Freddie Starr begins damages claim with woman over allegations of grope at Jimmy Savile show

Freddie Starr is in the High Court starting his claim for damages today Credit: PA

Freddie Starr is beginning damages claims against a woman who says she was groped by the comedian when she was 15 while in the audience at Jimmy Savile show 'Clunk Click'.

72-year-old Starr, who lives in Warwickshire, was at London's High Court in a wheelchair to face his accuser, Karin Ward, at the start of a two-week slander and libel trial before Mr Justice Nicol.

He told the judge, who is hearing the case without a jury, that he did not at first remember appearing on Clunk Click in March 1974 - 41 years ago - until footage showed him in the studio, with Ms Ward in the audience behind him.

Questioned by Ms Ward's advocate, David Price QC, Starr rejected the allegation that he had groped the teenager in Savile's dressing-room and called her a "t**less wonder".

He said:

"It just never happened. It was not in my moral compass. My moral compass will not allow me to do that."

Freddie Starr

Starr, who was married to the second of his four wives at the time, said he had never groped anyone in his life and it was untrue that he had "wandering hands".

The father-of-five also denied Ms Ward's claim that he smelt of alcohol which frightened her - as he did not drink, and never had done.

Starr, of Studley, who is suing over interviews given to the BBC and ITV in October 2012 and statements on a website and in an eBook about Ms Ward's life, claims he has lost £300,000 because of shows cancelled as a result of the allegations.

Karen Ward appearing on ITV's Exposure programme in 2012. Credit: ITV

Ms Ward, 56, denies the claims and relies on the defences of justification and public interest.

Mr Price asked Starr about the evidence of another 15-year-old girl who, like Ms Ward, was a pupil of Duncroft Approved School at the time, who said Starr gave her a piece of his pubic hair as a "souvenir" of the evening.

Starr said:

"I've never heard so much garbage in my life."

Freddie Starr

Mr Price said Starr's response in his witness statement was that it could not have happened because the very tight trousers he wore in the '70s would have prevented him putting his hand down his groin. Starr replied:

"That would be sick."

Freddie Starr

Mr Price said:

"It would be sick if you did it, and would show a sexual interest in young girls of that age."

David Price QC

Starr said he was shocked when he heard about the girl's allegation:

"I certainly wouldn't do that. It's sick and disgusting."

Freddie Starr

He also dismissed as "fiction and lies" a claim by another 15-year-old girl who attended the show that Starr had engaged in a "passionate French kiss" with her.

"My wife was with me at that show. I had three lovely children. I don't see how I could have acted so inappropriately."

Freddie Starr