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
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.
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.
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.
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
Supermoon 2014: When and why will the moon look bigger and brighter this summer?
Tommy Ramone dies: Last surviving founder and drummer seminal punk band The Ramones dies aged 62
Gaza-Israel conflict: The terrible price Palestinian children are paying for Israel’s war with Hamas
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
War is war: Why I stand with Israel
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
Socialist Worker called to apologise over ‘vile’ article saying Eton schoolboy Horatio Chapple's death is ‘reason to save the polar bears’
- 2 Loom bands: Bids for dress made from colourful rubber pass £170,000 on eBay
- 3 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 4 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs
- 5 The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week