John Leslie: Ex Blue Peter presenter 'laughed after groping woman'

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image captionJohn Leslie is accused of committing the assault in Westminster in December 2008

Former Blue Peter presenter John Leslie "grabbed" a woman's breasts at a Christmas party and then laughed, the opening of his trial heard.

The 55-year-old is accused of the assault shortly after arriving at the gathering in London's West End in 2008.

Mr Leslie was charged with sexual touching of a woman on 5 June 2019, Southwark Crown Court heard.

He denies the charge of sexual assault by intentionally touching a woman without her consent.

Prosecutor Jocelyn Ledward said Mr Leslie grabbed the woman's breasts "quite deliberately for a period of a few seconds" before walking off.

Ms Ledward told Southwark Crown Court: "The woman was stunned but did not report it to the police.

"He [Mr Leslie] denies he did any such thing and if there was any physical contact between them, then it must have been an accident."

'Left shocked'

The woman had recognised Mr Leslie at the bar and went over to him, the court heard.

He smiled at her, Ms Ledward said.

"She smiled back. Without saying anything further he grabbed both of her breasts with both of his hands and laughed as he did so," the prosecutor added.

"The prosecution say this was no accidental touching but a quite deliberate sexual assault."

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, the court was told.

Mr Leslie voluntarily attended a police interview in March 2018 at the end of which he told them, "I have not attacked or assaulted anyone ever", the jury was told.

Mr Leslie, who began his TV career in 1989 when he became a presenter on the BBC's Blue Peter, went on to present Wheel Of Fortune and This Morning.

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