Savile's headstone removed by family
The gravestone of Sir Jimmy Savile, the English entertainer accused of child abuse, has been removed from his grave in a Scarborough cemetery and will be sent to landfill.
Savile's family said they would remove the headstone out of “respect to public opinion” after police said the former presenter could have abused up to 25 victims over 40 years.
Savile’s family said they wanted to ensure the “dignity and sanctity” of the cemetery in Scarborough.
A family spokesman said in a statement: “The family members are deeply aware of the impact that the stone remaining there could have on the dignity and sanctity of the cemetery.
“Out of respect to public opinion, to those who are buried there, and to those who tend their graves and visit there, we have decided to remove it.”
The headstone, which bears the star’s image and lists his accomplishments, including the epitaph “It was good while it lasted”, was due to be removed at 7am today, but work was brought forward to midnight to avoid unwanted attention, and out of respect for those with relatives in the graveyard. It has now been taken to a stonemason’s yard in Leeds where the inscription will be ground down and will then be broken up and sent to landfill.
The grave, in which Savile was buried at an angle so he could “see” Scarborough Castle and the sea, will remain unmarked for the foreseeable future. The prime spot, which is roped off, was today identifiable only by several bunches of flowers on a dirt patch.
A number of memorials to Savile have already been removed, including an inscription on the wall at Leeds Civic Hall in recognition of his charity work, and a street sign in Scarborough. A plaque outside his home has been defaced.
Elsewhere, the chairman of the BBC Trust has asked the BBC director-general George Entwistle to review its guidelines on child protection following what he called the “cesspit” of sexual abuse allegations against Savile.
Lord Patten said today he wanted to ensure the corporation’s policies were “fit for purpose” after numerous claims that Savile’s alleged abuse had taken place on the broadcaster’s premises. He also pledged that the BBC’s independent inquiry should be launched as swiftly as possible following a police investigation into Savile’s activities.
Lord Patten said he believed it would be a good idea for Mr Entwistle to make a prominent TV apology on behalf of the BBC once the claims had been unravelled.