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Friday 22 August 2014

Fifty of Savile's victims will seek compensation from BBC

Arj Singh, Jamie Grierson and Margaret Davis

Published 12/01/2013 | 11:00

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MORE than 50 of Jimmy Savile's sex abuse victims will seek compensation from the BBC, the NHS, the disgraced TV presenter's estate and other organisations, their lawyer has said.

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The full scale of the late DJ's 54-year campaign of abuse was revealed in a report yesterday which revealed that among Savile's victims were an eight-year-old boy and seriously ill children.



Branded one of the UK's most prolific known sexual predators, Savile now has 214 criminal offences, spanning the breadth of the UK, recorded against his name - including 34 rapes.



The Department of Health (DoH) and BBC are among a number of organisations embroiled in the scandal and, alongside the late star's estate, could now face substantial payouts.



The DoH and BBC have launched internal investigations into how the entertainer slipped under the radar and was allowed to abuse on such an unprecedented scale.



His crimes 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.



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 also targeted residents at children's home Duncroft School between 1970 and 1978.



Savile's victims expressed shock and anger at the length of time it has taken to expose the DJ's predatory behaviour and that nobody attempted to put an end to the suffering.



The lawyer representing over 50 of Savile victims, Liz Dux, said all of them would be pursuing civil claims for compensation.



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



Ms Dux said all her clients - the number of whom is rising - were suing Savile's estate and would also pursue claims against the organisations responsible for where the abuse took place.



And she insisted they were not doing it for the money.



"All the victims that we are representing are wanting to pursue civil claims," Ms Dux said.



"Compensation is the only thing we can really do for them but that is not their particular motivation for doing this.



"It is for getting their stories out there to get them believed and to prevent it from happening again. You don't do it for the money.



"All of them have claims against Savile's estate and in addition the BBC and various hospitals and so on where the abuse took place."



Ms Dux said the claims would be placed "on a moratorium" until the various inquiries into Savile's abuse had finished.



Yesterday, presenting the "unprecedented" findings of a Metropolitan Police and NSPCC joint report, Detective Superintendent David Gray said: "The sheer scale and the severity of his offending is appalling."



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



Uncovering the full scale of his depravity, detectives said Savile sexually abused a teenager at a hospice, one of 14 medical sites he used to prey on his victims.



He also committed 14 offences at schools across the country, partly when children had written to him as part of his popular BBC series Jim'll Fix It.



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



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



It also disclosed that Savile was accused of sexually touching a teenage visitor, aged 13 to 16, at Wheatfield hospice in Leeds in 1977.



Scotland Yard officers are investigating the possibility that Savile was part of "an informal network" of paedophiles.



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



He apologised for the shortcomings of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in these cases.



Surrey Police consulted with the 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.



But Alison Levitt QC, legal adviser to the DPP, 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.



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



"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," a spokesman said.



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