Victims of Jimmy Savile, the former BBC TV presenter who after his death was unmasked as one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders, said they were ignored or laughed at when they tried to report that he had abused them, a report said on Monday.
Last year, police said Savile, one of the country’s best-known celebrities in the 1970s and 1980s, had sexually abused hundreds of victims, mainly youngsters, at hospitals and at BBC premises over six decades until his death aged 84 in 2011.
A report by the charity, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), found many of those Savile had targeted said the authorities had dismissed their claims at the time of the abuse while others stayed silent because they feared they would not be believed.
The findings were released as lawyers representing 147 of his victims began action at London’s High Court on Monday to win compensation from charitable trust set up in Savile’s name after his death.
“They (the victims) were ignored, dismissed, not believed, laughed at and astonishingly told in some cases they should feel lucky he had paid them attention,” said Peter Watt, the NPSCC’s director of national services.
“Half a century on, the world finally discovered just how dreadful his crimes were – something these men and women had known all that time but felt powerless to do anything about.”
Detectives say Savile, a one-time professional wrestler who became famous as a pioneering DJ in the 1960s, used his fame as a TV presenter and dedicated charity fundraiser to gain access to children.
Numerous reports have since been commissioned into how the eccentric Savile, famed for his long blonde hair, and penchant for garish outfits and flashy jewellery, was able to get away with his crimes.
Last March a report by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), the body which monitors the police, said it was seriously concerned about mistakes made by police forces, while an inquiry in 2012 cleared BBC bosses of covering up allegations against Savile but said it had missed warnings.
A lengthier analysis into BBC failings is due later this year.
Monday’s NSPCC report, commissioned by the HMIC, was based on revelations from 26 victims, aged between eight and 26 when they were assaulted, who detailed the lasting impact of their abuse, with some turning to drink and drugs, and others disclosing mental health illnesses or contemplating suicide.
Other ageing celebrities are now facing criminal action from a police investigation launched in the wake of the Savile revelations.
On Monday, prosecutors said one of them, Dave Lee Travis, a high-profile radio DJ from the 1970s and 1980s, would face a re-trial on two sex abuse charges.
Travis, who counted Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi among his fans in his heyday, was cleared of 12 other offences earlier this month but a jury had been unable to reach a verdict on one charge of indecent assault and one of sexual assault.
(Editing by Stephen Addison)
Cristobal forms in Gulf of Mexico as season’s third tropical storm
Tropical Storm Cristobal's formation in the Gulf of Mexico marks a new record as the earliest that the Atlantic hurricane season has seen its third named disturbance, US meteorologists said Tuesday.
The storm is producing maximum sustained winds of 40 miles (65 kilometers) per hour with some stronger gusts, as it swirls about 140 miles from the Mexican city of Campeche on the Yucatan peninsula, according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC).
The agency predicted the storm would move slowly, remaining in the southern Bay of Campeche until Wednesday evening.
A Tropical Storm Warning was issued from Campeche to Veracruz.
Thousands in Paris protest racial injustice as George Floyd killing resonates beyond US
Riot police fired tear gas Tuesday as scattered protesters in Paris pelted them with debris and set fires during an unauthorized demonstration against racial injustice and heavy-handed police tactics.
Several thousand people had previously rallied peacefully for two hours at the main Paris courthouse as global outrage over what happened to George Floyd in the United States kindled frustrations across borders and continents. The protesters also paid tribute to Adama Traoré, a French black man who died in police custody.
Brazil’s Yanomamis say endangered by miners spreading coronavirus
Brazil's Yanomami indigenous people on Tuesday demanded the government of President Jair Bolsonaro expel illegal goldminers from its territory to protect their communities from the spread of the coronavirus.
Three Yanomami people have died so far of COVID-19 and there are growing fears the pandemic could wipe out thousands of Brazil's 27,000 Yanomamis if they become widely exposed to the disease.
"The miners are entering the Yanomami indigenous land with COVID-19 contamination." said Dario Kopenawa, leader of the Hutukara Yanomami Association.
"It is a very serious situation for the Yanomami and that is why we are campaigning so that non-indigenous people worry about our situation. The coronavirus can kill many Yanomami," he said.