreds of victims, mainly youngsters, at hospitals and at BBC premises over six decades until his death aged 84 in 2011.

A report by the charity, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), found many of those Savile had targeted said the authorities had dismissed their claims at the time of the abuse while others stayed silent because they feared they would not be believed.

The findings were released as lawyers representing 147 of his victims began action at London’s High Court on Monday to win compensation from a charitable trust set up in Savile’s name after his death.

“[The victims] were ignored, dismissed, not believed, laughed at and astonishingly told in some cases they should feel lucky he had paid them attention,” said Peter Watt, the NPSCC’s director of national services.

“Half a century on, the world finally discovered just how dreadful his crimes were – something these men and women had known all that time but felt powerless to do anything about.”

Monday’s NSPCC report, commissioned by the HMIC, was based on revelations from 26 victims, aged between eight and 26 when they were assaulted, who detailed the lasting impact of their abuse, with some turning to drink and drugs, and others disclosing mental health illnesses or contemplating suicide.

The Guardian, Reuters