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Dublin: 1 °C Wednesday 26 February, 2020

"He smelt of cigars and body odour": Savile abuse in the victims’ words

The latest report investigates abuse at the Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

YET ANOTHER REPORT published today shows the incomprehensible extent of abuse by Jimmy Saville.

The latest report into the Stoke Mandeville Hospital confirms there were another 60 individuals sexually abused by the TV star, with victims aged between 8 and 40.

They were patients, staff, visitors, volunteers and fundraisers. The acts of abuse ranged from inappropriate touching to rape.

Children under 10

Some time in 1981, when just 8 years old this victim was told by a nurse that someone special was visiting. Savile subsequently appeared from behind the bed curtain… Savile immediately placed his hand beneath the bed sheet and touched him on his penis, over his pyjamas.

Savile continued to touch his penis as it became erect and exposed through his pyjamas. He said he was distressed at what had happened and reported the matter to his mother when she visited shortly after. His mother did not believe him.

Children aged 10-13 years old

A child volunteer had found a pen Savile invited her round to the other side of the cafeteria counter to be on the same side of it as him.He pinned her against the counter and whilst he signed the autograph he put one hand up her dress and inside her knickers. He placed his fingers inside her vagina. He then withdrew them and wiped his fingers down her leg.Savile had hurt her as he was wearing heavy rings and bracelets.
Around 1968 Victim 1 visited Stoke Mandeville Hospital with an entertainment group. The group was to be recorded for the Savile’s Travels BBC radio show. Before the show was recorded the group had lunch in a big hall.She was sitting at the end of a table and Savile asked her to get up and sit on his lap. He sat her down but had his hand in the way so that she sat on it.

He put his hand in her knickers and digitally penetrated her vagina.She tried to get up but he pulled on her arm and penetrated her again. Victim 1 managed to get away from Savile by asking to go to the toilet.  Victim 1 did not report the incident to anyone at the time.

Some time in 1970 Victim 2’s mother was injured in an accident and sent to Stoke Mandeville Hospital. She recalls Savile being present around the Hospital all of the time as a porter.She recalls him seeming like an old man but larger than life. Saville invited her to the Hospital radio room – she was 13 years of age. Once there Savile sat her on his lap. He pinned her in place and put his hand inside her dress and touched her bra. Victim 2 recalls mentioning something of what occurred to a Sister on her mother’s ward; however she cannot remember what exactly she told her. She believes it was something like she “did not want to see Jimmy Savile again”.

She did tell her father who did not believe her. Her father wanted her to keep quiet as he was worried his wife would be sent away from Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Reported to Savile’s secretary 

Aged between 9-11, the mother of this victim was an employee at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Between 1973 and 1975 Victim 13 and his sister visited their mother at the Hospital. Savile would often take them to his private room or to the Porters’ Lodge. He would gather up all the children and give them sweets. Savile would invite her to the porters’ office and tell him he was a naughty boy for eating all the sweets.

He would put him across his knee, pull down his trousers and underpants, “grope his backside” and spank him. This happened on about 10 occasions. Savile always told him not to tell his parents.

He reported that on one occasion Savile’s Secretary Janet Cope (née Rowe) walked into the Porters’ Lodge and found him assaulting him.

She just turned around and walked out. 6.52 Victim 13 told his Headmaster who “laughed it off”.


At age 12, this vicitm was admitted into Stoke Mandeville Hospital to have her tonsils out. Following her surgery she was told that she could go to the television room which was down an external corridor.

That evening, early, she walked there in her nightdress. On her way a porter approached and asked her where she was going. When she told him he said he would go with her. Another person came out of the television room as they entered and the room was then empty. She sat on a chair and the porter asked her if she had a boyfriend. He then knelt down in front of her and pulled his trousers down.

She was not wearing any knickers and the porter swiftly raped her penetrating her vaginally with his penis. Victim 20 said it was over very quickly. He stood up, pulled his trousers up and wiped down the seat she was still sitting on.

