Jimmy Savile scandal: Report reveals Savile was Britain’s most prolific abuser
A SIX-DECADE reign of sexual abuse committed by Jimmy Savile against vulnerable youngsters was laid bare in a chilling report yesterday that revealed his victims included an eight-year-old boy and seriously ill children.
The former presenter was one of Britain’s most prolific sexual predators who used his fame and celebrity status to “hide in plain sight” and “groom the nation”, stated the report compiled by the Metropolitan Police and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). Its findings show Savile was responsible for 214 criminal offences across the United Kingdom.
The BBC television and radio presenter’s earliest reported offence was committed in Manchester in 1955 and the final reported allegation was in 2009.
No fewer than 34 rapes have been recorded against his name, 28 of them against children.
His oldest known victim was aged 47.
His harrowing catalogue of abuse included five offences committed in Scotland. Such is the scale of Savile’s depravity outlined in the 37-page report that its publication elicited shocked reactions from seasoned child protection experts, who described it as a “watershed moment”.
Presenting the “unprecedented” findings, Detective Superintendent David Gray said: “The sheer scale and the severity of his offending is appalling.”
It came as the top prosecutor in England and Wales, Keir Starmer, admitted Savile could have been charged for offences against at least three victims before his death at the age of 84 in October 2011. “I would like to take the opportunity to apologise for the shortcomings in the part played by the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service] in these cases,” Mr Starmer said.
The report, entitled Giving Victims a Voice, analysed when and where Savile was able to prey on his victims over the course of 54 years. It revealed how he sexually abused a teenager at a hospice, one of a host of medical sites he frequented to target youngsters.
Fixty-six of the alleged incidents took place in 14 hospitals. He assaulted 16 of his victims at Leeds General Infirmary, and attacked someone who was visiting a dying child at the Sue Ryder Wheatfield hospice in Leeds. At Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, a child Savile abused died, but someone who witnessed what happened came forward.
He also committed 14 offences at schools around the country, the report said. Some of them took place after children had written to him as host of the popular BBC series Jim’ll Fix It.
Savile’s surviving victims expressed shock and anger at the length of time it had taken to expose his predatory behaviour and asked why nobody had attempted to put an end to their suffering.
While the BBC and the Department of Health are among a number of organisations embroiled in the scandal to have launched internal investigations into how the entertainer slipped under the radar, the joint report stopped short of pinning any blame on other institutions that may have “missed past opportunities” to stop Savile.
His abuse spanned his entire career at the BBC, and included sexually touching a teenage girl at the final recording of Top of the Pops in 2006.
Savile also abused patients at Leeds General, where he worked between 1965 and 1995, and committed offences at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, which treats patients with severe spinal injuries, between 1965 and 1988.
He targeted residents at Surrey children’s home Duncroft School between 1970 and 1978.
Since October, a total of 450 people have come forward alleging sexual abuse by Savile, of whom three-quarters were children at the time of the offences. The peak of his offending was between 1966 and 1976, when he was aged between 40 and 50.
Scotland Yard officers are investigating the possibility that Savile was part of “an informal network” of paedophiles.
Commander Peter Spindler, head of the Met’s specialist crimes unit, who is leading the investigation into Savile’s abuse, said the report “paints a stark picture emphasising the tragic consequences of when vulnerability and power collide”.
He said: “Savile’s offending footprint was vast, predatory and opportunistic. He cannot face justice today, but we hope this report gives some comfort to his hundreds of victims. They have been listened to and taken seriously.” He added: “It could be said that he groomed a nation. He was hiding in plain sight, but none of us were able to do anything about it.”
The BBC said it was “appalled” that Savile had preyed on victims on its premises and again apologised to his victims.
Downing Street said all the organisations concerned needed to investigate properly the latest “appalling” allegations.
“The Prime Minister’s view of this is that it is absolutely right that every institution involved gets to the bottom of what has gone on,” David Cameron’s official spokesman said.
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper called for “a proper over-arching review led by child protection experts into why everyone failed to stop Savile and what should be done now”. She added: “A myriad of small reviews and inquiries into how it could happen in different hospitals or the BBC are just not enough.”
Peter Watt, director of child protection advice and awareness at the NSPCC, said: “It’s clear Savile cunningly built his entire life on gaining access to vulnerable children. The sheer scale of Savile’s abuse over six decades simply beggars belief.”
