Woman ‘shocked’ after ex-TV host John Leslie grabbed her breasts, court told

By Aine Fox, PA
·3-min read

A woman was left stunned after former Blue Peter presenter John Leslie made a “solid grab” of her breasts at a Christmas party, a court has heard.

The pair had just shaken hands when the star grabbed both her breasts and laughed, his sex assault trial was told.

The woman, who cannot be identified, had recognised Leslie at the gathering in London’s West End more than a decade ago, and had just introduced herself before he groped her, she told Southwark Crown Court.

She told the jury: “I put out my hand to shake his hand to say ‘hello… nice to meet you’.

“He shook my hand and was smiling and then immediately thereafter he grabbed both of my breasts, one hand on each breast, quite firmly, and laughed.

John Leslie court case
John Leslie leaves Southwark Crown Court with his father (Luciana Guerra/PA)

“It was very confident, I would say. I was very shocked. It wasn’t a kind of quick grab. It was a solid grab and then, after a period of a couple of seconds, I think, he let go and was laughing.

“I was a bit stunned. I didn’t say anything, I was a bit annoyed, I was shocked, I think. He just sort of laughed and walked off to the bar and that was it.”

Demonstrating the alleged incident to the jury with her hands out and making a grabbing motion, she said it was not “accidental”, adding: “It was an ‘I’m going to grab your breasts’.”

The woman told a friend after the alleged incident, recalling saying: “Oh my gosh, this just happened, John Leslie just groped me.”

She told a few other people including her partner, but did not go to police at the time because she did not think her claim would be taken seriously, she told the court.

But she said after the MeToo movement came to prominence she decided to go to police in December 2017.

She told the court: “It’s really not right and I feel like it’s important to say something.”

She said she feels she is now “a bit older, a bit wiser” and knows it “wasn’t acceptable”.

She added that she did not think anyone else had seen the alleged incident, explaining she “wasn’t in a group scenario” at the time.

Defence barrister Gudrun Young suggested to the complainant that she had “embellished” the detail of how many people were in the room to “explain away” the fact that there were no witnesses.

Rejecting this, the woman said: “Frankly I haven’t got the energy to explain away, I’m just interested in telling an authentic account of what happened.”

Leslie, 55, denies sexual assault by intentionally touching the woman without her consent on December 5 2008.

Opening the trial, prosecutor Jocelyn Ledward told the jury: “The defendant’s case is simply that it didn’t happen, he certainly didn’t behave towards (the complainant) as she alleges.”

A new jury was sworn in on Tuesday and the trial opened afresh, after the original jury was discharged on Monday because one juror was “unable to carry on”.