UK

DJ Neil Fox denies nine sex offences

Neil Fox and his wife 16 April 2015 Image copyright PA
Image caption Neil Fox leaves court with his wife Vicky

DJ Neil Fox forcefully kissed three girls under the age of 16, magistrates in Westminster have heard.

The 53-year-old, who denies nine sex offences against six complainants, allegedly "forced his tongue" into the mouth of a girl aged 13 or 14.

The allegations, spanning more than two decades, also include a charge that he grabbed hold of a 16-year-old girl at Chessington World of Adventures.

Mr Fox is due in court again on 30 April for a case management hearing.

Details of what the Magic FM presenter, known as Dr Fox, is alleged to have done can be reported after his barrister, Jonathan Caplan QC, asked for the usual reporting restrictions that apply to preliminary court hearings to be lifted.

Mr Caplan said there had been a lot of false reports about what his client had allegedly done.

'Predatory behaviour'

Mr Fox faces seven charges of indecent assault and two of sexual touching without consent, over a period from 1991 to 2014.

One of the complainants alleges that Mr Fox, from Fulham in south-west London, repeatedly assaulted her at Capital Radio's studios in London's Leicester Square.

Two other women claim to have been sexually touched against their will at Magic FM's premises in Winsley Street in central London, between January 2003 and August 2014.

Prosecutor Darren Watts told the court: "The Crown argue that the complaints show a consistent and determined pattern of sexual predatory behaviour on the part of the defendant which spans some 23 years."

He said Mr Fox assaulted two girls at a motor show in Bromley, south-east London, in summer 1991, at which he was appearing in his capacity as a DJ.

Mr Fox is also alleged to have kissed a girl aged 13 or 14 and forced his tongue into her mouth after she asked for a photograph with him.

The court heard a second teenager was assaulted by Mr Fox in a similar manner at the event, and she claims he also put his hand up her skirt.

A third complainant, who was also under the age of 16, alleges that, while she was at Chessington World of Adventures theme park in April 1996, she asked the DJ for a photo and a kiss.

He allegedly grabbed hold of her, causing her to back away.

The ages of the complainants range from the 13 or 14-year-old to a woman who was 36.


Analysis

By Lisa Hampele, BBC News correspondent

In an unusual move, Neil Fox's barrister asked for regular reporting restrictions which apply at this stage in court proceedings to be lifted.

Jonathan Caplan QC made the request because he said he wanted to "safeguard a fair trial".

He said there'd been a lot of speculation on social media about what his client had allegedly done, and that created prejudice against him.

The chief magistrate at Westminster Magistrates' Court, Howard Riddle, granted the application.

So, details of the allegations can be given. The alleged victims will remain anonymous.


Four of the alleged indecent assaults are said to have taken place at Capital Radio between January and December 2003.

It is alleged that on one occasion he put his arms around a woman and squeezed her breasts, that he would regularly touch her bottom, and that one incident involved him simulating sex with one of the complainants.

During one of the alleged assaults at Magic FM, Mr Fox is said to have walked up behind a complainant and kissed her shoulder.

"When questioned about his actions, he has said 'Oh, I just had to. You look as if you taste so good'," Mr Watts said.

Mr Fox, who was first arrested in September last year, then again in December and last month, has been granted bail.

He has elected to have his trial at the magistrates' court.

The DJ, who rose to fame presenting the chart show on Capital Radio, was a judge on Pop Idol between 2001 and 2003 alongside Simon Cowell, Pete Waterman, and Nicki Chapman.