Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 23 November 2014

Savile victims total 'could double'

Police are dealing with around 450 abuse claims against Jimmy Savile
Police are dealing with around 450 abuse claims against Jimmy Savile

The number of victims who fell prey to Jimmy Savile could double, with current figures "a mere drop in the ocean", a child protection expert has said.

Mark Williams-Thomas, who presented the original ITV documentary that first exposed Savile as a dangerous sexual predator, said he could have targeted hundreds more victims in his near six decades of abuse.

He said: "For anybody who works in this area the sheer scale is quite shocking. When you deal with sex offenders they are quite specific in their targeting. What is different with Savile is that there's no specific target in terms of ages or sexes. He ranged from male to female, children to adults. It's truly shocking.

"The first offence was in 1955 and the last in 2009, that's almost 60 years of offending. There could be at least double the number of potential victims, it's a mere drop in the ocean."

Scotland Yard is leading Operation Yewtree, the investigation into allegations against Savile and a number of other high-profile figures. It is currently dealing with around 450 claims against Savile himself.

So far police have interviewed 10 people in relation to alleged sexual offences.

Mr Williams-Thomas said he knows of a number of other well-known names who have not yet been interviewed by police but are under investigation.

He said: "Savile was never going to be brought to justice because he's dead, but we've given the victims a voice and that's really important. Now we have to make sure that those people who are alive, that evidence is collected correctly and if they have done anything wrong they are brought to justice."

Mr Williams-Thomas called for one person to be appointed to gather together the results of the string of internal investigations being carried out by health organisations, police forces and the BBC.

He said: "What I would like to see is one single individual who has expertise in this field, who is not going to be silenced, who could pull together all of the reports and give us a definitive answer."

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