Wednesday 20 September 2017

Staff were told 10 times of Savile's abuse but did nothing

Jimmy Savile and Margaret Thatcher.
Jimmy Savile and Margaret Thatcher.

Adam Withnall

Victims told staff on 10 separate occasions about the abuse meted out by Jimmy Savile during his decades at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, a report has found, but their calls for help - including one formal complaint - were ignored.

Another report from Leeds found that the DJ claimed to have had sex with corpses at Leeds's hospital mortuary - and one witness claims she was warned about his activities there as early as 1954.

While evidence from Savile's victims at Stoke Mandeville suggested his behaviour was an "open secret" as early as 1973, after he started working at the Buckinghamshire hospital as a voluntary porter "with no checks, monitoring or supervision in place".

But on a key point for victims - whether or not senior management knew about the allegations against Savile - the report found complaints probably did not reach higher levels.

Liz Dux, a lawyer with the firm Slater and Gordon who is representing the majority of the victims, said: "It beggars belief that a report which has revealed Savile was widely known as a sex pest at Stoke Mandeville can find no evidence of management responsibility.

"Ten victims had reported their assaults to nursing staff on the ward include one complaint being made to management, yet still his deviant and sickening behaviour continued."

Some 37 of his victims, who included hospital patients, visitors and staff, were interviewed for the report and told of behaviour ranging from groping to rape. The report also said that Savile met the then-prime minister Margaret Thatcher, pictured below, to discuss the funding of the hospital's spinal injuries unit in February 1980.

She and Savile, who went on to receive a knighthood in 1990, later exchanged several letters about the unit.

Speaking at a press conference in London, investigator Dr Androulla Johnstone, who led the inquiry, issued a warning to all NHS services to "be alert to predatory sexual offenders like Savile who can be placed in a position of trust and authority".

His victims were random. A 12-year-old girl was attacked by Savile in the TV lounge after being admitted to have her tonsils out in 1977. The presenter walked the girl to the empty room, asked if she had a boyfriend and "swiftly raped her".

The girl was unaware of who Savile was at the time and described him to investigators as a white-haired porter who wore a gold chain and smoked cigars. She complained to staff following the attack but was told not to say anything by the nurse for fear of her, the nurse, getting into trouble. Savile sexually assaulted the girl again later that night.

In 1985 a 23-year-old woman visited her mother-in-law at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and heard that Savile was visiting a children's ward. As a fan of the DJ, she decided to go and see him, holding out her hand for him to shake. Savile did not let go and grabbed her breast so hard that it hurt. While holding her hand tightly, Savile put his hand up her skirt and sexually assaulted her, all the time scanning the ward to see if anyone was looking. (© Independent News Service)

Independent News Service

Editors Choice

Also in World News