Belfast Telegraph

Rantzen: No memory of Savile claim

Esther Rantzen has denied she ignored allegations about Jimmy Savile from an anti-child abuse campaigner.

Police believe Savile's alleged catalogue of sex abuse could have spanned six decades and included about 60 victims, but the presenter and ChildLine founder said she had only ever heard "rumours" about him.

She told ITV1's This Morning: "As Ian Hislop said so brilliantly last week, knowledge means that you hear from the person it happened to or a witness and that's what the ITV documentary showed me. Up until then, I've heard rumours about the royal family, politicians, about TV presenters and my view about rumours is the vast majority of the rumours are untrue. So I didn't know anything."

Rantzen also said she had "no memory" of being contacted by campaigner Shy Keenan who said she told her about Savile.

She said: "Now the lady who says that she told me 18 years ago - I've gone back through the records of that year to see if we ever did an item about child abuse in that series of That's Life...she says she met me then. I have no memory of her at all. And we did one item about child abuse in that series and it was about criminal compensation...the other members of That's Life staff have no memory of her."

Kevin Cook, who claims to be Savile's youngest victim, said the star molested him in 1976 when he was nine years old and appeared on Jim'll Fix It.

He told the show: "I wish I'd come forward years ago - that's the regret because obviously he's passed away and nothing can be done."

The disclosures about Savile's private life were made in an ITV documentary a fortnight ago.

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