Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 23 October 2014

Savile probe 'is watershed moment'

Police investigating the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal are following more than 400 lines of inquiry linked to around 300 alleged victims

Jimmy Savile is one of the most prolific sex offenders in recent history and the inquiry into his abuse will be a "watershed" investigation into sex crime, Scotland Yard has said.

Commander Peter Spindler said the force is now dealing with around 300 potential victims, of whom all except two are women.

Suspects other than Savile have been accused and officers are "developing an arrest strategy" but have yet to detain anyone or interview them under caution, he said.

Mr Spindler said Savile was "undoubtedly" one of the most prolific sex offenders he had come across.

He added: "Within London we have trebled the number of historic abuse allegations. I have no doubt that we're in a watershed moment for child abuse investigation, and Operation Yewtree will be a landmark investigation."

Questions have been raised over why previous allegations against Savile were not pursued. Mr Spindler said a retired officer had been in touch to say he had investigated Savile in the 1980s while based in west London but did not have the evidence to proceed.

Another allegation, of inappropriate touching dating back to the 1970s, was made by a woman in 2003, but this was treated as "intelligence" by police because the victim did not want to take action.

Allegations that three doctors were involved in an abuse ring linked to Savile have not yet been passed to the investigation team, Mr Spindler said. The former DJ, who died last year aged 84, had a bedroom at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, an office and living quarters at Broadmoor and widespread access to Leeds General Infirmary.

The officer added that a search of a cottage belonging to Savile in Scotland was being carried out to look for "any evidence of any others being involved in any offending with him".

Officers have adopted a "triage" approach to dealing with the victims, first approaching them by phone to get details of their claims.

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