Former Blue Peter host, John Leslie, says sex assault allegation is 'crazy' and 'not in my nature'

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Martin Evans
·2 min read
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John Leslie arrives at Southwark Crown Court
John Leslie arrives at Southwark Crown Court

Former Blue Peter presenter John Leslie said he was left a "suicidal recluse" and considered suing TV host Matthew Wright after he was accused on live television of having raped Ulrika Jonsson

The 55-year was giving defence evidence in his sexual assault trial having been charged with grabbing a woman's breasts at a Christmas party in 2008.

His voice breaking with emotion, Mr Leslie, said it was a "crazy" and "ludicrous" suggestion because sexual assault was not in his nature.

But the former This Morning host said for years he had been falsely portrayed by the tabloid press as an "aggressive sexual monster".

Asked about the incident in 2002 when he was named by Matthew Wright on television as the person who allegedly raped Ms Jonsson, Mr Leslie, said it had destroyed his life.

Mr Wright later said it had been a mistake and Ms Jonsson refused to discuss the matter. 

Mr Leslie was never charged in connection with the allegation but his television career never recovered.

He said he had considered suing Mr Wright but was advised he would never work in television again if he did so.

He said: "I became reclusive and suicidal. I lost everything after that. I lost my financial income, I lost the house I built, I lost my life."

He said as a result he became paranoid about going out in public.

"When I did go out, I was just aware I would never go near women because of what had been said because people thought I was that type of character."

Asked about the alleged incident in 2008, when he is accused of having grabbed a woman by the breasts, he said: "The idea that I would do that is just crazy, especially the way that I was with everything that had been going on.

"I was paranoid, I was aware and conscious of wherever I was. To go up to a total stranger I had never met and do that is just ludicrous."

Mr Leslie, who is appearing in court under his real name John Stott, denies sexual assault and the trial continues.