British DJ in court on sex assault charges

Dave Lee Travis
Dave Lee Travis

British radio presenter Dave Lee Travis, who counts Aung San Suu Kyi among his fans, appeared in court Friday charged with committing 11 indecent assaults and one sexual assault.

The 68-year-old former BBC star, wearing a suit and a colourful tie, faced a scrum of photographers and cameramen as he arrived at a London magistrates’ court.

Travis is one of several older celebrities in Britain arrested under the police’s Operation Yewtree, set up in the wake of revelations that late BBC star Jimmy Savile was a prolific sex offender.

Asked by reporters outside court if he would be protesting his innocence, Travis said: “I’m not protesting anything.

“I’d like to speak for three hours to everybody to tell you the story but no sound bites, I’m sorry.”

Travis has consistently denied any wrongdoing since he was arrested in November and his lawyer told the court he would be pleading not guilty.

The disc jockey, whose real name is David Griffin, spoke only to give his name, address and date of birth, and will appear at a higher court in London on September 6.

As he left the magistrates’ court, he told the press: “I am supported by my wife and my friends.”

The charges of indecent assault relate to eight women aged between 15 and 29 at the time of the alleged offences. They date from 1977 to 2003.

He is also charged with one offence of sexual assault relating to a woman aged 23 in 2007.

Travis, nicknamed the Hairy Cornflake, worked at BBC Radio 1 during the 1970s and 1980s and was one of the most recognisable faces in British broadcasting.

Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi said his BBC World Service music request show had helped her to get through more than two decades under house arrest.

Travis met Suu Kyi when she visited BBC studios during a visit to Britain last year.

Some 14 people have been arrested under Operation Yewtree, three of whom have been charged.

The charges against Travis are not connected to his former colleague Savile, who police believe was one of Britain’s worst-ever sex offenders. – AFP