Freddie Starr insists there was 'nothing sexual' about slapping girls' 'lovely' bums in court

Comic is suing woman over claims she was assaulted by him in 1970s

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Freddie Starr admitted that he would give a “lovely bum” a slap during the 1970s, but insisted it was “nothing sexual” in court yesterday.

The 72-year-old comedian is claiming £300,000 in damages from Karin Ward, 56, after she claimed he assaulted her at a Jimmy Savile show in 1974.

Mr Starr, of Studley in Warwickshire, claims interviews given by Ms Ward and her e-book detailing the alleged abuse caused him to lose hundreds of thousands due to cancelled shows.

Ms Ward, a mother of seven, denies the damages claims against her and relies on the defences of justification and public interest. Following an investigation by police into Ms Ward’s allegations against him, the Crown Prosectution Service decided no charges should be brought against Mr Starr.

In court yesterday, Mr Starr said: “You used to slap a girl's bum. It was nothing sexual. It did not mean anything. It was just to say they had a lovely bum.”

He reportedly told the court that “back in the day” slapping a girl’s bottom was “accepted”.

But, he added that he was “sorry about the seventies.” He told the court: “That’s the way it was. If someone reacted adversely, I would apologise immediately.”

Mr Starr had told judge Mr Justice Nicol – who is hearing the case without a jury – that he had no recollection of appearing on the Clink Clunk show in 1974, where the alleged assault took place.

However, footage later emerged that appeared to show Mr Starr at the show, with Ms Ward behind him in the audience.

The comic and father-of-five rejected Ms Ward’s claims that he had groped her in Savile’s dressing room. “It just never happened. It was not in my moral compass. My moral compass will not allow me to do that,” he said.

The slander and libel trial is expected to continue for another week.