Savile used celebrity status to become Britain’s most prolific sexual predator, report says

The Conclusions: Eight-year-old boy revealed as youngest victim

Jimmy Savile’s brazen manipulation of his celebrity status to become Britain’s most prolific sexual predator was laid bare today as authorities faced criticism for missing opportunities to bring him to justice during his lifetime.

A report into the late presenter’s crimes revealed that his youngest victim was an eight-year-old boy during 54 years of abuse that peaked during the height of his fame at the BBC.

He carried out 34 rapes among 214 crimes that spanned the country, according to the report, Giving Victims a Voice, by the Metropolitan Police and the NSPCC.

It emerged today that he abused patients at 14 medical centres - psychiatric centres, a hospice and hospitals including Great Ormond Street Hospital - after securing the trust of staff. He also carried out 14 attacks at schools, having trawled letters sent by children wanting to appear on his top-rated show, Jim’ll Fix It, according to detectives who said “the scale of his abuse is believed to be unprecedented in the UK”.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, apologised today for shortcomings after a review showed that three potential opportunities were missed to prosecute Savile during the last years of his life before he died in October 2011 at the age of 84.

Savile told police in 2009 that he used legal threats to brush off claims against him and said he had taken action against five newspapers. “I have no need to chase girls, there are thousands of them on Top of the Pops. I have no need to take liberties,” he said in an interview.

Commander Peter Spindler said that Savile used his celebrity status to “hide in plain sight” while abusing children over six decades. “It paints a stark picture emphasising the tragic consequences of when vulnerability and power collide,” he said. “Savile’s offending footprint was vast, predatory and opportunistic.”

The inquiry – Operation Yewtree - was launched following an ITV documentary in October last year which aired some of the stories of his victims and showed the former prime-time favourite to be a paedophile. The programme led to 600 people coming forward to give information about historic abuse with three-quarters of them relating to Savile.

The late presenter used his formidable fund-raising powers to secure access to the young and vulnerable to carry on his abuse. Most of his victims – 73 percent – were children and the height of his offending was carried out while he was aged 40 to 50, the report said.

His offending at the BBC spanned more than 40 years and included a sexual assault during the recording of the final Top of the Pops programme in 2006. However, the report does not blame institutions that may have missed opportunities to stop Savile. His final victim was a 43-year-old woman sexually assaulted by Savile on a train between Leeds and London when he put his hand up her skirt.

Some victims were last night critical about the failure of authorities to prevent Savile from offending or prosecuting him. Surrey Police consulted with the CPS about four allegations reported between 2007 and 2008 but it was decided that no prosecution could be brought because the victims would not support police action. But Alison Levitt QC, legal adviser to the DPP, concluded that “had the police and prosecutors taken a different approach” charges could have been brought against Savile in relation to three victims.

A witness to one of the attacks at Dunford School for girls said: “Whatever people did to us was okay because we had no self-esteem, we were like second-class citizens. We were always being told we were in care because we were bad.”

Savile, who secured the support of then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for his fundraising activities at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, carried out 22 attacks there over 23 years, the report said. Another 16 were carried out at Leeds General Infirmary over 30 years.

Most of the NHS institutions involved have begun investigations and the Department of Health is carrying out a separate investigation by a former barrister.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We knew when the investigation opened in the autumn that we had a problem in three NHS organisations but today we realise that it’s gone a lot further than that.”

Peter Watt, director of child protection advice and awareness at NSPCC, said Savile was one of the most prolific sex offenders the NSPCC has dealt with in its 129-year history. “It’s clear Savile cunningly built his entire life into gaining access to vulnerable children. The sheer scale of Savile’s abuse over six decades simply beggars belief,” he said.

Dozens of Savile’s victims have embarked on legal action against Savile’s estate and other institutions including the BBC.

Police interview: What Savile said

When questioned in 2009 about allegations of sexual assault at Duncroft girls’ school

“If this [these allegations] does not disappear then my policy will swing into action. I have an LLD, that’s a Doctor of Laws, not an honorary one but a real one. That gives me friends. If I was going to sue anyone... we would go to the Old Bailey... So my legal people are ready and waiting. All we need is a name and an address and then the due process would start... I have no kinky carryings on. But... I’ve alerted my legal team that they may be doing business and if we do, you ladies [the two female officers] will finish up at the Old Bailey as well because we will be wanting you there as witnesses. But nobody ever seems to want to go that far.”

The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
Life and Style

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album