Jimmy Savile scandal spirals with 340 complaints
THE police investigation into the sex crimes of the late Sir Jimmy Savile has mushroomed, with detectives now chasing 340 separate lines of inquiry involving up to 40 potential victims.
The Metropolitan Police revealed the figures yesterday and said officers were in contact with 14 other forces across Britain, including Tayside, as the number of allegations of rape and sexual assault against the television presenter continued to rise.
So far, 12 allegations of sexual offences have been officially recorded, but this number is increasing, Scotland Yard said.
BBC director-general George Entwistle last night offered a “profound and heartfelt apology” to the alleged victims as he announced that two inquiries would be launched.
One will look into whether there were any failings over the handling of an abandoned Newsnight investigation into the DJ and broadcaster. A second independent inquiry will look into the “culture and practices of the BBC during the years Jimmy Savile worked here”, Mr Entwistle said.
“It will examine whether that culture and those practices allowed him or others to carry out the sexual abuse of children. It will also examine whether the BBC’s child protection, whistle-blowing and bullying and harassment policies and practices are now fit for purpose.”
Speaking at a press conference at New Broadcasting House in London, Mr Entwistle added: “As the director-general of the BBC, I have made clear my revulsion at the thought that these criminal assaults were carried out by someone employed by the BBC and that some may have happened on BBC premises, as well as… in hospitals and other institutions across the UK.
“I have one thing to repeat –that is a profound and heartfelt apology on behalf of the BBC to every victim.”
As the BBC and three hospitals where Savile worked for decades as a volunteer and fundraiser were yesterday engulfed by allegations that officials turned a blind eye to his eccentric and now criminal behaviour, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg stepped into what has been described by Lord Patten, the chairman of the BBC Trust, as a “cesspit”. Mr Clegg said people in the BBC and the police must have known that Savile was abusing young girls.
He said: “I just keep asking myself, ‘Why did this remain buried for so long?’ I have been thinking about this a lot, because I just cannot understand how this remained hidden for so long.
“There must have been just so many people who knew what was going on in hospitals, the BBC, maybe in the police.
“The only explanation I can come up with is what we are seeing is the dark side of the culture of celebrity and actually, in this case it wasn’t a culture of celebrity, it was the cult of celebrity.
“I get the impression people felt that with all that glitter and shine, there can’t be a dark side, there can’t be a seedy side. We need to teach our kids… that however rich you are, however famous you are, however glamorous you are, everyone has to live by the same rules.”
Meanwhile, a former BBC TV director on Jim’ll Fix It and Top of the Pops has come forward to say he reported Savile to his superviser after he caught the presenter having sex with a “very, very young girl” in his dressing room.
David Nicolson, 67, said when he reported the incident, he was told: “That’s Jimmy”.
It was also claimed yesterday that Savile was banned from visiting a council-run children’s home after he molested a 12-year-old girl.
A woman, who did not want to be identified, said he was told to leave the care home in his home city of Leeds after staff found him in a bedroom with the girl in the 1970s.
She said the girl was indecently touched by the former DJ, but a social worker advised her not to report it to the police.
The witness said the woman in charge of the home “ran upstairs and found him” when she realised he had taken the girl into a bedroom.
Manchester-based law firm Pannone yesterday also said it had received allegations that Savile had assaulted a ten-year-old boy while the youngster was at Haut de la Garenne children’s home in Jersey.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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