Savile abuse claims span decades

Salisbury Journal: A string of police forces have received complaints about Sir Jimmy Savile A string of police forces have received complaints about Sir Jimmy Savile

Jimmy Savile's alleged catalogue of abuse could have spanned six decades and included around 60 victims, police said.

The scandal has mushroomed since ITV screened a documentary in which five women alleged they were abused by the late DJ and broadcaster and now Scotland Yard say there are allegations stretching between 1959 and 2006.

Commander Peter Spindler, head of Scotland Yard's specialist crime investigations said: "We can now confirm that we have received information from the public that suggest allegations against Jimmy Savile span six decades with reports starting in 1959 up to and including 2006. Having now had the opportunity to review progress one week on I have revised my estimate of the number of likely victims to be about 60. Once again I want to thank those who have come forward and reassure them, and anyone else who contacts us, they will be listened to."

Scotland Yard is pursuing 340 lines of inquiry in the Savile abuse case and so far 12 allegations of sexual offences have been officially recorded but this number is increasing, police said. Metropolitan Police detectives are in contact with 14 other forces as the number of allegations against the former DJ continues to rise.

Meanwhile, Savile's former employers, the BBC, have been sucked into the scandal after it emerged that Newsnight abandoned an investigation into the alleged abuse. The organisation has also come under fire with claims that staff were aware of the Jim'll Fix It presenter's behaviour and failed to take action.

But according to the Mail on Sunday, Newsnight producers were desperate to see a letter from one of the alleged victims, Fiona, who appeared in the ITV documentary, that would verify her claims that Surrey Police had dropped its investigation into her alleged abuse because of Savile's ill-health and "senility". The letter was not produced, and that was a "contributory factor" in the Newsnight investigation being dropped, the newspaper said.

The newspaper said it was handed a supposed copy of the letter last week by Fiona but described it as "unquestionably a fake", citing the fact that it says she was interviewed by police in 2006 even though the inquiry did not start until May the following year and it contains a Surrey Police crest that was not in use at the time. The force also issued a statement saying the letter was not genuine, according to the newspaper.

On Friday, BBC director-general George Entwistle offered a "profound and heartfelt apology" to the alleged victims of Savile's sexual abuse as he announced that two inquiries would be launched. One will look into whether there were any failings over the handling of the abandoned Newsnight. A second independent inquiry will look into the "culture and practices of the BBC during the years Jimmy Savile worked here", Mr Entwistle said.

Tony Blackburn, who presented shows on Radio 1 during Savile's time at the station, said he was "disgusted beyond words" at his former colleague's alleged actions, and said it would be to his "eternal regret" that he was allowed to get away with his behaviour.

In a statement Mr Blackburn said: "I am disgusted beyond words at the vile, despicable actions of Jimmy Savile. As the father of a 15-year-old daughter myself, I can only imagine the pain that the young women, men and their families have lived with over the decades."

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