John Leslie cleared of sexual assault at Christmas party in 2008 | UK News
Former Blue Peter presenter John Leslie has been found not guilty of grabbing a woman’s breasts at a Christmas party in 2008.
He cried and nodded at the jury as the verdict was delivered, and made no comment when he left court.
Leslie, full name John Leslie Stott, had denied the accusations that he had groped a woman after shaking hands with her in the West End of London more than a decade ago.
It took the jury at Southwark Crown Court just 23 minutes to return a verdict, after the week-long trial.
He had previously told the jury that he could not remember being at the party in question and said the single allegation of sexual assault was “crazy” and “ludicrous”.
“I would not have touched her like some mannequin and walked off,” he said during evidence, adding that he had been made out to be an “aggressive, sexual monster” by the tabloid press and denied ever assaulting any woman.
Leslie had also told the trial that his life changed completely in 2002 when he was wrongly identified on live television as the unnamed alleged rapist in a book by his former girlfriend, Ulrika Jonsson.
Presenter Matthew Wright later apologised, saying he named Leslie in error.
In 2003, two charges of indecent assault, made against Leslie, were dropped and not guilty verdicts recorded.
Leslie was also arrested and interviewed by police in 2008 over an allegation of rape and indecent assault that was said to have happened in 1995, the jury was told.
However, there had been insufficient evidence to charge him and no further action was taken.
Leslie said as a result of the allegations he had become reclusive, paranoid, depressed and suicidal.
Judge Deborah Taylor told him: “You, for the second time, leave this court without a stain on your character and I hope it will be the last time you have to attend.”