The porter was described as being a white-haired man who was wearing a gold chain and a white coat. He was smoking a cigar and smelt strongly of cigars and body odour. At this time as her family did not watch television she did not know who Savile was.

She returned to her ward and told a nurse that “the porter hurt me, down here”. She was told not to say anything otherwise she (the nurse) would get into trouble. She went to bed only to wake in the night to find the same porter at the side of her bed; he quickly put his hand between her legs and penetrated her again with his fingers.

She wrote two notes, one on the torn-out page of a Bible she had found, saying that a porter had hurt her and giving her father’s name, address and telephone number. She posted these notes in a red post box in the corridor outside of the ward and hoped someone would contact her father. No one did.

Twenty years following the attack (in 1997), she wrote to Savile’s Secretary, Janet Cope, (née Rowe) explaining what had happened to her. She got no reply she wrote again.

Mother of ill child

In the spring of 1973, this vicime took her 12-month-old son into Stoke Mandeville Hospital for an operation. She was given a side room to stay in near her son’s ward.A nurse brought Savile into the room to sit with her and cheer her up. At this time she was heavily pregnant with her second child.The nurse left the room and Savile put his hands on her swollen belly trying to feel the baby’s limbs. He also said that she had “a couple of good milk tanks” and grabbed her breasts one in each hand.

She shouted at him and he apologised saying that most ladies liked a little fondle. He apologised again and then left.

Taken to dinner

She was 19 years of age at the time of the accident that severed her spine in August 1973. She had been in the NSIC for some eight months and the incident with Savile took place towards the end of her stay. Savile took her out for dinner at a restaurant to thank her for her fundraising work whilst a patient.Whilst at the restaurant he suddenly stuck his hand up Victim 9’s skirt between her legs and tried to grope her.

She could not easily get away because she was in a wheelchair.Savile took her to the restaurant and back to the ward in a car which was driven by a third party. Once in the car he tried to kiss her and stuck his tongue down her throat.

She made it quite clear she did not want anything to do with him. She said she felt that it was the presence of the driver that protected her from any further assault. She told the a nurse what had happened. It appeared to be an open secret that Savile was a “sex pest”.

Visitor to the hospital

In April 1981, this victim was a guest invited to hospital to present a donation. She was very excited about this opportunity. On arrival she was greeted by staff and camera crews… Savile draped his arm around her shoulders.

He stroked her right breast from the side. He did this twice with all of the other people present.She felt totally intimidated and wanted to go home.

The camera crew however requested a photograph be taken of her sitting on Savile’s lap.She complied and Savile slid his hand down the back of her trousers and put his fingers “inside” her vagina.

The camera crew were laughing and she felt certain they knew what he was up to.

“He appeared to have a big personality and was confident.”

A few days before she was due to be discharged Savile came onto the ward.He appeared to have a big personality and was confident.

Savile asked her if she had ever had sex with her boyfriend and appeared to be excited when she said no.Savile suggested that they have sex; she was in awe of him.

He quickly stripped naked and penetrated her and ejaculated inside her.After 15 minutes he said he needed to get her back to the ward as they would be wondering where she was. She never said anything to anyone about what had happened.

Staff member 

As a care assistant she was 17 years old. She went on to undertake her nurse training at the hospital and lived in the nurses’ accommodation. She met Savile and became involved with his fundraising (taking photographs and showing people around).

She said Savile was famous and she was in awe of him.

On at least three occasions she was asked to go to his room.Initially she felt appreciated and important“Savile would just take hold of me and put my hands where he wanted them.

Or he would remove my clothes (not all of them) and put me in the position he wanted.Each time he had sex with me, he used no protection.

He did not seem to care that I may get pregnant. He would instruct me and I would do as he asked.I don’t remember saying no to him, in fact I don’t remember saying anything at all.

I remember how awful he smelled, how he would talk while he was doing things to me and feeling confused when I left with a box of Roses chocolates in my hand.

I would go back to my room and tell my friend what had happened”.

Other than her friend she never told anyone else about what had happened.

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

Read: Jimmy Savile was known as a ‘sex pest’ but complaints were still not taken seriously>

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