Jimmy Savile 'abused at least 500 victims'

A report by children's charity the NSPCC revealed the extent of Savile's offending over several decades

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The Independent Online

Prolific paedophile Jimmy Savile abused at least 500 victims, with the youngest alleged victim just two years old, a children’s charity has reported.

A study by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (NSPCC), commissioned for BBC Panorama, revealed confidential documents examining the extent of the television presenter’s offending and his unprecedented access to Broadmoor hospital.

The NSPCC said on Monday that the most common age group for Savile’s victims was 13 to 15.

Its report found that the scale of Savile’s offending inside Broadmoor is higher than previously thought, with Thames Valley Police having received 16 reports of abuse by him inside the special hospital.

Savile visited frequently as part of his charity work and was given his own set of keys to the hospital. In 1988, he was hired as an adviser to help resolve staff-management tensions at Broadmoor.

Peter Watt, the charity's director of child protection, said Savile was a “prolific sex offender ... (who) lost no opportunity to identify vulnerable victims and abuse them.”

Lawyer Liz Dux, who works for Slater & Gordon which represents more than 100 of Savile's alleged victims, said it was “nothing short of a national scandal” that the interests of institutions were placed ahead of the welfare of children.

She told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: “The numbers are simply staggering. We have to remember that these are sexual abuses perpetrated by one individual but it didn't come as much surprise.

"We are receiving calls daily still and the numbers are going up as we speak."

She said most of the alleged victims were able to give very specific details and she had no doubt "most of them are entirely credible".

Ms Dux added that it was important to look at the role of the authorities and those people in power who failed to take action despite having knowledge of what was going on.

She said: "This is nothing short of a national scandal that they put children's welfare at second place to their own institutions' promotion."

Savile was a British television fixture for several decades, but after his death at 84 in 2011, witnesses and victims came forward to accuse him of sexual abuse. Police have since described the television and radio presenter as a serial sexual predator who used his fame to target young and mostly female victims, from star-struck teens at television recordings to patients in hospital beds.

A police investigation concluded last year that Savile's abuse spanned half a century and included at least 214 offenses, most against victims under 18.

Additional reporting by agencies