Dave Lee Travis Groped Woman At British Airways Party, Court Hears

DJ Dave Lee Travis arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London where he is accused of a series of indecent assaults and one sexual assault.
DJ Dave Lee Travis arrives at Southwark Crown Court in London where he is accused of a series of indecent assaults and one sexual assault.
Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

A former British Airways worker has told a court that DJ Dave Lee Travis groped her and told her she had "won the key" to his hotel room at a corporate event just over 20 years ago.

The woman, who was 23 at the time, said the former Radio 1 presenter also put his hand inside her knickers during a British Airways Christmas party.

She told London's Southwark Crown Court that she met Travis, 68, on two occasions when she worked at BA and he was acting as a compere at company events in 1993.

The alleged victim said she thought Travis was a "dirty perv" and a "dirty old man" but did not go to police at the time as she was "too young and too stupid".

Both times she said he grabbed her to dance the Lambada with her, "grinding" against her and becoming aroused.

Giving evidence from behind a screen, the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said that, after being forced to dance with him on the second occasion, she planned to make her "escape" but he then made her sit on his knee.

"He didn't let me go of me and dragged me off the floor towards his table," she said.

She told jurors she thought she would just sit next to him before politely making her excuses and leaving as there were a number of BA bosses at the table and she did not want to make a scene.

But she said he pulled her on to his knee and placed his right arm around her waist while putting his left hand on her upper thigh.

"His left hand started creeping up my leg," she said.

"I immediately put my hands on it.

My hands were both on it permanently trying to push it down."

But she said he was much stronger than her and he then started rubbing his thumb against her groin.

"First of all he was rubbing on the outside of my knickers and then on the inside," she told the court.

The woman said she decided to try to distract Travis by talking about the raffle that had taken place as part of the evening's events as there was a ticket lying on the table in front of them.

"I said to him I hadn't won anything. That's when he slapped it on his head and said 'You've won the key to my room'."

The woman said she was "really scared" and when she said she wanted to go to the toilet with a colleague, he told her: "Don't confer with your friends."

"He said 'There's a toilet at my hotel'."

But she said she told her friends what had happened after the allegations about Jimmy Savile came out and said to them of Travis: "Mark my words, he'll be next."

Travis, of Buckinghamshire, denies 13 indecent assaults and one sexual assault, dating back to 1976 and the height of his fame.

The alleged offending includes when he was working as a BBC DJ, as a broadcaster with Classic Gold radio, while appearing on Top Of The Pops, and when starring in panto.

Wearing a grey woollen blazer, dark trousers and a multi-coloured tie, Travis sat in the dock and listened to the evidence through headphones.

The woman told the court she first met Travis a few weeks before the Christmas party when he compered an event to celebrate hitting company targets.

She said he organised a Lambada dance competition, which he judged and she and her partner won.

The woman said there was a "Latin American atmosphere" in the room as they performed the intimate dance, which involved couples getting up close and holding hands.

She said that, after naming her as the winner, he ordered that the song be repeated and "then he grabbed me as his partner and started dancing with me".

The woman told the court that he "kept pinning me against his leg" as they danced.

"He was sexually aroused," she said.

"I was trying to put as much distance between us as could as I thought it was inappropriate but he was a lot bigger than me and he kept pinning me against his leg.

"He was old enough to be my father. I just thought 'dirty perv'."

Asked why she did not tell her bosses or police what had happened at the time, the woman said: "He was a big star. I thought 'Who was going to believe me?'"

The woman said she then encountered Travis again when he was the compere and DJ at the Christmas party and did her best to avoid him.

But she said she realised he had seen her and he requested that guests dance the Lambada.

She told jurors: "Dave Lee Travis made a beeline for me and said he was claiming this dance as his again.

"Everybody was cheering."

The woman said that, as before, Travis groped her as they danced. "He was grinding as he was dancing with me," she said.

The woman said she was "in shock" when she eventually left the party and vaguely remembered being put in a car by a colleague, who drove them away.

A friend of the alleged victim also gave evidence to the court and said she told them what Travis allegedly did to her during conversations they had in September or October 2012.

The woman went to police in August last year, the court heard.

Another woman told the court she thought Travis was a "dirty old man" after he put his hand up her skirt during a car journey when she was 21.

The woman, who was sharing a lift with Travis and her friend after he was the DJ at a party, said she was "absolutely shocked and mortified". She thought it happened in 1983.

She told the court that Travis asked her what she did and, when she said she was a student nurse, he asked if she wore stockings.

She said she was embarrassed by the question and could not remember what she replied, but he then "put his hand into the back of the car and pushed it up my skirt".

"He put his hand between my legs on top of my thighs," she said.

She "pushed them away as hard as I could" and used "quite a lot" of force.

"I was pushing hard and for a few moments he was pushing back," she said.

The woman, who also gave evidence from behind a screen, said she was a "shy and quiet girl" and so did not say anything at the time.

"I just put it down to him being a dirty old man," she said.

The woman said she went to police last year after reading a newspaper article in which he defended himself after other allegations against him surfaced.

She told jurors: "He was quoted as saying he would never behave in that way.

"I thought 'Well, you did behave in that way to me'."

Travis, from Buckinghamshire, is charged with 13 counts of indecent assault dating back to 1973 and as recently as 2003. He is also accused of sexual assault in 2008.

He denies all the charges.

Jurors were told that the woman's evidence did not relate to any specific charge against Travis.

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.