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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 12 July, 2020

Jimmy Savile was known as a 'sex pest' but complaints were still not taken seriously

Another shocking report into the appalling behaviour of the “opportunistic predator”.

Image: PA Wire/Press Association Images

ANOTHER REPORT INTO the shocking scale of abuse perpetrated by Jimmy Savile has been released in the UK today.

It confirms that the TV presenter sexually abused 60 individuals connected with Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire between 1969 and 1992.

His victims were aged between 8 and 40 years old. They were patients, staff, visitors, volunteers and fundraisers. The acts of abuse ranged from inappropriate touching to rape.

One of his victims, a girl aged eight or nine who visited the hospital where a relative worked, was raped 10 times.

About half of the 60 victims were under the aged of 16, while 10 were under 12 years old. The majority were female.

The independent report today calls Savile an “opportunistic predator” who could, on occasions, show a “high degree of premeditation when planning attacks on his victims”.

Investigators found that nine informal complaints were made between 1972 and 1985 but none were taken seriously or escalated to senior management.

The one formal complaint made was dropped by the complainant’s father due to her serious ill health.

“Consequently no intelligence about Savile’s behaviour was gathered over the years and no action was taken,” the authors of the report said today.

First Visit

Savile first visited Stoke Mandeville in late 1968, when he was 43 years old. He initially went to the facility to award prizes but very little information about that trip exists. However, there is evidence that he abused his first victim on that day.

The authors note that he was, at this time, already considered both a ‘star’ and ‘special’. Patients, staff and others would have been familiar with him and considered him a person they ‘knew’.

As his appearances became more frequent – he eventually ended up ‘living’ in a room on campus – he got a reputation for being a ‘sex pest’ and ‘lecher’.

“There was virtually unrestricted access to clinical areas at Stoke Mandeville Hospital during the 1970s and 1980s; this applied not only to staff access and freedom of movement, but also to patients,” the report says.

The report found he was “lewd and full of sexual innuendo, and inappropriately touched young female staff”.

Many witnesses told the investigation that they did not take Savile’s unwanted attentions seriously, and that they brushed him off and little was thought of it.

Other witnesses, however, told the investigation that at times this unwanted attention could go too far and cause distress, particularly amongst the younger women who did
not know how to react.

The formal complaint

The lone formal complaint was made in 1977 by an 11-year-old victim’s father. Investigators said it was “serious” and should have led to the presenter’s suspension from the hospital and a police report.

“There can be no excuses made in relation to ‘what was acceptable at the time’ or ‘how children were perceived’. This was a serious allegation and should have been investigated fully, as it was reported to a hospital manager,” they wrote.

All the people involved in the complaint, except the victim, have died so it remains unclear exactly what happened.

Victim 21 as she is recognised in the report recalls Savile being like a ‘king’ on the wards.

During the summer of 1977, she was being treated on ward 7X for skin cancer. She remained in the hospital for four months and required a skin graft.

She remembers the summer being very hot and being in a treatment room with a young student nurse who was cleaning her wound. The window was open and Savile popped his head through because he had heard her crying.

When he came into the room, she was naked from the waist down. The nurse then had to leave the room for some reason and closed the door, leaving her alone with Savile.

According to the report, “He gripped her tightly so she could not move and rubbed his penis against her arm. He then tried to penetrate her vagina digitally.

“She screamed in pain and the nurse returned. Savile left swiftly. Victim 21 was hysterical and crying. Sister Cherry (now dead) came in and told her to be quiet, that Savile would not do such a dreadful thing and that he raised a great deal of money for the hospital.

“Victim 21 told her father (now dead) when he came to visit her that evening. She heard angry voices raised between her father and Sister Cherry. Her father took the matter to the “Registrar”. Savile did not come near her again. Victim 21’s father ‘decided that due to my ill health, age and not wishing to distress me further, not to pursue the complaint to its conclusion’.”

More: “His eyes were cold and dead”: Savile abuse in the victims’ words 

Previously: ‘Depraved and exploitative’: Jimmy Savile abused vulnerable people aged between 5 and 75

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