Ex-Blue Peter presenter John Leslie laughed after groping woman, court hears

Former Blue Peter presenter John Leslie has gone on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman at a Christmas party in London more than a decade ago.

The 55-year-old is accused of “grabbing” the woman’s breasts and laughing shortly after arriving at the West End gathering, a jury at Southwark Crown Court heard.

He denies sexual assault by intentionally touching a woman without her consent on December 5 2008.

Prosecutor Jocelyn Ledward said 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 went over to 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 woman did not think her complaint would be taken seriously at the time but had confided in a friend who was left “shocked”, Ms Ledward said.

It was in late 2017 after the MeToo campaign became prominent, that the woman decided to make a complaint.

Ms Ledward said: “She began to feel more angry about what had happened.”

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, whose full name is John Leslie Stott and has an address in Edinburgh, stood quietly in the dock wearing a mid-grey suit as the jury was sworn in on Monday.

He appeared on Blue Peter between 1989 and 1994 and also presented Wheel Of Fortune and This Morning.

Leslie’s father Les Stott sat listening in the courtroom, where everyone involved in the hearing was socially distanced.

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