Stoke Mandeville Hospital still has questions to answer over the Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal

This week the Independent established that premises there were used at will by the television presenter. What else can they tell us about his stay there?

Share
Related Topics

The police investigation into Sir Jimmy Savile seems to have become a very convenient screen to hide behind, for the BBC and the hospitals where he was ubiquitous. It shouldn’t be a reason to evade some very significant questions which can easily be answered now. Like the one about when - and for how - long Savile was granted free premises at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, to come and go as he pleased.

The fact that premises had been put at Savile’s disposal was established by The Independent on Tuesday and attempts to extract a more detailed picture from the hospital about it this week have only created a sense that there is something to hide. There was confirmation from the hospital that it was a ‘flat’ but no answer - after five times of asking across two days - to the question of whether it had been removed from Savile when his own predilections had been known. Neither would the hospital confirm or deny a suggestion – which came from the same source – that a system of chaperoning Savile when he was present in the hospital been introduced when the threat he posed became clear.

Unanswered

The chaperone question is still out there, unanswered, though it was at 5.30pm on Thursday that confirmation finally arrived – in a 40-word statement - to repeated inquiries about whether Savile’s premises had been removed from him. No, they had not. The statement said that Savile had “access to a room outside of the main hospital and away from clinical areas. This was made available to them in conjunction with their fundraising activity, and was utilised by them until his death.”

The word ‘room’ is significant - because it belongs to a shifting and contradictory narrative across the course of this week about how the hospital where he is accused of abusing patients actually accommodated him. Twice, in telephone calls to the hospital on Wednesday, it was described to me as a ‘flat.’ In an emailed statement that day it was subsequently described as a “facility,” though I was subsequently told ‘facility’ meant ‘flat.’ “That’s what we mean when we say ‘the facility,” the hospital confirmed.

Ironic

By last evening, it had morphed to a ‘room’ which characterised it as some kind of meeting place (with balloons and raffle ticket books you seemed to be encouraged to imagined). Rebecca Owens, an ex-patient of the hospital, provided a rather different perspective last night when she told Newsnight last night about how, when news arrived that Savile was turning up, there was “some ironic chat between [the nurses] about who would be the unlucky one to off with him to his room.”

So let’s have it, Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Was this a room or a flat? What facilities an accommodation was within it? Did he need the chaperone? The BBC’s omerta about why their Newsnight film didn’t run is one thing. Obfuscation about how a hospital interacted with Savile is another. We - and more significantly the patients who were treated at the hospital between the years of 1972 and 2011, when Savile was present - are entitled to clarity and transparency.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, Linux, Shell, Bash)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...

Data Scientist (SQL, PHP, RSPSS, CPLEX, SARS, AI) - London

£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

The power of anonymity lies in the freedom it grants

Boyd Tonkin
Rebel fighters walk in front of damaged buildings in Karam al-Jabal neighbourhood of Aleppo on August 26, 2014.  

The Isis threat must be confronted with clarity and determination

Ed Miliband
Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone