11 Jan 2013

Jimmy Savile ‘abuse’ at last ever Top of the Pops

Jimmy Savile sexually abused and raped girls as young as eight over a 54-year period, a report says, including an assault at the last filming of Top of the Pops in 2006.

The joint report, compiled by Scotland Yard, which is leading the Operation Yewtree investigation into abuse by the DJ and others, and the NSPCC, details the allegations against Savile between the earliest reported incident in 1955 and the last in 2009.

Alleged victims who have come forward range in age from eight to 47 years old at the time of abuse, according to the report, called Giving Victim’s a Voice. Of the allegations, 126 refer to indecent acts and 34 to rape/penetration offences (see graphic, below). In total police have recorded 217 allegations of offences against Savile.

The report says that allegations of offences committed by Savile on BBC premises range from between 1959 and 2006, when, at the age of 79, he co-presented the last ever broadcast of Tops of the Pops. It is understod that the assault was on a girl between the ages of 13 and 16, and involved her being groped over her clothing.

‘Shocking revelations’

The report also said allegations had been received of offending by Savile at Leeds General Infirmary, where he was a porter, between 1965 and 1995, at Stoke Mandeville hospital where he was also a porter, between 1965 and 1988, and at girls’ school Duncroft between 1970 and 1978.

Of the offences, 57 allegations relate to offences taking place in hospital premises (including hospices), 33 in television and radio studios, and 14 relating to schools.

It paints a stark picture emphasising the tragic consequences of when vulnerability and power collide. Commander Peter Spindler

A spokesman for the BBC said: “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. We would like to restate our sincere apology to the victims of these crimes. The BBC will continue to work with the police to help them investigate these matters.

“We have also set up the Dame Janet Smith Review to help us understand how these crimes could have been committed and how we can avoid them happening ever again.”

Predatory and opportunistic

The report also criticises the behaviour of institutions in relation to complaints by victims in the past. It says: “Perhaps the most important learning from this appalling case is in relation to the children and adults who spoke out about Jimmy Savile at the time.

“Too often they were not taken seriously. We must not allow this to happen again – those who come forward must be given a voice and swift action taken to verify accounts of abuse.”

Commander Peter Spindler, head of the Metropolitan police’s specialist crime investigations unit, said the report “paints a stark picture emphasising the tragic consequences of when vulnerability and power collide.”

I would like to take the opportunity to apologise for the shortcomings in the part played by the CPS in these cases. Keir Starmer, director of public prosecutions

“Savile’s offending footprint was vast, predatory and opportunistic. He cannot face justice today but we hope this report gives some comfort to his hundreds of victims, they have been listened to and taken seriously.

“We must use the learning from these shocking events to prevent other children and vulnerable adults being abused in the future. They will get a voice.”

Nationwide abuse

The locations of reported offending are predominantly in Leeds and London, with 34 offences under the jurisdiction of the West Yorkshire police force and 43 in the Metropolitan police area.

The report lists a number of allegations, including the serious sexual assault on a 10-year-old boy in a hotel reception in 1960, the rape of a 14-year-old girl at Savile’s home in 1965, and the serious assault on a 14-year-old girl in Savile’s car in 1974.

Police failures

A separate Crown Prosecution Service report, also released on Friday, criticises police and prosecutors for failures when handling the cases of four alleged victims in the 70s.

The report by Alison Levitt QC, principle legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions, says investigations by Surrey and Sussex police in 2007 and 2008 could have led to prosecutions against Jimmy Savile if victims had been taken more seriously.

She says the victims, who did not want to give evidence, were not given enough information or told that there had been other complaints against Savile.

We must seize the opportunity if we are to make a lasting change. Peter Watt, NSPCC

“Each of those to whom I have spoken has said that had she been given more information by the police at the time of the investigation, and in particular had she been told that she was not the only woman to have complained, she would probably have been prepared to give evidence,” the report said.

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said: “I would like to take the opportunity to apologise for the shortcomings in the part played by the CPS in these cases.

“If this report and my apology are to serve their full purpose, then this must be seen as a watershed moment.”

Overall, since Operation Yewtree began on 5 October 2012, 600 people have come forward with information. The investigation is split into three categories – offences committed by Savile on his own, offences committed by Savile with others, and offences committed by others separately from Savile. A number of high-profile arrests have been made in relation to the case.

Watershed moment

Peter Watt, NSPCC director of child protection advice and awarenness, who co-authored the report, said the Savile affair could be a watershed moment for child protection.

“We know from the huge increase in calls to the NSPCC helpline about sexual abuse that the problem did not die with Savile,” she said.

“Since the Savile scandal broke we have seen a surge in contacts about child abuse, both past and present, with many victims speaking out for the first time.

“Almost 800 additional children have been protected from abuse because the publicity around this case prompted people to contact our helpline. We are optimistic that this signals a watershed moment for child protection in this country. We must seize the opportunity if we are to make a lasting change.”