BBC Director-General issues ‘profound apology’ to Jimmy Savile child abuse victims

Sam Greenhill & Liz Thomas – Daily Mail Oct 12, 2012

The police investigation into Jimmy Savile’s abuse of young girls has tripled in scale to 340 separate lines of inquiry, Scotland Yard revealed last night.

There are now 40 potential victims and 15 police forces investigating the paedophile BBC presenter’s reign of child abuse.

It prompted the BBC’s Director General to issue his second grovelling apology of the week – and announce a total of three independent inquiries.

As well as the BBC, three NHS hospitals, a former children’s home in  Jersey and a now-defunct school in Surrey are accused of giving him free rein to attack children. Some victims have named people ‘around Savile’ as being complicit in his abuse.

Mr Entwistle revealed that police warned him last week they would  pursue ‘live active criminal investigations’ against suspects.

With more and more victims coming forward, the size of the police investigation has tripled from the 120 lines of inquiry being examined on Tuesday.

Scotland Yard said: ‘We would once again praise the courage of and thank everyone who has come forward.

‘We have officially recorded 12 allegations of sexual offences but expect this number to grow.’

Outlining the three BBC inquiries, each to be run by an outsider, Mr Entwistle said one would look into what happened to a Newsnight report into Savile and examine if there were any ‘failings’ by management over the decision to cancel it. He insisted he knew of the abuse allegations only when reports appeared in the Press.

The second will look into the ‘culture and practices of the BBC’ to establish if they enabled Savile to sexually abuse children at the corporation.

The third will be a broad assessment of the BBC’s harassment procedures, following allegations by stars such as Liz Kershaw and Sandi Toksvig that they were groped and suffered inappropriate behaviour at the hands of male colleagues.

The BBC will name who will run the inquiries next week, but non-executive director Dame Fiona Reynolds will chair all three.

‘The BBC will not avoid confronting the events of its past,’ Mr Entwistle pledged.

‘Jimmy Savile’s victims have faced years of pain. We owe it to them – and to our audiences – to understand how this could have happened, and to make sure that we do everything so that nothing like this could ever happen again.’

He added: ‘Despite our efforts to make clear our belief the decision to drop the Newsnight investigation was taken properly for sound editorial reasons, people have continued to speculate. This is damaging to the BBC and is a cloud of suspicion which cannot be allowed to continue.’

Asked if he would quit, or order sackings, if the inquiries uncovered wrongdoing, he said he did not want to pre-judge them, adding: ‘The watch words are accountability, transparency and honesty.’

The developments came after a TV director who reported Savile to BBC bosses decades ago – when he caught the star having sex with a 15- or 16-year-old girl in his dressing room – revealed he was ignored.

David Nicolson, 67, who had been a director on Jim’ll Fix It, said he made several attempts to expose Savile to the BBC, but was told: ‘That’s Jimmy’ and ‘that’s the way it goes’.

On Mr Nicolson’s claims, a BBC spokesman said: ‘We have been disturbed to hear these allegations. All staff past and present who have any information relating to allegations of this kind should raise them with the BBC’s internal investigations unit or the police.’

Grant Shapps, the Conservative Party chairman, told BBC1’s Question Time it ‘seems unimaginable’ people at the BBC were unaware of the child abuse allegations.

Savile also allegedly molested vulnerable children at Leeds General Infirmary, including a brain-damaged girl, as well as Stoke Mandeville Hospital and Broadmoor Hospital.

In contrast to the BBC’s contrition, none of the NHS hospitals where Savile allegedly abused children has said sorry.

Among the latest allegations,  it was claimed yesterday Savile was banned from visiting a council-run children’s home in the Seventies after he molested a 12-year-old girl.

A woman said he was told to leave the home in Leeds after staff found him in a bedroom with the girl.

And former Radio 1 researcher Richard Pearson told Channel 4 News that when he met Savile once, he said he ‘had just had 14-year-old girls’ in his trailer.

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