Jury hears Dave Lee Travis is a ‘lovely, kind gentleman who used to hug women’

Dave Lee Travis has told his trial he is ‘astonished’ at sex offence allegations against him and told jurors he is a ‘normal, decent human being’.

As he spent a fourth day in the witness box, Travis repeatedly denied indecently assaulting 10 women and sexually assaulting another in incidents dating back to 1976 and the height of his fame.

Later, the court heard from two of his personal assistants from the 1970s and 1980s, who both described him as “tactile” – but never in a sexual way.

During heated cross-examination by prosecutor Miranda Moore QC, Travis – on trial under his birth name David Griffin – told jurors: “I have not been groping people for 40 years,” he said.

Ms Moore said: “It’s got you written all over it Mr Griffin. Because you’ve been doing it for years and getting away with it.”

The defendant, known as DLT, replied: “I’ve not been doing it for years. I’ve not been getting away with it.”

Travis, now 68, told jurors at London’s Southwark Crown Court: “These things did not happen. I don’t know how I can convince you that they did not happen.

“I’m a normal, decent human being. I play jokes on people. I cuddle people. And if there have been some sexual interactions in the past, it’s been consensual.

“It’s been suggested that women threw themselves at me – thank God most of them missed.”

Asked why the alleged victims would have invented their claims, Travis suggested there were ‘umpteen reasons’, including that they had ‘dreamt’ them.

He also said Twitter and Facebook could be to blame for the women coming forward with similar stories.

Ms Moore said: “The other possibility, of course, is that they’re telling the truth and you’re telling lies.”

Travis replied: “Absolutely, it’s their word against mine. This is what this is all about.”

Travis’s former personal assistant Margaret Merritt later told jurors he was a ‘kind gentleman who used to hug women’.

“He was very tactile,” she said. “But never ever in a sexual way.”

Ms Merritt, who worked as his PA from 1974 to 1976, was asked by Stephen Vullo, for the defence, if she ever saw him acting inappropriately.

“Never, never,” she replied. “I didn’t hear not one complaint about him.

“He was just always a fun person and people liked to be around him.”

Ms Merritt, who said she was a backing singer in 1970s pop group Pickettywitch, told jurors she was ‘really upset’ when the allegations against Travis emerged and called him straight away.

“I was very proud to be working for him,” she added.

Amanda Townley, who worked as his personal assistant from 1978 to 1986, was asked by Mr Vullo if she was ever ‘made to feel uncomfortable’ by the defendant.

She replied: “Never at all. He was like my big brother. It was a wonderful job and he was a lovely person.

“He could be tactile. He was warm and welcoming. I personally never felt uncomfortable.

“If I was ever upset or if I had a personal issue, he would give me a hug to say it will get better.”

When questioned if she had ever seen Travis acting in an “inappropriate way” with a woman, she told jurors: “I wouldn’t have turned up for work the next morning if I had.

“I have never had any feelings of any doubts or worries and I’m a fairly astute and inquiring type of person.”

Travis, from Buckinghamshire, denies 13 indecent assaults and one sexual assault.

The charges relate to allegations from 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.