Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

'Chance to catch Savile was missed'

It has been claimed police missed a chance to arrest Jimmy Savile

The "best opportunity" to catch Jimmy Savile over abuse claims was missed by police who decided not to interview the former headteacher of a children's home, it has been claimed.

Surrey Police said that a decision was made not to speak to ex-workers from Duncroft Approved School unless there was evidence that they had witnessed or been told about sexual abuse.

Allegations linked to three former residents of the home dating back to the 1970s were made in 2007, but prosecutors found there was not enough evidence to take action.

Child protection expert Mark Williams-Thomas told the Daily Telegraph that the failure to speak to head teacher Margaret Jones as part of the investigation was a missed chance to catch Savile while he was alive.

He said: "The 2007 investigation offered the best opportunity to catch Savile. It raises questions about why the one person who could have provided information was not spoken to. She could have provided important background information about the girls and Savile."

A spokeswoman for Surrey Police said officers had spoken to 22 former residents of the home, and the charity Barnado's that ran the home at the time of the allegations.

She said: "Barnardo's informed us they had no record of any allegations of sexual abuse reported to staff during this period.

"A decision was made not to interview former staff unless there was evidence to suggest they witnessed abuse or were made aware of abuse at the time.

"None of the former residents spoken to during the course of the investigation indicated staff witnessed abuse and stated they had not reported abuse to any staff at the time."

Mr Williams-Thomas also told the Evening Standard that the names of two other celebrities accused of abuse would be passed to the Metropolitan Police. He said that alleged victims of the pair had come forward in the last 48 hours.

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