Freddie Starr prepared to speak to police over claims he groped Savile's victim


The comedian Freddie Starr has offered to become the first household name to be questioned by police over sexual abuse allegations in connection with the Jimmy Savile case.

Starr, 69, said he was prepared to speak to police on Monday, following claims by one of Savile’s victims that the comedian groped her in a BBC dressing room when she was 15 years old. He vehemently denies the claims made by Karin Ward, who was an audience member on the BBC show Clunk Click 40 years ago.

Ms Ward, who said she was repeatedly assaulted by Savile, also claims that she saw Gary Glitter having sex with an underage girl in Savile’s dressing room.

Speaking outside his home, Starr said: “I have said from the word go that I wanted to be interviewed. Everybody, the press, the police, people at the BBC, they knew that things were going on with Jimmy Savile. Everybody is guilty of this. You can put the finger on everybody at the BBC.”

A spokeswoman for Starr said: “Freddie is prepared to be interviewed by the police, but his lawyer has been in touch with the person that is heading the investigation and they have no intention of questioning him.” Scotland Yard declined to comment.

The Met is leading the investigation into accusations of abuse, which now involve about 300 potential victims. Police are said to be on the verge of arresting up to a dozen household names accused of sex abuse, including a soap actor and a DJ. But officers admit that chances were missed to arrest Savile in the 1970s, 1980s and even four years ago when he was accused of abuse by children and adults.

Speaking on the BBC’s Newswatch programme last night, Peter Horrocks, the corporation’s director of global news,  said he was “appalled and deeply embarrassed” at how long it took for the stories of Savile’s victims to be aired.

It also emerged that the Newsnight editor Peter Rippon suddenly reversed his position on an investigation into Savile’s sexual abuse a day after the BBC’s Christmas schedules were published, featuring glowing tribute programmes about the personality.

New evidence about Rippon’s change of heart over the planned exposé of Savile’s activities has increased suspicions that pressure was put on the Newsnight editor from above to drop the potentially explosive report.

On 25 November last year Rippon sent an email saying he was still very enthusiastic about the investigation.  The BBC Christmas schedules, which included three tributes to Savile, were published on 29 November and on 30 November Rippon backtracked, sending another email to the team working on the story saying he was no longer sure it was strong enough to run. The next day he cancelled editing on the report.

Rippon, who has stepped aside from his role, maintained that his change of heart was because the programme had been unable to stand up one element of the story. Savile’s reputation for luring young women to a cottage in Allt na Reigh in Glencoe, Scotland, appears to have reached Royal circles. It emerged that in 1999 Prince Charles sent the presenter, then 73, a Christmas card with the message: “Give my love to your ladies in Scotland!”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power