A WOMAN who was sexually assaulted as an ill teenager by Jimmy Savile in the basement of a hospital has called for reassurances that such abuse can never happen again.
Savile’s victim, now 57 – who asked to be identified only as Jane – said she spent decades believing she was the disgraced presenter’s “Chosen One”, not realising hundreds of others suffered like her.
Jane was assaulted at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) in 1973, and said she felt “utterly disgusted” after the now-deceased entertainer forced her to perform a sex act on him. She was “shocked” when the full extent of his abuse was revealed nearly two years ago.
The married mother-of-one said the assault followed what she now realises was a short period of grooming by radio and TV star Savile, who was volunteering at the hospital.
Jane, who lives in Yorkshire, said she wants an apology from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which she accuses of “betraying” her.
An in-patient being treated for the effects of a nervous breakdown, Jane was just 16 when Savile assaulted her. She described herself as young-looking with a pixie haircut, wearing a short, cheesecloth dress.
“I had seen Jimmy Savile around the hospital, everybody had,” she said. “From time to time, he came up on to the ward and he chatted to everybody.”
In late 1973, Savile struck up a conversation with Jane on the hospital ward, when he was volunteering as a porter.
“We got talking. He’d ask where I came from; I told him it was a little village near York. He said, ‘Oh right, I know that very well’. He said, ‘I do a lot of walking, charity walks, and I actually know someone from the village’. That was his opening line.”
A few days after their first conversation, Savile asked Jane to accompany him out of the hospital.
“He must have cleared it with staff – they were happy for me to go off the ward,” she said. “He took me down the stairs, out of the hospital, across the grounds and out to a newsagent, which was just outside the front steps.
“He went in and said, ‘My friend’s been poorly, let’s make her better’.
“I always remember this – the whole Jimmy Savile thing is like a snapshot in my mind – he actually cleared the whole counter with his arm. So there were magazines, papers, sweets, you name it, on the counter and they were delivered to the ward that afternoon.”
She added: “At that time, it was like I was the Chosen One. Down the line, it’s obviously grooming, we know this.
“There was so much media coverage about the good work he was doing, that he was working as a porter in the hospital, raising funds, it was just this kind of, almost like a superstar in those days,” Jane said. “As a 16-year-old, of course, he was paying attention to me, that was rather lovely.”
A few days after her trip to the newsagent, a porter approached Jane and said Savile wanted to see her. The porter took the teenager down some stairs into “depths of Leeds General Infirmary”, along an underground passage with huge heating pipes before approaching a door.
The mother-of-one said: “He knocked on the door, not a word was said, he knocked on the door and opened the door. And there was Jimmy Savile leaning up against the wall.”
Savile was dressed in a T-shirt and jogging trousers, Jane said.
She went on: “He gently pulled me in, there was no grabbing hold of me and screaming or anything like that. He gently pulled me in. He held me to him and he started to kiss me; he put his tongue in my mouth.”
Jane said Savile asked if she was taking the Pill, to which she replied “No”. He then made her commit a sex act on him.
“Then he said, ‘You’ve got to go’. He knocked on the door, a normal knock on the door, somebody else opened it from the other side, not the porter, a third person.”
Jane, who went on to work as a nurse, said she was taken back to the bottom of the stairs leading back to the ward. When she attempted to explain what happened to the nurses, she was cut short with laughter.
“I said to the nurses, ‘You wouldn’t believe what’s just happened’. I got as far as ‘Jimmy’ and they just laughed and that was the end of the episode.
“The staff certainly didn’t seem surprised that he was doing anything,” she said.
“I felt totally and utterly disgusted. I had a very Victorian upbringing and that wasn’t on the agenda.”
Jane said she wants an apology from the hospital and its trust. “I want an apology and to have assurances put in place that it won’t happen again – no, that it can’t happen again.”