No further action over Leslie rape claim

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The Independent Culture

No further action will be taken over a rape allegation made against former Blue Peter presenter John Leslie, police confirmed today.

The latest allegation against Leslie was claimed to have taken place at a party at his home in Sheen, west London.

It was reported his accuser was in her early 20s when she claimed she was attacked.

The Metropolitan Police said today that officers had investigated an allegation of rape and indecent assault on a woman from November 1995.

The force said that following advice from the Crown Prosecution Service no further action would be taken.

Leslie's law firm released a statement on his behalf, saying he was "delighted" and the complaint was "ridiculous".

It also said there was "little justice and no fairness" in what Leslie and his family had been put through, having his name dragged through the mud once again.

The statement said: "We have today been informed by the Metropolitan Police that the complaint against John Leslie has been dropped.

"Yet again, after a complete and thorough investigation, it has been confirmed that there is no truth or substance to the damaging allegations that were made against our client last month.

"He is of course delighted. The complaint was ridiculous, but yet again and for a second time his name has been dragged through the mud before the law has had a chance to confirm his innocence.

"The law confers a blanket of anonymity on complainants but the accused enjoys no such protection.

"Instead his reputation, his character, his career and his family are regarded as fair game by the media.

"There is little justice and no fairness in what our client and his family have been put through."

Leslie was acquitted of two counts of indecent assault on a 23-year-old actress in 2003.

She came forward to police in 2002 after Leslie was sacked from This Morning following allegations arising from TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson's autobiography - although she had not named him.

In recent years, Leslie has pursued a career away from showbusiness as a property developer in Scotland.

He attended Teddington police station last month after the fresh allegation surfaced.

The next day he released a statement in which he condemned "lies about my private life" and said: "I certainly did not attack this person as I have never attacked anyone."

Leslie said at the time: "I was interviewed for 30 minutes and released on bail. Five years ago I helped the police complete a thorough investigation into malicious claims against me...

"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."

Leslie said: "If I sound bitter, it is because I am."

He said the lies "that destroyed my public career in 2003... now threaten the private life which I have been happy to lead since then".

He said: "When, I ask, is this nightmare going to end? If it is considered acceptable to launch an investigation after 13 years, then why not 20 or 30 years?"