John Leslie was sexually assaulted by women who threw themselves at him in bars – but he would just “laugh it off”, a court heard.
TV stars Anthea Turner, Fern Britton, Yvette Fielding and Diane-Louise Jordan gave evidence on Thursday in support of the presenter who stands accused of groping a charity fundraiser’s breasts at a celebrity Christmas party in 2008.
They described him as a “gentleman” who they had never seen behave sexually inappropriately with any woman.
Most Haunted star Yvette, 52, who appeared on Blue Peter alongside Leslie, 55, claimed the presenter had himself frequently been the victim of female gropers.
She said: “He was inundated with lots of ladies. I have seen them throw themselves at him.
“Women go up to him squeezing his bum in bars and clubs.”
Giving evidence to Southwark Crown Court via videolink Yvette, who also appeared on I’m A Celebrity, said Leslie handled the attention “so well”.
“He’d just say in his Scottish accent, ‘Get away from me.'” she said. “He would laugh it off and move on.
“Never ever have I seen him behave in a disrespectful way to any woman or man.
“I have known him when he was single and in relationships and he has been nothing but a beautiful human being.”
Yvette said she once spent 10 days living in a hut in the African bush with Leslie while filming in Zimbabwe and said he was “nothing but a gentleman and a lovely person”.
“He averted his eyes when I had to go to the lavatory,” she said. “I considered him to be a brother to me.”
Yvette said she “doesn’t believe for a second” that Leslie is guilty of the sexual assault charge.
Fern, 63, who presented This Morning alongside Leslie, told police he had “always received a lot of attention particularly from the ladies”.
She said the breast-grope he is alleged to have committed “does not sound like the man I know”.
Anthea, 60, told the jury she regularly attended parties with her pal Leslie as his “plus one” when they worked on Blue Peter together and she had never seen him act inappropriately.
She said: “At the end he would make sure I was either in a car on my way home or would take me home.
“He was a gent.”
Anthea added: “I’m a woman and he was always incredibly respectful towards me.
“If there had been any stories I would know about them and there were none.”
Anthea said the charge he now faced “does not sit at all well with me”.
“This is not the man that I know – not at all,” she said.
“Not one part of me would believe that allegation.”
Diane-Louise, 60, said Leslie was a “gentleman” who had supported her when she joined Blue Peter months after losing her sister.
The TV presenter, who has hosted Songs Of Praise, said she shared a room with Leslie on filming trips and he had always behaved respectfully.
“I would sleep on his shoulder on trains and planes,” she said.`
“The reason I am here today – I requested to be here today – is because I feel so strongly about this.
“It just does not sit with the person I know. It’s destroying someone.”
Earlier under cross examination Leslie had told the jury the false sex claims he’s faced in the past had turned him into a “recluse”.
On rare occasions he did go out he would only go “somewhere that was a trusted environment and I felt safe”.
Leslie said he went to the celebrity party because he knew people there and hoped to network.
Leslie denies a sexual assault in a bar in London’s West End in 2008.
The alleged victim reported it nine years later at the height of the #MeToo movement.
The trial continues.