September 23, 2014 / 4:39 PM / 4 years ago

Ex-BBC DJ Dave Lee Travis convicted of indecent assault

LONDON (Reuters) - 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 found guilty on Tuesday of indecently assaulting a television researcher.

Former Radio 1 DJ, Dave Lee Travis, real name David Patrick Griffin, arrives after the lunch break, at Southwark Crown Court in London September 23, 2014. REUTERS/Neil Hall

The 69-year-old is the latest ageing British celebrity to be convicted of sex crimes following police investigations launched in the wake of revelations that the late Jimmy Savile, one of the BBC’s top TV presenters, had sexually abused hundreds of victims over decades.

Travis, a former BBC Radio 1 DJ, had been cleared in February of a string of sexual offences against women over three decades, but the jury at Southwark Crown Court had failed to reach verdicts on two indecent assault charges and prosecutors decided he should be re-tried.

Travis, appearing under his real name of David Griffin, was convicted of assaulting the researcher in 1995.

“David Griffin...indecently assaulted a young woman by touching her in a way that was not only deeply invasive but also against the law,” said Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor Jenny Hopkins.

“The prosecution of sexual offences is often difficult and complex, perhaps even more so when the allegations are from some years ago,” she added in a statement after the verdict.

Travis was cleared of the other indecent assault charge.

He will be sentenced on Friday.

Travis 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 the latest celebrity 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.

In July, 84-year-old entertainer Rolf Harris, a household name in his native Australia and adopted home Britain, was jailed for almost six years for abusing young girls some as young as seven or eight over two decades.

The country’s best-known publicist, Max Clifford, was found guilty in May of indecently assaulting teenage girls some 30 years ago as part of the investigation and sentenced to eight years in prison.

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.

Reporting by Michael Holden, Editing by Angus MacSwan

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