Sunday 25 February 2018

Jimmy Savile 'boasted he wore huge rings made from the glass eyes of dead bodies'

Heather Saul

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

Savile's victims at hospitals ranged from five-year-old children to 75-year-old pensioners and included men, women, boys and girls, who were patients, visitors and staff, an investigation into claims of abuse at 28 NHS hospitals including Broadmoor psychiatric hospital has found.

Investigators were given "macabre accounts" of Savile "acting unacceptably" with dead bodies in the mortuary at Leeds General Infirmary.

One witness was cited in the report as saying he “wore huge rings that he said were made from the glass eyes of dead bodies” held in the mortuary there.

The investigation heard the entertainer claimed to have "interfered with the bodies of deceased patients".

Dr Sue Proctor, who led the investigation into his abuse at LGI, said a student nurse recalled a conversation with Savile in which he claimed he performed sex acts on the dead.

She said there is no way of verifying the claims regarding corpses, but said it should be considered in context that controls around access to the mortuary in the 1980s were "lax".

At Broadmoor, investigators found "clear failings" in the way access to wards was controlled, as Savile had keys allowing him unrestricted access within the security perimeter.

Female patients there in the 1980s were often required to strip and bathe in front of staff, during which Savile would often watch and sometimes made inappropriate comments, the report found.

It said his "flamboyantly inappropriate" attitude towards women was considered as part of his public act, "just Jimmy". The report also described an inappropriate culture of sexual relations between staff and patients.

Fewer assaults were reported to have taken place at Broadmoor than other hospitals, but the inquiry attributed the smaller number of complaints to an atmosphere of fear among staff as to what might happen if they did report incidents.

Members of staff at the LGI also failed to take complaints of abuse to senior managers, who could have acted to prevent it from re-occuring.

The reports on LGI, which Savile had a 50-year-association with, and Broadmoor are the most extensive to emerge. It comes after allegations that he had abused children were broadcast during an ITV documentary in 2012, which saw over 100 people come forward with accounts of abuse at the hands of Savile in hospitals.

This prompted individual investigations by hospital trusts, which was overseen by Kate Lampard QC for the Department of Health.

The Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has issued an apology to the victims on behalf of the government in the Commons over Savile's "sickening" actions, saying: "We let them down badly."

He said: "At the time the victims who spoke up were not believed and it's important today that we all publicly recognise the truth of what they have said. [...] Today's report (says) that in reality he was a sickening and prolific sexual abuser who repeatedly exploited the trust of a nation for his own vile purposes."

NHS chiefs described the findings of the investigations as "truly awful" in a joint statement, while the 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 his association with the hospital began in 1960 included the testimonies of 60 people who gave accounts of their experiences with Savile - 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".

Eleven complaints of sexual abuse were reported to investigators, involving three children, six patients and two members of staff.

A key report into his activities at Stoke Mandeville Hospital has been delayed after new information recently came to light. A separate report by the NSPCC also found Savile abused at least 500 victims.

Independent News Service

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