AT LEAST 500 victims as young as two were abused by Jimmy Savile, new research shows.
A study by the NSPCC, commissioned for BBC’s Panorama, reveals confidential documents examining the extent of Savile’s offending and his access to Broadmoor hospital, Berkshire, where some of his abuse took place.
The report said the scale of Savile’s offending inside Broadmoor is higher than previously thought, with Thames Valley Police having received 16 reports of abuse by him inside the hospital.
It also describes how some civil servants erroneously referred to the Top Of The Pops presenter as “doctor”.
The figures show the most common age group for Savile’s victims was 13 to 15 – and the youngest alleged victim was just two years old.
Peter Watt, the NSPCC’s director of child protection, said: “There’s no doubt that Savile is one of the most, if not the most, prolific sex offender that we have ever come across.”
The joint BBC investigation between Panorama and The World At One, which airs today on BBC One and BBC Radio 4, asks how the DJ got so close to the heart of Britain’s establishment and why, in 1972, the BBC failed to take effective action that might have saved young people from abuse.
In 1988, health minister Edwina Currie appointed Savile to head a taskforce to address tensions between Broadmoor’s management and unions. A confidential Department of Health memo obtained by Panorama suggests that his appointment was pushed by a civil servant.
The documents suggest civil servants were impressed by the entertainer, who died in 2011.
They refer to him as “doctor” Savile and say he wanted to “ease out” staff at the hospital. They say he went through each of the main departments at the hospital like a “dose of salts”. Savile became involved with Broadmoor through the League Of Friends charity in the late 1960s. He was later given a set of keys and a house in the grounds.
One of Savile’s alleged victims said she was targeted by the entertainer at a BBC talent audition as a 14-year-old in 1971.
She said she was later groomed over a two-year period by Savile in his Top Of The Pops dressing room at the BBC. Asked why she returned, she said: “Every time he did a bad thing he would do a good thing … you know, I promise I’m going to get you an agent and they’re going to get you paying gigs.”
In the early 1970s a newspaper report into an alleged sex scandal at the BBC prompted an internal inquiry by Sir Brian Neill. His report suggested there should be clear guidance about which BBC staff should be responsible for the behaviour and control of young audiences going to see Top Of The Pops.
But Panorama and The World At One have seen a memo written in August 1972 by the BBC’s controller of television administration, which suggests that the advice was not acted on.
It has been reported that the Dame Janet Smith review into the DJ is expected to uncover hundreds of victims and reveal a culture of ignorance which “protected” Savile.
A BBC spokesman said: “We’re unable to give a commentary on statements in these documents as they are over 40 years old, but the review is considering the culture of the BBC during this period and has had our full co-operation.”