Savile 'a prolific, predatory sex offender'
Television star Jimmy Savile thought about abusing children “every minute of every waking day”, the police officer investigating his decades of abuse has said, following a report that nearly 500 victims dating back to the 1950s have come forward.
Children, mostly young teenagers, though one was as young as eight, were fondled in the BBC Top of the Pops studio, hospitals, even a hospice, according to the joint Metropolitan Police-National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children report.
The investigation was sparked by an ITV exposé last October when five women claimed Savile had abused them during the 1970s – though the BBC could have aired allegations against him a year earlier, but it abandoned a programme.
The earliest abuse dates back to 1955 when he was a porter in Leeds General Infirmary, while the latest occurred in 2009 when the broadcaster – who died in 2011 – was 83 years old.
Most of his victims were fondled, groped or forced to place their hands on his private parts, but 34 rapes are alleged – 26 girls and eight boys – along with 126 cases of indecent assault, detectives have been told.
In all, there are 450 allegations. So far, detectives accept that 214 criminal offences occurred throughout Britain and the Channel Islands, although none has been recorded to date in Northern Ireland.
He could have been prosecuted two years before his death, but prosecutors and police were too cautious and, in effect, frightened a number of women away from giving evidence against him.
While his youngest victim was eight, his oldest was a man aged 47 who was held at a psychiatric institution in the west of England which Savile visited ostensibly to help patients.
Nearly three-quarters were under 18 and most of them were between 13 and 16, while four in five were female – often fans who had applied for tickets to Jim’ll Fix It or Top of the Pops.
Described as a predatory sex offender, Savile’s most prolific years as an abuser occurred between 1965 and 1976 – from his 40s to his 50s, according to the Metropolitan Police-NSPCC report.
In 1965, he met a 14-year-old girl at a disco. Later, she came to his home in Leeds where she was raped. In 1972, Savile groped a 12-year-old boy’s genitals during a break in a Top of the Pops’ recording.
A year later, he befriended a 16-year-old girl in hospital, before sexually assaulting her in an office. In 1974, he took a 14-year-old schoolgirl for a drive in his car. She, too, was seriously assaulted.
“It’s clear Savile cunningly built his entire life into gaining access to vulnerable children,” said Peter Watt of the NSPCC, who said he was one of the worst sex offenders ever revealed. Calls to the NSPCC quadrupled in October and have remained high since.