Belfast Telegraph

Jimmy Savile abuse claims are disgusting, says Northern Ireland friend

By Adrian Rutherford

A Northern Ireland woman who was befriended by Sir Jimmy Savile has said she is shocked and disgusted by claims that he was a predatory sex abuser.

Rosemary Craig, a “great friend” of the presenter, described the allegations as unbelievable and not in keeping with the man she knew.

An ITV documentary last night claimed that the former Jim’ll Fix It star was a sexual predator who allegedly raped and abused five underage schoolgirls.

On Tuesday it emerged police were investigating a new allegation of rape involving Savile.

But Mrs Craig, who befriended Savile through her work with the Disabled Police Officers’ Association of Northern Ireland (DPOA), said: “I find it quite unbelievable — this is definitely not the man that I knew.”

Savile, who died last year, was never charged with abuse offences. His family has rejected the allegations.

ITV’s Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile, has spoken to five women who claim they were abused by him when children.

Mrs Craig said she was very distressed by the claims.

Her husband, an ex-RUC officer, was severely injured after being shot by the IRA. She has done a lot of work with the DPOA.

She added: “Jimmy was a great friend and helped with the disabled police officers’ charity.

“He was the very first person to help me. At the time there was very little being done for disabled police officers.

“I wrote a letter to Jimmy Savile and he immediately responded. He sent me the money to fly over with a disabled officer and got him a new lightweight wheelchair. He put me on to Richard Branson who brought a Virgin aeroplane into Northern Ireland and took 375 disabled officers, their helpers and families to Florida for a holiday. All down to Jimmy Savile.”

Mrs Craig questioned why the allegations were not made public when Savile was alive — when he could have defended himself.

“He isn’t here to answer for himself. There is no defamation against someone who has passed on,” she said. “You have to be sensitive to someone who is making an allegation, but I can’t see the benefit of it. What will it gain? The person who they are making the allegation against is dead.”

It’s emerged that an historic rape claim against Savile has been referred to Scotland Yard.

Trustees of Savile’s charity said they were saddened by tonight’s documentary.

Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile, UTV, tonight 11.10pm

Profile

Sir Jimmy Savile died last October. The former presenter, most famous for show Jim’ll Fix It, died at his home in Roundhay, Leeds two days before his 85th birthday. Jim’ll Fix It drew in huge audiences and the programme received 20,000 letters a week. He was noted for his charity work, running 200 marathons and raising £40m over the years.

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