Saturday 20 January 2018

Savile 'did hospital rounds'

Martin Beckford, Neil Midgley and Sam Marsden

STOKE Mandeville Hospital is under pressure to set up an inquiry after it was claimed that nurses knew Jimmy Savile went on "ward rounds" to find young patients to abuse.

Staff at the Buckinghamshire hospital were said to have told girls on the children's ward to "pretend to be asleep" so they wouldn't be taken to his on-site flat.

As the scandal continued to grow, it emerged that nine police forces have received reports of sex abuse involving Savile.

The chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten of Barnes, admitted that Savile, who Scotland Yard described as a "predatory sex offender", may not have acted alone and raised the prospect that the corporation may have to make an on-air apology for not stopping him.

Savile is thought to have molested girls in his dressing room at the BBC and preyed on vulnerable young people in approved schools, children's homes and at the hospitals where he worked as a volunteer porter and fundraiser.

A former patient at Stoke Mandeville, Rebecca Owen, told 'BBC News' last night that nurses knew about his behaviour and did not welcome his visits.

He began volunteering as a porter there in the 1970s and had use of a flat on site while he helped to raise £40m (€49.8m) for its spinal injuries centre.

"There was some sort of ironic chatter between them about who would be the lucky one to go off to his room," she said.

"And then, as one of the nurses was passing by my bed, she leant over and said the best thing you can do is stay in bed until he's gone and pretend to be asleep."

It has also been claimed that Savile kissed two under age girls when they were recovering in a children's ward, and fondled a nine-year-old boy in the back of his Rolls-Royce at a fundraising event.

Shocked

He was once found backstage at the BBC with a 14-year-old girl who was recovering from cancer, it has been reported, while another woman claimed he tried to "groom" her for abuse following a choir performance at Stoke Mandeville.

Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, has insisted it never received any complaints about Savile. A spokesman said the trust was "shocked" to hear of the allegations.

The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust, which is still based at the hospital, is considering renaming Jimmy's Cafe on the site.

The BBC has faced accusations of a cover-up since the claims started emerging last week. Senior figures insisted that no one knew about Savile's behaviour and initially resisted demands for an internal inquiry.

As the head of the BBC's governing body addressed the "cesspit of appalling allegations" in detail for the first time, Lord Patten said there would be an independent inquiry as soon as the police investigation allowed. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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