Page last updated at 16:31 GMT, Tuesday, 24 June 2008 17:31 UK

Leslie denies new rape allegation

Former Blue Peter presenter says new rape allegation against him is 'totally untrue'

Former Blue Peter presenter John Leslie has described an allegation of rape made against him as "totally untrue".

Scotland Yard earlier confirmed that a man in his 40s had been questioned over an allegation of rape and sexual assault dating from 1995.

Mr Leslie said he "certainly did not attack this person", claimed the inquiry had been "leaked" and said that he again faced "trial by media".

He said that, "if I sound bitter, it is because I am."

Reading from a statement, Mr Leslie said: "I certainly did not attack this person as I have never attacked anyone.

"My mother and father are beside themselves with worry, so if I sound bitter it is because I am."
John Leslie

Regrettably, as has happened in the past, the details of a private police inquiry have been leaked to the press and once again I face trial by media.

"It is thus with a mixture of anger and distress that I am forced to talk yet again about lies about my private life, lies that destroyed my public career."

The former host of ITV's This Morning was accused in 2003 of two counts of indecent assault on a 23-year-old actress in May 1997, but the charges were later dropped.

Mr Leslie added: "I am accused of attacking a person 13 years ago. I do not even know who this person is.

"Another person protected by anonymity that the law gives them is able to drag my name through the mud.

"My mother and father are beside themselves with worry, so if I sound bitter it is because I am."

He said there was "little justice" in what his family was being put through and he appealed for privacy.

The Sun newspaper says the accuser was in her early 20s at the time of the alleged attack.

Name outed

No charges were brought against the TV presenter, who was born in Edinburgh, following allegations arising from fellow host Ulrika Jonsson's autobiography, released in 2002.

The book itself did not name him, but he was named in an apparent mistake by another TV host, Matthew Wright.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said on Monday night of the current allegations: "Officers are investigating an allegation of rape and indecent assault on a woman dating from November 1995.

"At approximately 7pm this evening a man aged in his 40s attended a London police station by appointment and was arrested in connection with the inquiry.

"He was interviewed and bailed pending further inquiries to a date in late August."

Mr Leslie was the 18th Blue Peter presenter for four years from 1989 alongside Anthea Turner and Caron Keating.

At the same time, he was appearing in newspaper columns for his high-profile social life and a relationship with Catherine Zeta Jones, before she moved to Hollywood.

In the 1990s he worked on ITV game show Wheel of Fortune and daytime programme This Morning, taking over as co-host with Fern Britton when Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan left in 2001.

Following the allegations made against but later dropped, Mr Leslie lost his job on the programme.




SEE ALSO
John Leslie's varied TV career
24 Jun 08 |  Entertainment


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