UK & World News

  • 11 January 2013, 14:33

Jimmy Savile: 'Chance For Convicton Missed'

Police and prosecutors missed a chance to convict Jimmy Savile for sex offences against three victims when he was alive, a report has found.

The report, by Alison Levitt QC, legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions (DPP), said the opportunity passed by because they did not take claims seriously enough.

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

The problem was that their claims were treated "with a degree of caution which was neither justified nor required".

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 Savile had sexually assaulted a girl aged about 14 outside Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

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

Surrey Police also found out about a complaint made in March 2008 to Sussex Police that Savile had sexually assaulted a woman in her early 20s in a caravan in Sussex in about 1970.

The Surrey force 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 any of the alleged victims that other complaints had been made.

Sussex Police told the complainant in the 2008 allegation that corroboration was needed and the CPS 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.

The report concluded that "had the police and prosecutors taken a different approach a prosecution might have been possible in relation to three of the four allegations".

Surrey Police Assistant Chief Constable Jerry Kirkby said it was important to view the decisions taken by investigating officers "in context".

"At the time, there was nothing to suggest the level of offending now being reported on a national scale," he said.

"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."

Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer said he wanted the Savile case to be "a watershed moment" and called for a "more robust response" in future.

A separate report by the police and NSPCC stopped short of apportioning blame to hospitals and other institutions and agencies that may also have "missed past opportunities" to stop Savile.

But it said they must do "all they can to make their procedures for safeguarding children and vulnerable adults as robust and rigorous as possible".

Among the institutions where Savile allegedly committed offences are Leeds General Infirmary (16), Stoke Mandeville Hospital (22), Broadmoor Hospital (1) and Great Ormond Street Hospital (1).

The report revealed Savile abused people all over the country, although by far the most were recorded in the Metropolitan Police area (43) followed by 34 in West Yorkshire, 30 in Thames Valley and 14 in Greater Manchester.

Offences were also reported in North Yorkshire and Surrey (8 each), Nottinghamshire (7), Devon and Cornwall (5), Dorset (4), and Bedfordshire, Essex, Hampshire, Lancashire and Sussex (3 each).

Police forces in Scotland, North Wales, Guernsey, Jersey, Kent, Merseyside, Nottinghamshire, Northumbria and Wiltshire have also received complaints about Savile.

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