The Northern Ireland police officer who led a UK agency which targeted online paedophilia has claimed an interview Jimmy Savile gave defending Gary Glitter potentially points to his guilt over sex abuse allegations.
Former Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) boss Jim Gamble said Savile’s attitude was similar to other sex offenders in the way he “minimised” and “self-justified” Glitter’s abuse of young children.
At the time Savile said that Glitter was targeted because of his wealth and that he was only viewing some “dodgy” videos in the privacy of his own home.
Over the past week, allegations have emerged that Savile, who was awarded a knighthood in 1990 for his charity work, was involved in serious sexual assaults on under-age girls at the height of his fame.
Some of the allegations, publicised in an ITV documentary, refer to incidents on BBC premises.
“I couldn’t believe it when I listened to that recording of the interview about Gary Glitter. His (Savile’s) own words appear to be very damning. They set alarm bells ringing for me,” said Mr Gamble.
The child abuse investigator said that if the allegations are true then those people who said nothing at the time when they knew Savile was abusing young children, or saw him taking them on trips away, now have to live with the fact that they did nothing.
“Those who are now admitting they knew something but did not act should be challenged. My question to them would be: ‘If Jimmy Savile turned up to take your child away in his car alone with him would you have let them go?’ If the answer is no, then how dare you allow other people’s children go with him,” said Mr Gamble.
“I also don’t buy that argument that it was the Seventies and there was nobody to report to. Jimmy Savile didn’t die in the Seventies. He went on to have a very long career. Crimestoppers has been running since 1988 and ChildLine has been running for decades.”
Met police are currently carrying out an assessment of the allegations to decide whether there is enough evidence to carry out a criminal investigation.
Mr Gamble said if a full investigation is launched then those people who stayed quiet about Savile’s alleged abuse of young children could face charges of aiding and abetting or perverting the course of justice.
The BBC has promised a “comprehensive examination” of allegations that Savile sexually abused girls while working there.
Director-general George Entwistle said all “outstanding questions” would be addressed — but only after “police had finished everything they have to do”.
He apologised to women involved “for what they've had to endure”.
Mr Gamble welcomed news of the BBC’s internal review but warned it would only be “credible” if it had the expertise and independence “that will deal with the perception, perhaps, that this culture of cover-up still exists within the organisation”.