Scotland Yard detectives investigating the growing list of child abuse allegations against Sir Jimmy Savile will today visit Broadmoor psychiatric hospital in Berkshire in an attempt to gather new evidence about claims that he sexually assaulted patients at the high-security facility.
The Met's focus on Broadmoor – with which the former BBC star had a lengthy association as a volunteer – indicates their determination to ensure that if anyone helped Savile at any point through six decades of abuse, and is still alive, they will face serious criminal charges of culpability and conspiracy.
Detectives will probe how Savile came to be appointed head of a task force in 1988 that oversaw Broadmoor's work, which was not deemed controversial at the time.
The Metropolitan Police are coordinating evidence and allegations from 14 other English forces, along with claims received by hospital and care authorities, including the children's charity, the NSPCC. Their objective is to produce an authoritative report "within months" that gives a full picture of the allegations that have been made against Savile.
Sir Michael Lyons, chairman of the BBC Trust from 2007-2011, welcomed the police's involvement but warned there was "a degree of hysteria" when controversies arose that involved the corporation. "The consequences spread well beyond the BBC," Sir Michael told Sky News. "There may be lessons here to learn about the way we tolerate the behaviour of predatory men, particularly when they are in powerful positions."
One of Savile's former bosses at Radio 1 has said he questioned the DJ over rumours about his private life more than 20 years ago. Derek Chinnery, controller of the BBC pop music station from 1976 till 1985, said yesterday he had confronted Savile, asking him: "What's all this, these rumours we hear about you, Jimmy?" Savile replied "That's all nonsense."
Mr Chinnery did not push the matter further, saying: "There was no reason to disbelieve. It's easy now to say how could you just believe him like that. But he was the sort of man who attracted rumours. He was single, always on the move, always going round the country."
Individual claims of sexual abuse by Savile, according to one senior police source contacted by i, could total more than 50 before the end of this week. Scotland Yard are pursuing close to 350 lines of inquiry.Reuse content