Victims who would not go to court feared they were lone voices

 

Jimmy Savile escaped convictions for three sex assaults in the 1970s after his victims refused to give evidence in court after mistakenly believing they were lone voices against the high-profile entertainer.

One victim claimed that a detective told her that Savile’s lawyers would make “mincemeat” of her in a “big court in London” if the case ever went ahead.

An experienced rape specialist prosecutor failed to build a case against Savile even though there were “relatively strong” chances of prosecution if the women could be persuaded to give evidence, the official review into police and prosecution failings has found.

Police treated the victims and the accounts they gave “with a degree of caution which was neither justified nor required,” said Alison Levitt QC, who produced the report.

None of them were told that other women had come forward with allegations, which would have increased the chances of some of them giving evidence, the report found.

A woman sexually assaulted in Savile’s caravan was dissuaded by police from pursuing her allegation, said Ms Levitt. The woman, named only as Ms A, got the impression from police that she would be publicly branded a liar and her name would be all over the papers, particularly if she lost the case.

She was attacked after Savile’s chauffeur arrived unannounced in a Rolls-Royce at her house in 1970 after she wrote to him suggesting Savile could stay at her mother’s bed and breakfast.

 Ms Levitt, a legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer, found that all three of those cases could have been prosecuted.

A fourth case, when a teenage girl said Savile demanded she perform a sex act on him at Duncroft school, was correctly not pursued to prosecution, though for the wrong reasons, said Ms Levitt.

Mr Starmer today apologised for the failures of the prosecution, and ordered an overhaul of the way such cases were conducted.

“If this report and my apology are to serve their full purpose, then this must be seen as a watershed moment,” he said.

The 128-page inquiry report released today exposed failures during a slow-moving police inquiry, flawed decision making and errors in transcripts.

Detectives knew but failed to act

Children’s home

Surrey police investigated after a witness at Duncroft reported seeing Savile put a 14-year-old girl’s hand on his crotch. The victim corroborated the story but the case was not pursued.

Caravan

Sussex police investigated the assault of “Ms A” in Savile’s caravan in 1970. “I’d like to lock you up in a cupboard and you’d be with me all the time,” Savile is said to have told her. She reported the attack in 2008.

Hospital

A 14-year-old member of a girls’ choir told police that Savile kissed her on the lips and put his tongue inside her mouth after she performed at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific