Reporter who claims she was sexually assaulted accuses BBC of refusing to hand over evidence

Ex BBC reporter who claims she was sexually assaulted by Elite model agency boss Gerald Marie while working undercover for Donal McIntyre show in 1998 accuses corporation of refusing to hand over evidence vital to her legal case

  • Lisa Brinkworth, 55, has demanded the BBC hand over film made after assault 
  • She accused Gérald Marie, 73, of sexual assault while undercover as a model 
  • Up to fifteen women have accused the former ‘paedophile’ modelling boss 
  • Read more: ‘Paedophilemodelling agency boss ‘raped models as young as 14’

A journalist who went undercover as a model for a BBC expose in the 1990s has slammed the corporation for refusing to hand over vital evidence in her sexual assault case. 

Lisa Brinkworth, 55, says materials she filmed while working for Donal MacIntyre Investigates in 1998 could help in her legal action against Gérald Marie, 73. 

The former president of the European arm of Elite Models, Marie has been accused by fifteen women of sexually assaulting and raping girls as young as 14 because he thought virgins were ‘unphotogenic’. 

Ms Brinkworth’s legal team believe that the vital evidence will stop her case being thrown out of the French courts. 

Lisa Brinkworth said the BBC should cooperate with the alleged victims and hand over what her legal team believe to be 'objective' evidence

Lisa Brinkworth said the BBC should cooperate with the alleged victims and hand over what her legal team believe to be ‘objective’ evidence 

Gérald Marie, 73, has been accused of raping girls as young as 14 while president of the European arm of Elite Models

Gérald Marie, 73, has been accused of raping girls as young as 14 while president of the European arm of Elite Models

A judge has been appointed to assess the evidence submitted by the alleged victims. 

Ms Brinkworth told The Telegraph that the BBC must cooperate with the victims and their lawyers. 

She said she had repeatedly requested access to material she filmed in the aftermath of the alleged assault. 

‘I filmed my testimony in the immediate aftermath of the assault as my own personal record. On the recording, I am visibly shocked and it is obvious I have just undergone a traumatic experience.

‘This tape was never intended for broadcast but still the BBC refuses to hand it over.’

The journalist had been filming when she alleges Mr Marie pinned her down on a chair and attacked her. 

She had been posing as a model within the agency to expose the treatment of women within the industry.

Her legal team has emphasised that despite public commitments from the BBC they have not received the footage or notebooks Ms Brinkworth used. 

French lawyer Anne-Claire Le Jeune said she believed the BBC held ‘objective evidence’. 

‘Despite its statements of intent, the BBC has not provided us with all of the evidence they have, citing the confidentiality agreement they have with Elite.’

The BBC aired the MacIntrye programme in November 1999, and it alleged that Ms Brinkworth was attacked in a nightclub in Milan, Italy, in October 1998.  

Elite Models took legal action against the corporation over the programme. 

A settlement in 2001 saw the BBC promise not to rebroadcast or share any of the material gathered in research – including the tape of Ms Brinkworth. 

She says that being unable to access the resources closer to the time of the assault stopped her from going to French police. 

Her case is currently hampered by a 20-year statute of limitations and her legal team fears that only the vital evidence they believe the BBC has will stop her case being thrown out.  

The BBC broadcast an expose on the fashion industry, including Elite Models, who took legal action against the corporation. Ms Brinkworth has gone undercover as a model during the investigation

The BBC broadcast an expose on the fashion industry, including Elite Models, who took legal action against the corporation. Ms Brinkworth has gone undercover as a model during the investigation 

In 2019 the BBC released some of the material with a journalist investigating #MeToo. 

Ms Brinkworth said women involved with the case had reacted with shock when they discovered that the BBC had settled with Elite.  

‘They still see it as a betrayal. They were sickened by what happened.’

She said the alleged victims would be writing to the BBC chairman to demand that he progress the case and said it was time for senior management to intervene.  

‘With a judge being appointed to look at all our evidence, it is crucial that all the evidence is ready at hand. 

‘I believe that if the BBC does not cooperate in the coming weeks, then they are using the settlement to shield a known and dangerous predator who has harmed countless lives.’ 

Investigative journalist Donal MacIntyre said it was ‘egregious’ and ‘unsettling’ that the BBC was not co-operating.

‘I am quite sure that when cool and dispassionate heads are applied to this matter, with the recognition that the licence fee payer expects the best of the BBC in these instances, that the board of governors will take control and put things right.’

A spokesperson for the BBC said that they recognised that the issue was distressing for Ms Brinkworth. 

‘We take these matters very seriously and we know this is distressing for Lisa Brinkworth. 

‘Our lawyers have provided documents to the French investigators and to Lisa. We have been in discussions with Lisa and her lawyers on how we can help further as the legal process progresses.’ 

Ms Brinkworth claimed in legal papers submitted last year that Marie, former boss of the Elite agency, wanted her dead because she claimed he sexually assaulted her. 

Prosecutors accused Marie of using the Russian Mafia to try and kill Ms Brinkworth, after she exposed him as a sex abuser. 

Marie said that the links with the death of TV presenter Jill Dando, who was murdered outside her home in Fulham in 1999, have been ‘made up so as to try and get the statute of limitations removed.’ 

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