JIMMY Savile’s holiday cottage in the Scottish Highlands is to be auctioned off by trustees of the disgraced television presenter’s estate to help fund compensation to hundreds of the victims he sexually abused.
The cottage in Glencoe became a target for vandals who daubed graffiti such as “Jimmy The Beast” on its walls after it emerged that the Jim’ll Fix It star was prolific sex abuser.
There were calls for the property, which is visible from the main public road, to be demolished. However others in the community argued Allt-Na-Reigh cottage should be sold off as a family home or preserved as a mountain rescue centre or museum.
Alan Collins, of Manchester solicitors Pannone, said the cottage, home to Scottish climbing legend Hamish MacInnes during the 1960s and 1970s, would be put up for sale.
“My understanding is the place is going to be sold at auction because it is unlikely to attract interest any other way,” he said. Mr Collins, whose firm is representing more than 40 victims who said they were abused by Savile, said that although trustees NatWest Bank have frozen Savile’s £4.3 million estate, there was nothing to prevent the sale of the house.
Mr Collins added that any money raised from the sale would be frozen pending the outcome of compensation cases.
Claims are unlikely to be contested by Savile’s multi-million-pound estate because of the strong evidence against the disgraced presenter and could be concluded within a year.
Last night, Andrew Baxter, a councillor from Fort William and Ardnamurchan ward said that whilst the community had wanted to distance themselves from Savile, he had always believed the cottage should only be demolished as a last resort.
“I’m glad to hear that at last something is going to happen to the house. I was always concerned that after it was left empty it became a magnet for vandalism following the revelations about Savile.
“I hope that whoever purchases it makes the best use of it and brings it back into occupancy as quickly as possible.”
Last night mountaineer, writer and broadcaster Cameron McNeish said he was pleased the cottage, which had played an important part in the history of Scottish mountaineering, was to be saved. “My main concern was that there had been calls for it to be demolished. I’d love to see a family there, if not, it being used by a mountaineering club.
“It is a cottage which has a lot of mountaineering history to it and I’m pleased that there will be no further talk of it being demolished.”
Mr McNeish said that while living in the cottage MacInnes had invented some of the ice axes and tools which have since gone on to be used by mountain rescue teams.
Operation Yewtree, which is investigating allegations of sex crimes against the former DJ and presenter and a host of other celebrities, has recorded 450 complaints against Savile, who died in 2011 aged 84. A report released in January by Scotland Yard and the NSPCC revealed that 214 criminal offences had been recorded against Savile, including 34 rapes.