John Leslie Cleared Of Sexual Assault Following Trial

Ash Percival
·Entertainment Editor, HuffPost UK
·1-min read

John Leslie has been cleared of sexual assault, following a week-long trial.

The former Blue Peter presenter was found not guilty by a jury at Southwark Crown Court on Monday, after being accused of grabbing a woman’s breasts at a Christmas party in 2008.

John Leslie pictured arriving at Southwark Crown Court on Monday (Photo: PA)
John Leslie pictured arriving at Southwark Crown Court on Monday (Photo: PA)

A jury of nine men and three women returned the verdict after just 23 minutes of deliberations.

Leslie – real name John Stott – cried and nodded towards the jury it was announced.

Judge Deborah Taylor said: “Mr Stott, 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.”

The TV presenter’s father Les Stott, who has attended court every day with his son for the past week, hugged him after he left the dock.

Leslie had previously told the jury he could not remember being at the party, and described the single allegation of sexual assault from December 5 2008 as “crazy” and “ludicrous”.

A file photo of John Leslie (Photo: PA Archive/PA Images)
A file photo of John Leslie (Photo: PA Archive/PA Images)

Giving evidence, he said: “I would not have touched her like some mannequin and walked off.”

He told the jury he had previously been made out to be an “aggressive, sexual monster” by the tabloid press, as he denied ever assaulting any woman, saying it is “not in my nature”.

He said he had become reclusive, paranoid, depressed and suicidal amid the allegations, saying: “I lost everything.”

He was supported during the trial by friends and former Blue Peter colleagues Anthea Turner, Diane Louise Jordan, Yvette Fielding and ex-This Morning co-host Fern Britton, all of whom gave character references.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.