Tuesday 21 October 2014

Savile: 54 years of abuse

Gordon Rayner and Steven Swinford London

Published 12/01/2013 | 05:00

Jimmy Savile spent "every waking minute" of his life thinking about abusing children, attacked a patient in a hospice and even used the final edition of the BBC's 'Top of the Pops' to commit sex offences, police said yesterday.

The full scale of his abuse over a 54-year period is detailed in a Metropolitan Police report, which says 450 victims have come forward, though the true number of victims may be far higher.

Commander Peter Spindler, who is heading the Operation Yewtree inquiry into abuse by Savile and others, said the former 'Jim'll Fix It' presenter, who died in 2011 aged 84, had "groomed a nation".

He said Savile "preyed on the vulnerable and star-struck for his sexual gratification", attacking 23 victims at BBC Television Centre.

The youngest of his victims was eight, the oldest 47, and almost one in five were boys. Most were aged 13 to 16, but 28 were aged under 10 and 38 were between 10 and 13.

The report revealed that police dissuaded one of Savile's victims from giving evidence against him by telling her he was a "big celebrity" who would make "mincemeat" out of her in court.

Molested

The woman, who was molested by Savile in a caravan in the 1970s, made a complaint in 2008 but decided not to proceed because police told her she would be "all over the newspapers".

The 37-page report, called 'Giving Victims a Voice', "paints a stark picture emphasising the tragic consequences of when vulnerability and power collide", said Mr Spindler.

A total of 214 crimes have been identified in 28 police force areas, including 126 indecent acts and 34 rapes.

Savile began offending in Manchester in 1955, when he was a 29-year-old nightclub manager, the report says. Over the next 54 years, he used his celebrity and charity fundraising "to gain uncontrolled access to vulnerable people" in hospitals, schools and television studios.

But not all of his offending happened behind closed doors. In 1960, when a 10-year-old boy asked Savile for his autograph outside a hotel, Savile took him into the reception area and committed a serious sexual assault.

In 2009, the most recent attack, he got chatting to a 43-year-old woman on a train journey between Leeds and London and put his hand up her skirt.

Throughout his offending, he was "hiding in plain sight", the report says, knowing that most of his victims would be too afraid to speak out, while the few that did were not taken seriously.

Det Supt David Gray, the report's co-author, said: "He spent every waking minute of every day thinking about it. Whenever an opportunity came along he has taken it. He only picked the most vulnerable, the ones least likely to speak out against him."

The report says there is "no clear evidence" that Savile was part of a paedophile ring, though he could have been part of an "informal network".

Savile abused children and adults throughout his 41-year career at the BBC, using shows including 'Top of the Pops', 'Jim'll Fix It' and 'Clunk Click' to find victims. The first reported attack on BBC premises was in 1959, when Savile worked at Radio Luxembourg, and over the next 47 years he committed 23 sex attacks at BBC Television Centre in west London and 10 other attacks at radio and television studios elsewhere.

Between 1966 and 1976, as his fame grew to its height, he entered his "peak offending" period, committing up to 15 offences a year and 117 offences in total.

The report details one case in 1972 when a 12-year-old boy and two female friends attended a recording of 'Top of the Pops', saying that "during a break in filming Savile groped his genitals and the breasts of his two friends".

Offences

Savile's last reported attack at the BBC happened when he took part in the final edition of 'Top of the Pops' in 2006.

Savile used his position as a volunteer porter at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire to commit 22 offences from 1965-88, and at Leeds General Infirmary for 16 offences from 1965-95.

They were just two of 14 hospitals, psychiatric units and hospices where Savile used his status as a volunteer or fundraiser to find victims on 57 occasions. Great Ormond Street Hospital in London was the scene of an attack in 1971, as was Wheatfields Sue Ryder Hospice in Leeds in 1977.

Broadmoor, where Savile had his own room and made friends with Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, was the scene of another crime; as was Ashworth High Secure Unit in Merseyside, where Ian Brady, the Moors Murderer, is held.

Savile made regular appearances at Duncroft School in Staines, Middlesex, where he abused girls between 1970 and 1978, accounting for the majority of the 14 offences Savile committed at various schools.

Det Supt Gray said: "He went to a number of schools because children had written to him.

"The majority were from 'Jim'll Fix It' letters. He was invited to the premises at the behest of children."

Savile was investigated by police five times but was never charged.

The Crown Prosecution Service yesterday apologised for advising against charges, and the Met report says that "too often" the victims "were not taken seriously".

The NSPCC's Peter Watt, who co-wrote the report, said the scale of Savile's abuse "simply beggared belief".

A parliamentary committee is to discuss posthumously stripping Savile of his knighthood.

The Honours Forfeiture Committee, chaired by Bob Kerslake, the head of the Civil Service, will meet "soon" to decide whether it can take the unprecedented action. (© Daily Telegraph, London).

Irish Independent

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