— Dave Lee Travis, one of
Britain's best-known radio DJs in the 1970s and 1980s who counted
Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi among his fans, was cleared on Thursday
of a string of sexual offenses against women over three decades.
The 68-year-old former BBC Radio 1 DJ was the first ageing
celebrity to go on trial as a direct result of an investigation
launched after police revealed that the late Jimmy Savile, one
of the BBC's top TV presenters, had been a prolific child sex
Travis, who appeared on a weekly television music show at the
height of his fame, had been accused of 14 charges involving 11
women between 1976 and 2008.
The jury at the London court cleared him of 12 offenses but was
unable to reach a verdict on one charge of indecent assault and
one of sexual assault. Prosecutors were given a week to decide
whether to seek a retrial.
"I'm not over the moon about any of this today. I don't feel
like there's a victory in any way, shape or form," Travis told
reporters outside court. He said he had been through a
year-and-a-half of hell, lost his reputation and had been forced
to sell his house to fight the charges.
The trial was told that Travis, nicknamed DLT, or the "Hairy
Cornflake" for his bushy beard, had preyed on women at the BBC's
central London headquarters, at corporate events, and at a
The jury had been told Travis had groped the breasts of a BBC
employee while she was introducing a radio program, and heard he
had indecently assaulted another woman in 1978 during filming
for the "Top of the Pops" weekly television music program when
she was teenager.
But Travis, whose real name is David Patrick Griffin, had denied
all the accusations, describing himself as a "big, hairy, cuddly
bear" who was tactile but not a sexual predator. He accused the
women of making up the claims to make money.
Among his fans was Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi, who singled
out his weekly show on the BBC World Service for making her
world "much more complete" during her 15 years under house
arrest between 1989 and 2010.
Travis is one of a number of ageing British stars to have faced
criminal charges after London police launched "Operation Yewtree" in
the wake of the 2011 death of Savile, one of Britain's biggest TV
stars in the 1970s and 1980s.
Detectives said hundreds of people had contacted them with
allegations about famous figures after revealing that Savile had
sexually assaulted some 300 victims, mainly children, at BBC
premises and hospitals over six decades of abuse.
Critics have asked why the BBC and police failed to take action
years ago, but some commentators have also voiced concern the
investigation had become a "witch-hunt" against high-profile figures
of the past.
"I have had one trial by media and one trial by
crown court. And I have to say in all honesty that I prefer trial by
the crown court," Travis said.
Further well-known figures are due to go on trial later this year
including celebrity publicist Max Clifford and British-based
Australian entertainer Rolf Harris, 83, a family favorite for more
than 50 years.
Last week, actor William Roache, the world's longest-serving TV soap
actor who has starred in "Coronation Street" since its launch in
1960, was cleared of historic rape and indecent assault charges,
although the charges were not directly connected to the Operation
In May last year, veteran BBC broadcaster Stuart Hall admitted 14
counts of indecent assault on young girls, and has since been
charged with 15 further allegations of rape.