Savile at centre of paedophile ring, police believe
THE Jimmy Savile scandal has uncovered child abuse on "an unprecedented scale", Scotland Yard has revealed.
The Metropolitan Police, which is investigating the possibility that Savile was at the centre of a child sex ring, has been contacted by a "staggering" 200-plus alleged victims since his paedophilia was exposed by an ITV documentary. Detectives are pursuing more than 400 lines of inquiry.
While the vast majority of the claims are understood to relate to the late DJ and television presenter, some victims have named abusers who are alive and who are expected to be arrested and questioned.
Other BBC personalities and staff are believed to be among those whose names have been given to the Operation Yewtree inquiry into Savile's child abuse.
Commander Peter Spindler said: "We are dealing with alleged abuse on an unprecedented scale."
The NSPCC said yesterday that Savile could be "one of the most prolific sex offenders the charity has ever come across".
The Metropolitan Police has asked the BBC to press ahead with its own investigation into child abuse at the corporation, being led by Dame Janet Smith, the former High Court judge.
A Met spokesman said that while Operation Yewtree was never going to result in a formal police investigation into Savile, the force had "established in the last two weeks that there are lines of inquiry involving living people that require formal investigation".
Although officers would not be drawn on how many suspects have been named by alleged victims, allegations of sex abuse have been reported in the media involving at least seven celebrities and BBC staff, several of whom are still alive. They include singer Gary Glitter, a soap star and a retired producer.
Yesterday, Bill Oddie, the 'Springwatch', said that "everybody knew" within the BBC that Savile had preyed on children.
He rubbished claims by Mark Thompson, the former director-general, that he was unaware of rumours about Savile, saying: "You worked at the BBC and you don't know anything about it? Don't be ridiculous. That is absolute nonsense." (© Daily Telegraph, London)