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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Disgraced Jimmy Savile subjected hospital patients to 'truly awful' sexual abuse for more than four decades - report

Published 26/06/2014 | 10:13

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Sir Jimmy Saville prepares for The Bupa Great North Run on October 1, 2006 in Newcastle, England. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Jimmy Saville. (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Disgraced presenter Jimmy Savile subjected patients in hospitals across the country to "truly awful" sexual abuse for more than four decades, a series of chilling reports have revealed.

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Savile's victims at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) ranged from five-years-old to pensioners and included men, women, boys and girls, an investigation into abuse claims at one of 28 NHS hospitals has found.

At high-security hospital Broadmoor, Savile sexually abused at least five individuals, including two patients who were subjected to repeated assaults.

Investigators discovered members of staff at the LGI failed to pass on complaints of abuse to senior managers, who could have acted to stop it happening.

And they also found "clear failings" in the way access to wards in Broadmoor was controlled, as Savile had keys allowing him unrestricted access to ward areas within the security perimeter.

A joint statement from NHS chiefs described the findings of the investigations as "truly awful", while both current chief executives of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and West London Mental Health NHS Trust, which covers Broadmoor, apologised to victims.

The inquiry into his activities at LGI after he started his association in 1960 included the testimonies of 60 people who gave accounts of their experiences with Savile to investigators - 33 of these were patients. Three of these incidents were rapes, the investigators said.

The Leeds team said 19 of those who came forward were under 16 years old and the age range was five to 75. They said the majority were teenagers but 19 victims were hospital staff - all women.

At Broadmoor, investigators found sexual relationships between staff and patients were tolerated in what was a "clear, repeated failure of safeguarding standards".

There was an atmosphere within the hospital that tolerated inappropriate behaviour and discouraged reporting, the probe said.

Savile's "often flamboyantly inappropriate" attitude towards women was see as part of his public act, "just Jimmy", the report found.

In a disturbing finding, it was noted that Savile sometimes watched as female patients undressed for baths in the wards, and at other times looked through doorways while making inappropriate comments.

While fewer assaults were reported to have taken place at Broadmoor than other hospitals, the inquiry concluded that Savile was "an opportunistic sexual predator" throughout the time he was associated with the institution and attributed the smaller number of complaints to an atmosphere of fear among staff as to what might happen if they did report incidents.

Investigator Dr Bill Kirkup said the report's findings are "likely to represent an underestimate of the true picture".

Savile, a Radio 1 DJ who also presented the BBC's Top Of The Pops and Jim'll Fix It, died aged 84 in October 2011 - a year before allegations that he had sexually abused children were broadcast in ITV documentary Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile.

The documentary ultimately led to a joint review by the Metropolitan Police and NSPCC into allegations that the television presenter abused women, girls and boys.

The findings of the review, published in January last year, saw 214 criminal offences, including 34 rapes, recorded against Savile's name across the UK between 1955 and 2009.

Claims that some of the abuse happened in hospital settings triggered separate NHS investigations published today.

A key report into his activities at Stoke Mandeville Hospital has been delayed after new information recently came to light.

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