John Leslie condemns 'trial by media' after new rape accusation

John Leslie, the former Blue Peter presenter has denied a new rape allegation made against him, saying it is "totally untrue" and describing it as "the mother of all stitch-ups".

Mr Leslie, 43, said that, five years after similar charges against him were dropped, he was once again being subjected to "trial by media". In an emotive statement outside his solicitor's office in London, a defiant Mr Leslie said it was with "a mixture of anger and distress" that he was "forced yet again to talk about lies about my private life".

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

The statement was reminiscent of scenes in 2003, when he was cleared on two counts of indecent assault against a 23-year-old actress in 1997, and told by a judge that he left the court "completely innocent and without a stain on my character" – an assertion he repeated yesterday.

Despite being cleared of all charges, Mr Leslie lost his £200,000 job as presenter of ITV's This Morning, and was forced to abandon his television career.

Mr Leslie confirmed he had voluntarily attended Teddington police station in south-west London on Monday afternoon, where he had been questioned by detectives for half an hour.

He was arrested on suspicion of a crime allegedly committed in November 1995 and released on bail.

"Lies that destroyed my public career in 2003 now threaten the private life which I have been happy to lead since then,"Mr Leslie said. I am accused of attacking a person 13 years ago. I do not even know who this person is. I am asked to recall events from one night in November 1995. I defy anyone to remember what they were doing 13 years ago on a particular night". It remains unclear as to why the latest allegations have surfaced now. Mr Leslie said he had "hoped the police would be able to conduct their investigation in confidence, and that I would not be prejudged".

"Regrettably," he added, "as has happened in the past, the details of a private police inquiry have been leaked to the press and I face trial by media.

"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?" he said.

"There was open season on me in 2003. I was subjected to an eight-month police inquiry. I was pilloried in the press ... Now, five years later, it all starts again. Another person, protected by the anonymity the law gives them, is able to drag my name through the mud".

"My mother and father are beside themselves with worry. So if I sound bitter it is because I am. There is little justice and no fairness in what I and my family have been and are being put through."

His statement finished, Mr Leslie turned toward his solicitor's office, describing the allegations as "the mother of all stitch-ups".

Mr Leslie was first accused of rape six years ago when a fellow television presenter named him as the man Ulrika Jonsson claimed to have been raped by in her autobiography. No charges were made.

At the time, his television career appeared to be going from strength to strength.

In recent years, Mr Leslie has carved out a successful career as a property developer and has moved back to his native Scotland.

A TV career

1965 Born John Leslie Stott in Edinburgh.

1987 Moves to London to pursue TV career.

1989 Becomes presenter of Blue Peter and continues for four years.

1993 Begins relationship with Catherine Zeta Jones.

1994 Entertainment reporter on This Morning.

1997 Replaces Bradley Walsh as the presenter of ITV's Wheel of Fortune.

2001 Takes over full-time on This Morning. Begins dating Abi Titmuss, a former nurse.

2002 No charges brought relating to claims of rape by Ulrika Jonsson. Accused of indecent assault against a 23-year-old actress in May 1997. Charges later dropped.

2008 Accused of a sexual assault committed in November 1995.

ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Tovey says of homeless charity the Pillion Trust : 'If it weren't for them and the park attendant I wouldn't be here today.'
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little