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?
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Head Chef

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Garden Centre complex base...

Recruitment Genius: Buyer

£36000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Buyer is required to join thi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45000: SThree: SThree Group have been well es...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Between the covers: Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet, opposite Colin Firth's Mr Darcy, in the acclaimed 1995 BBC adaptation of 'Pride and Prejudice'  

To talk about 'liking' a character may be a literary faux pas, but I don't care

Memphis Barker
Hinkley Point A to the right of development land where the reactors of Hinkley C nuclear power station are due to be built  

Should the UK really be putting its money into nuclear power in 2015?

Chris Green Chris Green
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen