New arrest as Jimmy Savile investigation widens

 

Police investigating the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal made a further arrest today as they revealed the number of potential victims has risen to 450.

A man in his 60s, from Bedfordshire, was held at 7.45am on suspicion of sexual offences and is being questioned.

Scotland Yard said the allegations against him do not directly involve Savile, and are classed under the strand of their investigation termed "others".

The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is leading a national investigation into abuse allegations made against disgraced TV presenter Savile.

So far, around 450 potential victims have come forward and 200 allegations of sexual assault have been made.

This has risen from around 300 possible victims the force said they were dealing with last month.

The vast majority of allegations have been made against Savile.

Officers are looking at three strands within their inquiry: claims against Savile, those against Savile and others, and those against others.

Most of the "others" allegations have been made against people associated with the entertainment industry.

So far Gary Glitter, comedian Freddie Starr and a 73-year-old man have been arrested and bailed in connection with the investigation, along with today's arrest.

Children's charity the NSPCC said it had received 236 calls about Savile, an average of five per day, since the first sexual abuse allegations emerged.

The number of contacts made about other claims of sexual abuse has trebled in the last month, rising to 550.

Director of the NSPCC's helpline Peter Watt said: "It's crucial that people continue to come forward, whether they have information about Savile or anyone else. Our prime focus has to be on protecting children, particularly those unable to speak out themselves, and bringing offenders to justice.

"Sometimes people wait months or years before reporting abuse but we would urge them to act quickly so they can get help as soon as possible. While the whole Savile episode has been distressing it has also led to more victims of abuse seeking support, which is positive."

The former judge leading the BBC inquiry into the Savile scandal has launched an appeal for witnesses.

Dame Janet Smith, who is reviewing the corporation's practices during the Savile years, called on potential victims, witnesses, people who worked with the TV presenter and senior staff at the time to assist the investigation.

According to the inquiry's website, the review also wants to hear from people "who were familiar with the culture or practices of the BBC" in terms of "preventing or enabling the sexual abuse of children, young people or teenagers".

In addition, the Department of Health is investigating its own conduct after appointing Savile to head a taskforce at Broadmoor in 1988.

PA

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