Savile raped 60 in terror reign at hospital
Seriously ill children and staff amongst victims in 24 years of perversion
Jimmy Savile raped and abused at least 60 people at Stoke Mandeville Hospital including seriously ill children, during a 24-year reign of terror, a report has concluded.
The victims ranged in age from eight to 40 and included patients, staff, visitors, volunteers and charity fundraisers.
But despite at least 10 of the victims reporting the abuse at the time, nothing was done to stop Savile, and senior management at the hospital claimed they were never made aware of what was going on.
In a harrowing report into the extent of his offending, it was found that Savile regularly wandered the wards attacking seriously ill youngsters, with staff sometimes turning a blind eye.
The report detailed how in 1977, Savile raped a 12-year-old girl, who had been admitted to Stoke Mandeville to have her tonsils out.
When she told a nurse what had happened she was told not to say anything or the staff would get into trouble.
She later wrote a note explaining what had happened on a torn-out page of a bible, putting her father's name and address.
She left the note in a red post box on the ward in the hope that someone would contact her family, but nobody ever did.
Twenty years later, she wrote to Savile's secretary, Janet Cope, explaining what had happened but she never got any response.
Also in 1977 Savile raped an 11-year-old girl, who was being treated for skin cancer at the hospital.
When she told a sister, she was told Savile would not do such a dreadful thing and to be quiet because he raised a lot of money for the hospital.
She later told her father what had happened but he decided not to pursue the complaint because she was seriously ill at the time.
Another youngster recalled how Savile, who claimed to be a devout Roman Catholic, systematically abused her in the hospital chapel.
One victim described how she was raped by Savile on at least 10 occasions from the age of eight.
On another occasion, Savile molested a 17-year-old girl in front of a camera crew, who she described as laughing as the abuse went on.
One girl, who was a child volunteer at the hospital, was abused on her 11th birthday, after asking Savile for an autograph.
He also attacked a 30-year-old patient on Christmas Day, the report revealed.
Savile began volunteering as a porter at Stoke Mandeville in Buckinghamshire in 1969 and was given accommodation at the hospital, allowing him 24-hour ,unfettered access to the wards and staff quarters. Despite the fact he was regarded as a "disruptive influence" and upset many members of the staff with his "constant sexual innuendo", Savile was described as being "feted by senior managers as an important asset to the organisation".
In the official report into his abuse, Savile was described as "an opportunistic predator who could also on occasions show a high degree of premeditation when planning attacks on his victims". The report went on: "Between 1972 and 1985, nine informal verbal reports were made about the abuse by his victims and in addition one formal complaint was made.
"The investigation found that none of the informal complaints were either taken seriously or escalated to senior management ."
The report went on: "Victims felt unable at the time to report Savile's behaviour. This was because they feared they would not be believed as Savile was seen as being a powerful and influential figure."
In 1980, Savile was appointed by the Thatcher government to fundraise and lead the commissioning process of the new National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville. The report stated that he treated the money raised by the public as his "own personal largesse".
Three other NHS trusts in Yorkshire published reports on Savile's activities. Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said it had examined a claim from a former student nurse about an incident during a placement in a Mencap nursery in Leeds between July 1981 and July 1982. She said was told by the nursery "not to let Savile near the children". The investigators decided that "any reference to Savile was a nuisance to residents in the area he lived, rather than a threat to children."
Another allegation came from a former patient in the Royal Halifax Infirmary during the mid 1970s.
Julie Dawes, deputy chief executive and director of nursing at Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT) said the trust has thoroughly investigated the allegations and has been unable to find any evidence of Savile having any link to the Royal Halifax Infirmary at that time. (© Daily Telegraph, London)