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Thursday 2 October 2014

Savile a ‘prolific sexual predator’ who abused children as young as eight, say police

Margaret Davis and Jamie Grierson

Published 11/01/2013 | 08:42

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Jimmy Savile

JIMMY Savile was "one of the UK's most prolific known sexual predators" who abused children as young as eight across six decades, a chilling report concluded today.

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The disgraced TV presenter used his celebrity to "hide in plain sight" - but now has 214 criminal offences recorded against his name in 28 police forces, including 34 rapes.

Presenting the findings of the Metropolitan Police and NSPCC, detective superintendent David Gray said: "The sheer scale and the severity of his offending is appalling."

And in a separate report, Britain's top prosecutor Keir Starmer admitted Savile could have been charged for offences against at least three victims before his death in 2011.

Laying bare the full scale of his depravity, it emerged Savile sexually abused a dying teenager at a hospice, one of 14 medical sites he used to prey on his victims.

His abuse spanned from 1955 to 2009, covering his entire career at the BBC, and included sexually touching a teenage girl at the final recording of Top of the Pops in 2006.

But the joint report stopped short of pinning any blame on other institutions that may have "missed past opportunities" to stop Savile.

A total of 450 people have come forward alleging sexual abuse against Savile since October - of whom 73pc were children at the time of the offences.

The peak of his offending was between 1966 and 1976, when he was aged between 40 and 50, the report said.

Savile abused patients at Leeds General Infirmary, where he worked between 1965 and 1995, and committed offences at Stoke Mandeville Hospital between 1965 and 1988.

He attacked children at children's home Duncroft School between 1970 and 1978 and also committed 14 offences at schools across the country, partly when children had written to him as part of Jim'll Fix It.

And the report disclosed that Savile was accused of sexually touching a teenage hospice patient, aged 13 to 16.

Commander Peter Spindler, who is leading the national investigation into Savile's abuse, said: "Savile's offending footprint was vast, predatory and opportunistic. He cannot face justice today, but we hope this report gives some comfort to his hundreds of victims. They have been listened to and taken seriously."

Mr Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, said Savile could have been prosecuted in 2009 - two years before he died - had police taken victims more seriously.

He said: "I would like to take the opportunity to apologise for the shortcomings in the part played by the CPS in these cases. If this report and my apology are to serve their full purpose, then this must be seen as a watershed moment."

Surrey Police consulted with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) about four allegations reported between 2007 and 2008 but it was decided that no prosecution could be brought because the victims would not support police action.

However, Alison Levitt QC, legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions, concluded that "had the police and prosecutors taken a different approach" charges could have been brought against Savile in relation to three victims.

The police report said it would be "naive" to view the case as the isolated behaviour of a "rogue celebrity" - but the "context of the 1960s and 1970s" should be recognised.

"It was an age of different social attitudes and the workings of the criminal justice system at the time would have reflected this," it said.

It said institutions involved must do "all they can to make their procedures for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults as robust and rigorous as possible".

David Cameron's official spokesman said the Prime Minister believes it "is absolutely right that every institution involved gets to the bottom of what has gone on".

The BBC said it was "appalled" that Jimmy Savile preyed on victims on its premises and again apologised to those affected.

A spokesman said: "The police report into Jimmy Savile contains shocking revelations. As we have made clear, the BBC is appalled that some of the offences were committed on its premises."

Peter Watt, director of child protection advice and awareness at NSPCC, said Savile was one of the most prolific sex offenders the NSPCC has dealt with in its 129-year history.

He said: "It's clear Savile cunningly built his entire life into gaining access to vulnerable children.

"The sheer scale of Savile's abuse over six decades simply beggars belief."

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