Pressure on TV presenter to deny Ulrika rape

by ALISON BOSHOFF and REBECCA ENGLISH, Daily Mail

The television presenter accused by Ulrika Jonsson of raping her has refused to discuss the allegation with network bosses.

Miss Jonsson made the claim that she was the victim of a date rape in her autobiography, Honest. It happened, she said, in 1988 when she was training as a weathergirl on TV-am.

Since the details were published last week, she has refused to name her alleged attacker or speak to police about the allegation.

But news of his identity spread rapidly through the showbusiness world over the weekend after she revealed in an interview on Friday that he is a fellow celebrity.

She also alleged that other women in the industry claim to have suffered at his hands.

But when challenged, the man, who is a household name, would only say: 'No comment.'

The lack of a firm denial is making executives jumpy. 'No one can understand why he hasn't just said, "It wasn't me",' said one TV source.

And a senior television executive remarked last night: 'This man's career is now finished, whether his name is out or not. Who is going to want to give him a job - and what woman will want to work with him?

'Ulrika is fondly regarded in the business, whereas this man already has a reputation as a womaniser.'

When they realised that the man's identity - which is known to the Daily Mail - was an open secret, his employers felt they had to confront him.

It is understood that he said only: 'I won't comment.'

A senior source at the network which makes his programme said: 'We cannot act until his name is linked with the allegations openly. What action would be taken then, I cannot say.'

If his name was published the network would have to take him off screen, because the allegations are so serious. And it would almost certainly have to continue paying him until the end of his contract.

The presenter has not taken out an injunction to prevent publication of his name, but is relying on the laws of libel.

There was no reply at his house in the Home Counties yesterday. And his agent had been told not to comment. Miss Jonsson, 35, whose autobiography was serialised in the Daily Mail, was also attempting to keep out of the limelight by going on a family outing with ex-husband John Turnbull and her two children.

A friend said she would not change her mind. 'She feels that if she was going to pursue him over the rape allegation, it is now far too late.

'She didn't do it at the time because it would have been her word against his. She never planned to name him in the book, and won't do it now.'

The friend denied accusations that the star was being 'cowardly', saying: 'In her opinion, this man has a sickness. He is a serial sex pest.

'She hoped that by referring to what he had done in her book, it would be a big enough scare to ensure he would take a long look at his behaviour.

'I don't think she realised that all this would happen.'

Police have signalled that they would be willing to investigate a rape claim, but only if Miss Jonsson complains.

Miss Jonsson claims the man attacked her in her hotel room while she was getting ready to go to the cinema with him.

'We kissed a bit, but I was quite keen to get going so as not to miss the film and tried lightly to dissuade him,' she says. 'I pulled away, only for him to pull me back towards him until he eventually pushed me on to the bed.

'I landed on my back and remember saying out loud, "No, no don't". I felt I didn't have the power to stop him.'

She says she suffered internal bruising so severe that she spent four days in hospital.

Details of the alleged rape were aired on Channel 4 in Ulrika Jonsson: The Trouble With Men, on Thursday. She was questioned about it again by Jonathan Ross on his BBC1 show on Friday.

Asked why, if there were other victims, did she not go to the police, she replied: 'Maybe I am lacking in the courage.'

No comments have so far been submitted. Why not be the first to send us your thoughts, or debate this issue live on our message boards.

We are no longer accepting comments on this article.

Who is this week's top commenter? Find out now