Monday 23 October 2017

Evidence emerging Savile colleagues knew about 'abuse'

Jamie Doward

Credible evidence is emerging that former BBC colleagues of late TV presenter Jimmy Savile knew of claims that he was a serial abuser of young boys at many locations, including on the corporation's premises.

A lawyer in Britain, who specialises in sexual abuse cases, is taking evidence from 12 people, both men and women, who claim to have been abused by him.

Alan Collins, of Pannone solicitors, said he had spoken to several former colleagues of Savile, who said it was apparently well known within the BBC that he was "interested" in young boys.

"The claims appear credible," he said. "They are standalone allegations and stretch back to the early Seventies."

The BBC has begun a review into the "culture and practices of the BBC" during Savile's time there, led by former judge Dame Janet Smith.

Mr Collins' initial inquiries already suggest that serious questions will have to be asked about why alarm bells did not sound at the corporation decades ago.

"My inquiries show there were very strong rumours about Savile in the 1960s," Mr Collins said. "His former colleagues now seem able to expose his darker side, the difficult personality, and that it was well known at the time that he had a sexual interest in children."

The claims are a potential legal minefield for the BBC. If its managers were aware of the claims and failed to report them, Mr Collins argues, they could be found to have committed a criminal offence.

"The story is not about Savile. The real story is how was he able to get away with abusing children, if that is what was happening, for so long. They [the BBC] were in awe of this man and were scared of him," Mr Collins said.

Analysis

Sunday Independent

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