Former Blue Peter presenters tell sex assault trial John Leslie was always 'incredibly respectful'

Martin Evans
·3-min read
John Leslie has denied grabbing a woman's breasts at a Christmas party in 2008
John Leslie has denied grabbing a woman's breasts at a Christmas party in 2008

Former Blue Peter colleagues of John Leslie, including Anthea Turner, have dismissed suggestions he is guilty of sexual assault insisting he is "incredibly respectful" towards women.

Ms Turner, who has known the Scottish former television host since the 1980s, said she had never heard any stories about him being inappropriate towards females and said he was "absolutely adored" by those who knew him.

She gave evidence in his defence, alongside fellow Blue Peter stars, Yvette Fielding and Diane-Louise Jordan - who has also hosted Songs of Praise.

Mr Leslie, 55, is accused of grabbing a woman's breasts at a Christmas party in London's West End on December 5, 2008.

But his former colleagues insisted he had always been a "gentleman" when dealing with them.

Ms Turner, who worked with him on Blue Peter, said she had felt it was "very important" to come to court and give evidence in his defence.

She told the jury at Southwark Crown Court she knew Mr Leslie incredibly well and added: "I would just like to mention, when he asked me to come I wanted to be here. This is very important."

Asked about his behaviour around women she said: "I am a woman, he was always respectful, incredibly respectful, with myself."

Turner said the team at Blue Peter had been largely female and "everybody loved him", adding that he was "absolutely adored by every woman I knew that worked with him".

Anthea Turner and Diane-Louise Jordan gave evidence at Southwark Crown Court - PA
Anthea Turner and Diane-Louise Jordan gave evidence at Southwark Crown Court - PA

Ms Jordan also praised Mr Leslie. She told the court: "I was the first black presenter of the program and at that time, that was very newsworthy.

"I was feeling under the spotlight and very vulnerable,' said Ms Jordan. If I had one the world to describe him is he is a gentleman. He was extremely kind with me.'

Asked what she thought about the 2008 allegation, she said: "This is not the man that I know, not at all."

On his behaviour towards women, she said: "I have never, ever, ever seen John behave in any way inappropriately with any woman."

Miss Fielding, who also worked with Mr Leslie on Blue Peter, gave evidence via videolink.

She said in all the time she had spent with him, including socially, she had never seen him acting inappropriately.

She said: "Never ever in the time that I have known John have I ever seen him behave in a disrespectful way towards any woman or man."

Character evidence was also heard from 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."

Mr Leslie denies sexual assault and the trial continues.

Watch: ‘Here’s one i made earlier’ says the Prime Minister on his Blue Peter deal