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Saturday, November 21, 2015
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The 50-year-old former Blue Peter star was quizzed after a 22-year-old woman was allegedly assaulted hours after he handed out a gong at a radio station’s awards ceremony on Thursday.
Leslie – who was once accused but not convicted of a series of sex attacks dating back to 2002 – is understood to have been suspended from his job as a day time DJ for Radio Forth while police continue their investigation.
The Radio Forth Awards show, held at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall on Thursday afternoon, saw him mingle with guests including The Voice winner Stevie McCrorie, chart toppers Travis and comedian Stephen K Amos.
VIPs then went to an after-party at the city’s trendy club Lulu’s. It is not known whether Leslie attended.
Leslie did not host his Friday afternoon show. A spokesman for Radio Forth owner Bauer Media declined to comment, but an insider said: “A Radio Forth presenter is currently off-air.”
Yesterday, there was no answer at Leslie’s stone-built £500,000 bungalow in the upmarket area of Morningside in the Scottish capital.
When our reporter approached the door of the property, two female plain clothespolice officers emerged from a nearby car. They said he was not at home but refused to elaborate further.
At just after 5pm another police car arrived and four detectives entered the property, one carrying what appeared to be a large brown evidence bag.
One guest who attended the awards said: “John’s brother Grant was compering the event and John presented the award. He was there with a male friend and seemed pretty chipper, but not as if he’d had a lot to drink.
“None of the Forth presenters were at the beginning of the after-party. It was for guests who had been in the Usher Hall.”
Images on the radio station’s website show Leslie posing with singer McCrorie after presenting him with an award for best performance.
The star looked relaxed on stage, wearing a grey tweed jacket, navy blue tie and red ribbon to mark World AIDS Day next month.
At his parents’ home in nearby Fairmilehead, a man believed to be John’s father Leslie Stott said: “We have nothing to say at the minute.”
Leslie’s brother – Forth One presenter Grant Stott – also remained tight-lipped at his nearby home.
Leslie’s dazzling TV career included hosting Blue Peter, stints on the Wheel of Fortune, and co-hosting This Morning.
But in 2002 it all came crashing down when he was identified by Channel 5’s Matthew Wright as the unnamed attacker Swedish TV host and Gladiators presenter Ulrika Jonsson had accused of raping her in her autobiography.
After he was named, an image of him apparently snorting cocaine appeared on the front page of a national tabloid newspaper.
He was dropped from his £200,000-a-year job presenting This Morning with Fern Britton.
Jonsson has never said whether the correct person was named and Leslie has always denied any wrongdoing.
In 2003, he was accused of two counts of indecently assaulting a 23-year-old actress in 1997.
He was cleared of all charges and afterwards made a tearful statement on the steps of London’s Southwark Crown Court, saying: “I am an innocent man.
“We always believed justice would prevail and the truth would out. I said I would clear my name and today I have.”
But he faced further scandal when a sex tape of him, model girlfriend Abi Titmuss and another woman appeared on the internet.
Titmuss later claimed she had bought cocaine for the threesome. And in 2008, more accusations against Leslie emerged in relation to an alleged rape, but no charges were brought.
In an interview last month, Leslie spoke about his dramatic fall from grace and how he wishes he had sued after charges against him were dropped.
He said: “I lost everything overnight. ITV said I’d forfeited the right to have my contract paid up and the whole thing was a mess. Everything around me was on fire and money just wasn’t at the top of my list of considerations.
“It was about maintaining my innocence. I’d gone from earning over £300,000 to not a single penny.
“I also started having to pay for lawyers and PR agencies, so any savings I had disappeared. I spent about £500,000 on legal costs but at least I wasn’t in jail.
“One of my biggest regrets was not suing the papers and Channel 5, but I was advised if I sued the TV companies they’d never touch me again. I took the advice but the phone never rang.”
Leslie has not had regular TV work since, but in recent years has worked on radio.
A police spokeswoman said yesterday: “We are investigating a report of a sexual assault on a 22-year-old woman, which took place between Thursday evening and Friday morning. Inquiries are ongoing.”
Sex claims drove Leslie to brink of suicide
By Halina Watts
Tormented Leslie has claimed he thought about killing himself over sex attack claims that destroyed his career.
In 2013 he said: “Every day when you leave the house you are reminded of it. I was never able to move on. It was like an illness that couldn’t be cured.
"I once contemplated suicide because I couldn’t see a way out. I thought that was one way I could stop the pain for Mum and Dad.
“People still recognise me. It’s probably not because of what happened but I’m always thinking people are judging me.
“Some people still have a pop and it’s been 10 years now, but I’ve also had an enormous amount of support.
“For a time I was scared to go near anybody, frightened of how women perceived me. My problem is I’m very tactile with boys and girls but you can’t do that.
“I should have been far more responsible. I got myself into situations that weren’t good for me.
"There were parties I shouldn’t have been at, people I shouldn’t have been with. My life has been shattered because of the false accusations.”