Woman accusing John Leslie of assault denies ‘MeToo inspiration’

A woman who claimed she was groped by former Blue Peter presenter John Leslie has denied making a false allegation after being “inspired” by the MeToo movement “in the wrong way”.

Leslie is accused of grabbing both of the woman’s breasts at a Christmas party in London’s West End more than a decade ago.

She claims he made a “a solid grab” of her breasts and laughed, before walking away without saying anything – and she described how she was left feeling shocked.

John Leslie court case
John Leslie court case

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told his trial she had remembered him as being “a jovial TV presenter” when she went to shake his hand at the gathering in 2008.

But Leslie’s defence barrister suggested that the only thing he was known for by that stage – following a career which had also included hosting Wheel Of Fortune and This Morning – was sex assault allegations.

Gudrun Young put it to the complainant: “I suggest to you, not to put too fine a point on it, what he became most famous and most known for was being, not a TV celebrity famous for his work, but a disgraced former celebrity, someone who had had a spectacular fall from grace.

She added: “By 2008 it was pretty much the only thing he was known for, wasn’t it? Being some sort of sex pest?”

The complainant disagreed.

Ms Young added: “Not a word of truth in it, as far as he’s concerned, but that’s what he was famous for. That’s what all the stories were about.”

The barrister said there had been a “massive scandal” in 2002 when Leslie’s name was “linked with” Ulrika Jonsson, “completely wrongly as it turned out”, in her autobiography in which she said an unnamed person had raped her.

Ms Young said after that there followed “a raft of allegations” about Leslie.

“Women coming forward, left right and centre. Do you recall that?” she asked the complainant.

The woman replied: “Not really. I remember Ulrika, but I don’t really know about other things or anything in detail.”

There had been media coverage of a “high profile court case” and a picture of Leslie with his then-girlfriend Abi Titmuss on the steps of a court, when sex charges against him were dropped in 2003, Ms Young added.

The barrister said the complainant, who did not report the allegation to officers at the time of the alleged incident in 2008, had gone to police in 2017 “at the height of the MeToo movement”.

The barrister asked: “Did you want to have a story to tell as well about a celebrity?”

She said she did not and that her claim was “just factual”.

Ms Young said: “I suggest you were inspired by the MeToo movement to make this allegation – in the wrong way, because in this instance it is a false allegation.”

The woman rejected this and said she “would not really follow through with all of this” if it was not true.

Leslie, 55, and with an address in Edinburgh, denies sexual assault by intentionally touching the woman without her consent on December 5 2008.

The hearing was adjourned until 10.30am on Wednesday.