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Savile used hospitals to commit decades of abuse

Jimmy Savile was “a prolific, predatory sex offender” who committed abuse across several UK medical sites and could have been prosecuted for offences against at least three victims while he was alive, two separate reports said on Friday.

The disgraced TV presenter used his celebrity status to “hide in plain sight”, with 214 criminal offences now recorded against him across 28 police forces, a report by Scotland Yard and the NSPCC found.

It also revealed that Savile abused his victims at 14 medical sites including hospitals, mental health units and even a hospice.

Alison Levitt QC, legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), said Savile could have been prosecuted in 2009 had police taken victims more seriously.

DPP 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.”

A total of 450 people have come forward alleging sexual abuse against Savile since October, and within the recorded crimes, there are 34 rapes and 126 indecent acts, the police and NSPCC report said.

Of his victims, 73% were children, with the total victim age range between eight and 47 years old at the time of the offences.

Commander Peter Spindler, who is leading the national investigation into Savile’s abuse, said: “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.”

The offences involve the period when he worked at Leeds General Infirmary between 1965 and 1995.

Abuse at Stoke Mandeville Hospital took place between 1965 and 1988, while at Duncroft School, a children’s home, the allegations cover a period between 1970 and 1978.

The peak was between 1966 and 1976, when he was aged between 40 and 50.

Peter Watt, of the NSPCC, said: “The sheer scale of Savile’s abuse over six decades simply beggars belief. He is without doubt one of the most prolific sex offenders we have ever come across and every number represents a victim that will never get justice now he is dead. But with this report we can at least show his victims that they have been taken seriously and their suffering has been recognised.”

But the report stopped short of apportioning blame to other institutions and agencies that may have “missed past opportunities” to stop Savile.

It said these institutions must do “all they can to make their procedures for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults as robust and rigorous as possible”.

Detective Superintendent David Gray, from the Met’s paedophile unit, said Savile must have thought about his sex offending “every minute of every waking day”.

Mr Gray said: “Much as I think Savile could turn up at a hospital and expect to be given a warm welcome, he went to a number of schools because children had written to him.

“His peak offending came with the peak of his success.”

Leeds Teaching Hospitals said it would look into any complaints made to police about incidents at Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s University Hospital, where Savile worked as a volunteer and fundraiser.

It said it would also investigate information given directly to the Trust about this “extremely distressing subject”.

A spokesman for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust said: “In early December, the Trust published the terms of reference for its internal investigation into matters relating to Jimmy Savile’s long-standing involvement with the Leeds Teaching Hospitals as a volunteer and fundraiser.

“This will be a thorough and detailed piece of work and will be carried out in conjunction with parallel investigations by the Department of Health and other trusts. Work is now under way and we expect our report will be ready towards the end of this year.

“As part of this work our panel will look at approaches from people who have contacted the Trust directly to share information on this extremely distressing subject.

“The panel will also examine in detail any information the police pass to us about incidents reported to them at Leeds General Infirmary and St James’s University Hospital.”

 

Readers' comments (10)

  • Perversion of epic proportions but what drove Savile to this serial abuse of children and vulnerable adolescents? Answering this question is a valid pursuit. Savile had a poor upbringing in a strong catholic environment and a dominant mother. Was he subject to abuse himself and should this be investigated to establish the pathology of his appalling crimes?

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  • why is all of this only being investigated and discussed now such a long time after the events?

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  • Poor upbringing, dominant mother, strong Catholic environment?? all reasons maybe, excuses.. never.

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  • There needs to be caution here before making the assertion that being brought up in a specific religion (regardless of what that may be) must be a 'reason' or explanation for someone commiting such crimes. Research has consistently shown that there is no such thing as a “sex offender profile.” That’s because time and time again, despite attempts to identify a finite and specific set of characteristics that fits for all sex offenders, researchers continue to find that they are a diverse and heterogeneous population. So, although the label of “sex offender” might seem to suggest that individuals who commit these crimes are all alike, that is simply not the case. In fact, because they are such a heterogeneous group, it is sometimes difficult to discern how they are uniquely different from other types of criminals or from those of us in the general public, other than the fact that they have engaged in sexually abusive behaviors.

    Sex offenders can equally be of any religion or none. What you may find abhorrent, as I do, is that Saville has been portayed and labelled as a 'devout Catholic' and that Saville used it, and other aspects of his life, as a smokescreen. Blame the individual. Saville would have committed these crimes regardless.

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  • he was gross, he looked ridiculous, I never liked him,I found him very creepy.

    how he was allowed to get away with his appalling behaviour is unbelievable.

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  • Being a sex offender has nothing to do with what religion you are, what your appearance is or if you are rich or poor they come in all colours, religion, background etc. These people can come across as the most generious, likable and trustworthy person you could ever meet. The sad thing is as I write this comment there are people/children out there being sexually abused by someone.

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  • What an extraordinary post from Patrick Newman. I hope he's not involved in investigating allegations of sexual abuse, otherwise there'll be an awful lot of innocent Italians locked up.

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  • michael stone

    I do have a concern, about the furore (justified) about this affair.

    I do hope that we are not going to leap from ignoring the reports of the abused, directly to assuming that anyone accused is guilty !

    Typically, you seem to get that 'never balanced but swung to one extreme or the other' response to this type of thing: some bad cases of dog attacks come up, 'all dogs are dangerous', etc.

    I hope that we end up with some balance, at the end of this one - but I have my doubts, as achieving balance is ruddy difficult !

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  • 'all dogs are dangerous',
    Stone

    so are all nurses if you believe the media

    this is the problem of people sought for questioning by the police. their details are immediately splashed all over the front page of the press before any concrete facts have been established.

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  • sheila kempster

    Thank you to those above for clarifying religion and faith is NOT predictor of a sex offender! Talk about generalising, labelling and stereotyping people.

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