After years of their stories remaining unheard, Jimmy Savile’s victims today responded to the official report into the activities of the serial paedophile with a mixture of relief – and anger that he had been able to escape justice throughout his lifetime, with so little done to stop him even when allegations were made.
“I’m glad that it’s all coming out because people knew about it and they just didn’t do anything,” said Sylvia Edwards who was assaulted by Savile when she was 18, as he presented Top of the Pops in the 1970s.
“I’m glad that a lot more people have come forward.”
Caroline Moore, now in her fifties, said that Savile abused her as she recovered in the children’s ward at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1971 following an operation to fuse her spine. “I find it quite scary that people who had the power to stop him didn’t use that power and stop that man and he went on to do the most horrific things to people in the most awful circumstances,” Ms Moore told Sky News.
“I’m absolutely furious that he was able to do what he did, to the children that he did it to, and nobody would stand up and stop him.”
Jimmy Savile’s honed technique of selecting victims who were vulnerable and unlikely to be believed meant that he escaped prosecution for his crimes while he was alive, detectives and lawyers said today. Savile’s force of personality meant that he could do what he wanted with his predominantly young targets and “then just discard them,” said Detective Superintendent David Gray, who investigated the allegations against Savile.
Kevin Cook said he was abused by Savile and a second man when he visited the BBC studios in London for Jim’ll Fix It as a nine-year-old scout in the mid-seventies.
“I’m shocked by the amount and the time it’s gone on and the amount that’s gone on. I’m lost for words,” Mr Cook told Radio 5 Live.
“People have asked me, a couple of friends who know about it now have asked me, why I didn’t say it all at the time. My parents are listening to this now.
“How can you tell your mum and your dad that you were forced to give oral sex to somebody and then they physically hit you afterwards, and Jimmy Savile there laughing?”
One woman, who is suing the Savile estate, was abused from the age of 15 by the disc jockey at his Salford flat during the 1960s. They had a relationship for a couple of years before he dumped her when she got too old, said solicitor Paul Durkin. The woman has since suffered problems from abusive relationships and drink problems.
Lawyers representing victims said that a clear pattern emerged of how he often operated – slipping away from a public event to swiftly abuse a selected target, before returning to his smiling celebrity status.
Solicitors are preparing cases against Savile’s estate – valued at £4.3m after tax – and other bodies including the BBC and hospitals, said Alan Collins, of Pannone solicitors. He has started cases for 23 victims.
Mr Collins is in the United States and then travelling to Australia for meetings with victims of the serial abuser as the number of reported offences continue to rise. Such civil claims normally have to be brought within three years of the offence but the time can be extended for abuse cases.
“I think it’s important this is a wake-up call. It’s very difficult for police to prosecute these cases and a lot of abusers think they can abuse people and get away with it,” he said.
Lawyer Liz Dux from Slater and Gordon, a firm representing around 50 of Savile’s victims, said that clients who had been interviewed by the police felt relief at having spoken out.
“Those of them who have given statements to the police have said that while the process has been traumatic it has also been cathartic. They have expressed relief to have done it.”