Savile case now a criminal inquiry
The inquiry into alleged child abuse by Jimmy Savile in Britain is now a formal criminal investigation involving other living people, Scotland Yard said today.
Operation Yewtree has moved from an assessment to a criminal investigation after detectives established there are lines of inquiry involving “living people that require formal investigation”.
Scotland Yard said two weeks of gathering information has involved assessing more than 400 lines of inquiry and has identified more than 200 potential victims.
The force said: “As we have said from the outset, our work was never going to take us into a police investigation into Jimmy Savile.
“What we have established in the last two weeks is that there are lines of inquiry involving living people that require formal investigation.”
Operation Yewtree, originally an “assessment” into claims against Savile, was launched after allegations flooded out in the wake of an ITV documentary screened earlier this month.
Today the NSPCC said it is possible the former Top of the Pops presenter was “one of the most prolific sex offenders” the charity has ever come across.
As well as police investigations, inquiries are taking place into his involvement with Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Broadmoor and Leeds General Infirmary.
Dame Janet Smith, who headed the Shipman Inquiry, has been appointed to head an inquiry into Savile’s time at the BBC and today Scotland Yard said they recognised “her need to progress this important work”.
“We are now in a position to advise the BBC that they can ask the chair of the BBC Executive Board Dame Fiona Reynolds to begin her review to run parallel to our investigation. We will develop a protocol to ensure any future potential criminal action is not jeopardised.”
It has also emerged that the BBC is aiming to rush a special edition of Panorama into its schedules looking into issues surrounding Jimmy Savile’s years of abuse, which could be run on Monday.
Commander Peter Spindler, from Scotland Yard, said: “The public’s response to this issue has been astounding. We are dealing with alleged abuse on an unprecedented scale. The profile of this operation has empowered a staggering number of victims to come forward to report the sexual exploitation which occurred during their childhood."
Police previously said Savile’s alleged catalogue of sex abuse could have spanned six decades.
Peter Watt, head of the NSPCC’s helpline, said: “It’s now looking possible that Jimmy Savile was one the most prolific sex offenders the NSPCC has ever come across. We have received over 136 calls directly relating to allegations against him which we’ve passed to the police."