The report was part of Operation Yewtree, which has now ended its investigation into claims against Savile. However, the operation is still pursuing two other strands – allegations involving Savile and others, and allegations against others.
1955 A victim is abused by Savile in Manchester, the earliest reported offence.
1965-88 Savile’s abuse at Stoke Mandeville Hospital goes on for 23 years.
1965-2006 Savile’s abuse at the BBC spans a 41-year period.
1970-78 Savile abuses girls at Duncroft Approved School, in Middlesex.
1980s A female tells the Met she was assaulted in Savile’s camper van in a BBC car park. No trace of the police file has been found and the investigating officer has died.
2003 A victim tells the Met she was touched inappropriately by Savile on Top Of The Pops in 1973 but says she does not want to take it further unless other victims have come forward. No other victims are found and the matter is left on file.
2006 Savile apparently abuses at least one victim on the final edition of Top Of The Pops.
2007-2009 Police investigate two allegations of abuse at Duncroft school and one of assault at Stoke Mandeville. Savile is interviewed but released without charge.
2008 Savile begins legal action against a newspaper that linked him to abuse at a children’s home in Jersey, saying he had never visited. A photograph of him at the home leads Savile to admit he had been there. Police investigate but drop the case due to insufficient evidence.
2009 The last reported offence: police quiz him over indecent assault at Duncroft but CPS says there is insufficient evidence.
Number of victims could double, says man who revealed scandal
The number of victims who fell prey to Jimmy Savile could double, with current figures “a mere drop in the ocean”, a child protection expert said yesterday.
Mark Williams-Thomas, who presented the original ITV documentary that exposed Savile as a dangerous sexual predator, said he could have targeted hundreds more victims.
“For anybody who works in this area, the sheer scale is quite shocking,” he said. “When you deal with sex offenders, they are quite specific in their targeting. What is different with Savile is that there’s no specific target in terms of ages or sexes. He ranged from male to female, children to adults. It’s truly shocking. The offence at the last Top Of The Pops was when he was 79 years old, and he was still offending.”
Scotland Yard is investigating allegations against Savile and other high-profile figures. So far, officers have interviewed ten people in relation to alleged sexual offences.
Mr Williams-Thomas said he knew of a number of other well-known names who had not yet been interviewed by police but were under investigation.
Yorkshire town may strip fallen star of civic honour
Jimmy Savile may be stripped of his freedom of the borough status next month, Scarborough council has said.
His name was removed from the roll of honour board in Scarborough town hall late last year after widespread allegations of abuse emerged.
However, councillors in the North Yorkshire seaside town said they would wait for the Metropolitan Police investigation to finish before meeting again to decide whether to officially strip him of the title.
Tom Fox, leader of Scarborough Borough Council, said yesterday: “My immediate consideration is that the abhorrence of each and every substantiated allegation is such that a most important responsibility of Scarborough Borough Council is to ensure a motion is presented to our next full council meeting on 22 February to remove Jimmy Savile’s Freedom of the Borough of Scarborough honour and ensure his name
is permanently removed from all records of the honour.”
Contrition and repeat apology follow ‘shocking revelations’
The BBC said last night it was “appalled” that Jimmy Savile preyed on victims on its premises and repeated its apology to those affected.
A report by Scotland Yard and the NSPCC revealed that the television presenter committed sexual offences while employed by the BBC, including at the recording of the last episode of Top Of The Pops in 2006.
A BBC spokesman said: “The police report into Jimmy Savile contains shocking revelations.
“As we have made clear, the BBC is appalled that some of the offences were committed on its premises.
“We would like to restate our sincere apology to the victims of these crimes. The BBC will continue to work with the police to help them investigate these matters.
“We have also set up the Dame Janet Smith review to help us understand how these crimes could have been committed and how we can avoid them happening ever again.”
It was revealed yesterday that Savile allegedly sexually touched a girl aged 13 to 16 at the final Top Of The Pops recording.
He was also invited into schools when children wrote to him as part of the Jim’ll Fix It series.
A total of 14 offences has been recorded which relate to schools, the report said.
The BBC has launched its own review of the culture and practices at the broadcaster during the years in which Savile worked there, between 1965 and 2006.
It also undertook a separate investigation, the Pollard review led by former Sky News executive Nick Pollard, which examined a shelved Newsnight report into Savile’s abuse.
Mr Pollard found that the decision to drop the story plunged the BBC into “chaos and confusion”, revealing a corporation where “leadership and organisation seemed to be in short supply”.
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