Former Blue Peter star John Leslie groped woman and laughed, court hears

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Former Blue Peter presenter John Leslie laughed as he grabbed a woman's breasts at a Christmas party, a court has heard.

The 55-year-old is accused of a "quite deliberate sexual assault" in London's West End in December 2008, the jury at Southwark Crown Court was told.

The woman had decided to make a complaint in 2017 after the #MeToo campaign had become prominent, the court heard.

Leslie, who denies sexual assault, appeared on Blue Peter between 1989 and 1994 and also presented Wheel Of Fortune and This Morning.

Prosecutor Jocelyn Ledward told the jury Leslie grabbed the complainant's breasts "quite deliberately for a period of a few seconds" before walking off.

Ms Ledward said: "The woman was stunned but did not report it to the police.

"He (Leslie) denies he did any such thing and if there was any physical contact between them, then it must have been an accident."

The woman had recognised Leslie at the bar and approached him, the court heard.

He smiled at her, Ms Ledward said. The prosecutor added: "She smiled back. Without saying anything further he grabbed both of her breasts with both of his hands and laughed as he did so."

This went on for about three seconds, according to Ms Ledward.

She said: "The prosecution say this was no accidental touching but a quite deliberate sexual assault.

"The defendant laughed again and then walked off as if what he had done was completely acceptable and was not something anyone was going to challenge him on."

The court heard the woman decided to make a complaint in late 2017 after she did not think it would be taken seriously at the time.

Leslie voluntarily attended a police interview in March 2018 at the end of which he said "I have not attacked or assaulted anyone ever", the jury was told.

Leslie, from Edinburgh and whose full name is John Leslie Stott, sat quietly in the dock wearing a smart mid-grey suit as the case against him was outlined.

The trial opened on Monday, but the jury was discharged in the afternoon and Judge Deborah Taylor said the case would start afresh on Tuesday.

She told the jury: "A juror is unable to carry on so what I am going to do is, since we are in the early stages (of this case), is to discharge this jury and swear in another."