A character witness at the trial – referred to as Miss G but now identified as Northern Ireland reporter Letitia Fitzpatrick – said she met the defendant when he was doing an interview with the BBC during an art class he was giving at Shankill Leisure Centre in Belfast in 1991.
She claimed that he forced his tongue into her mouth, and described him as “opportunistic and predatory”.
Ms Fitzpatrick said: “As I said goodbye, he grabbed my face in his hands and he pulled my face towards him and he forced his tongue into my mouth. I was really shocked. He pulled away, walked away, and it all happened in a matter of seconds.”
Speaking on BBC Newsline broadcast yesterday Ms Fitzpatrick said: “I was really shocked. He pulled away, walked away and it all happened in a matter of seconds.
“It came right out of the blue, there had been no flirtatious talk from him. I thought he was perverted, that it was disgusting but I didn’t think of it in terms of a criminal, sexual assault. I thought it was horrible, like the sort of thing that does happen to women occasionally.”
She said she told her husband and her sister about what happened, “but I didn’t tell anyone in authority in the BBC because I didn’t feel that it was anything to do with them”.
Ms Fitzpatrick said “it was such an unpleasant experience” and she “wanted to forget about it and move on and not really think about it again”.
“Every time I would see him on the television, I would remember that, you know, and as I grew older and had more experience of life, I often wondered if it had happened to other people,” she added. “It just was too, too slick. It was shocking and it was very unpleasant. I hated the thought that anybody else should have gone through that, especially if they were underage, any child.”