‘Predatory’ Savile could have been prosecuted while he was alive, says report

11:21 11 January 2013

Jimmy Savile on the set during the filming of the final Top of the Pops.  Photo: Mark Allan/BBC/PA Wire

Jimmy Savile on the set during the filming of the final Top of the Pops. Photo: Mark Allan/BBC/PA Wire

Jimmy Savile was “a prolific, predatory sex offender” who could have been prosecuted for offences against at least three victims while he was alive, two separate reports said today.

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.

She found that “had the police and prosecutors taken a different approach” prosecutions could have been possible in relation to three victims.

Ms Levitt said that there was nothing to suggest the victims had colluded in their stories, or that they were unreliable.

Police and prosecutors treated their claims “with a degree of caution which was neither justified nor required”, she said.

Surrey Police received an allegation in May 2007 that Savile had sexually assaulted a teenage girl at Duncroft Children’s Home in the late 1970s.

In the investigation that followed, two more allegations emerged - the first that in about 1973 Jimmy Savile had sexually assaulted a girl aged about 14 outside Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

The second was that in the 1970s Jimmy Savile had suggested to a girl aged about 17, again at Duncroft, that she perform oral sex on him.

In March 2008, Sussex Police received a complaint that Savile had sexually assaulted a woman in her early twenties in a caravan in Sussex in about 1970.

Surrey Police consulted with the CPS about all four allegations, and in October 2009 it was decided that no prosecution could be brought because the alleged victims would not support police action.

Ms Levitt found that Surrey Police did not tell each alleged victim that other complaints had been made, Sussex told the complainant that corroboration was needed and the prosecutor did not question why victims would not support court action or seek to build a case.

The victims told Ms Levitt that if they had known that other people were making complaints, they probably would have been prepared to give evidence in court.

Surrey Police assistant chief constable Jerry Kirkby said: “It is important the actions taken by the investigation team are viewed in context. This should take into account what information was known about Jimmy Savile in 2007 and the necessary consideration given by police to the impact of their actions on securing successful court action against him.

“At the time, there was nothing to suggest the level of offending now being reported on a national scale. In July 2007, Surrey Police used national systems to conduct intelligence checks with every other police force in England and Wales. These checks found no record of any police intelligence or prior allegations relating to Jimmy Savile.”

DPP Keir Starmer said he wanted the case to be “a watershed moment”.

“In my view, these cases do not simply reflect errors of judgment by individual officers or prosecutors on the facts before them,” he said. “If that were the case, they would, in many respects, be easier to deal with. These were errors of judgment by experienced and committed police officers and a prosecuting lawyer acting in good faith and attempting to apply the correct principles. That makes the findings of Ms Levitt’s report more profound and calls for a more robust response.”

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