Savile pictured with Margaret Thatcher during the 1980s. Savile was often photographed with senior politicians keen to associate themselves with his charitable work. Were they consciously shielding him from police scrutiny?
29th October 2011
Following Jimmy Savile's death in late 2011, allegations that he had long been suspected of being a serial sex offender began to surface in the media. Initial investigations showed that the first complaint made against him dated from as long ago as 1958 and that on at least two occasions investigators had stopped just short of actually pressing charges against the erstwhile DJ.
In October 2012, a huge police operation called Operation Yewtree was launched to investigate the claims of the hundreds of members of the public who came forward following Savile's death to allege that he had abused them. The alleged offences were not merely carried out on a huge scale, but involved various hospitals and charitable institutions Savile had been patron of during his life. Among the more extreme allegations were suggestions that the presenter had forced himself on mentally ill or physically disabled children, necrophilia and even involvement in Satanism.
Given the evident scale of his offending - and police were quick to assert that they had no reason to doubt Savile's guilt - suggestions have been raised that he was 'protected' from prosecution by his close association with the Royal family and leading politicians from all parties over many decades. Naturally, this has led to speculation that he might himself have formed part of the alleged Westminster paedophile ring said to have been in existence during the 1970s and 1980s.
He was also known for his close association with Broadmoor Hospital - where he had a private room, a set of keys and was briefly invited to run the entire facility during a management crisis in the 1980s. While there, he became good friends with Peter Sutcliffe. In an eerie piece of coincidence, Savile's flat at the corner of Roundhay Park in Leeds practically overlooked the location where Sutcliffe murdered Irene Richardson and attacked Marcella Claxton.
Doubts, have however been raised about the destruction of Savile's reputation. Whether rightly or wrongly this is impossible to ascertain as most of the current crop of reports being produced into his alleged offending are being produced by NHS bodies or charities. As such, they necessarily fall far short of the level of evidence that would have been required in a court of law. No forensic evidence has been examined. There is no DNA.
Many of these reports are said to be about "giving victims a voice." This is not to say that all victims are fantasists or liars, but the assumption that anyone who makes a claim about Savile - no matter how extreme - must necessarily be telling the truth would seem to be embedded in the terms of reference. As with other cultural swellings - we think of climate change and Satanic Ritual Abuse - the true sceptic might give pause to consider the small voice of doubt whispering in their ear about whether some of the alleged abuse perpetrated by Savile did actually happen at all.
We may recall readers' attentions to cases such as that of Alicia Esteve Head - who claimed to have been a survivor of the World Trade Center attacks and even became a leading figure for other survivors. In fact, she was not even in the country at the time. Closer to home, it is known that Jack the Ripper victim (oh the coincidences!) Catherine Eddowes claimed to have survived the Princess Alice steamer disaster which claimed 650 lives in 1878. Not only this, but she claimed to have lost her husband and two of her children in that calamity. All these claims were demonstrably false.
Again, we hasten to add that this doesn't prove falsehood on the part of all witnesses or victims, merely that claims made are not always true and without the fit and proper test provided by a court of law should always be treated with caution.