Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Savile abused girl pupils - police

Published 29/04/2015

Jimmy Savile
Jimmy Savile

Paedophile TV presenter Jimmy Savile abused at least 22 pupils and one visitor at a school for emotionally disturbed teenage girls where he was allowed to stay overnight and even molested his victims in the principal's office , according to a police report.

Surrey Police has concluded its investigations into Savile's activities who was given "unrestricted and largely unsupervised" access to Duncroft School in Staines-Upon-Thames, Surrey, which he visited at least 16 times between 1974 and 1979 and stayed overnight on at least two occasions.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) announced in December last year that no charges would be made against former staff members following the police investigation to find if anyone was complicit in the abuse.

Surrey Police launched Operation Outreach after receiving reports of sexual abuse committed by Savile at Duncroft following the ITV Exposure programme.

The aim of the probe was to determine the extent of his activities and to see if he was aided by anyone at the school.

The report says Savile first visited Duncroft on January 21 1974, and stopped when it temporarily closed in 1979, during which time he visited at least 16 times, although evidence from victims and witnesses suggest he attended more frequently.

Although written records show he stayed overnight twice, the report received accounts saying he stayed more frequently, in his own camper van or in staff quarters.

He is also recorded to have twice stayed at Norman Lodge, a hostel in the grounds used as a place of transition for girls who had gained employment, and also visited the intensive care unit twice.

The report says: "Jimmy Savile is recorded in log books to have taken pupils out, with a strong indication that they were unaccompanied by staff, on three occasions. It is evident that Jimmy Savile was given significant access to the grounds and buildings, and it appears that this access was unrestricted and largely unsupervised."

Duncroft was originally run by the National Association for Mental Health (NAMH), later called MIND, before its management was transferred to Barnardo's in 1975. A total of 166 pupils were identified as having attended the school between 1974 and 1979, of whom 54 have had contact with Surrey Police as part of the investigation.

Of the 46 offences established by Surrey Police, 25 occurred in the grounds of Duncroft, six in Norman Lodge and 15 off-site but within Surrey.

Four offences occurred in vehicles taken to the school by Savile and others were in various rooms in Duncroft including the principal's office, dining room, common room, kitchen, TV room and a bedroom or the intensive care unit, while 13 of the off-site offences occurred in vehicles taken to the school by Savile.

Of the 23 victims, 10 were abused on a single occasion by Savile and 13 were abused at least twice.

Five victims were abused seven times and one was abused three times.

The report tells of a number of offences committed by Savile including sexual touching.

If charged, Savile would have faced an allegation of rape, five of assault by penetration, two of causing a person to engage in sexual activity without consent and 38 offences of sexual assault.

The report says Surrey Police submitted a file to the CPS in relation to two members of staff at Duncroft during the relevant time period with the remaining staff members not considered as suspects.

The CPS decided there was not a realistic prospect of conviction by a jury although prosecutors explained to the victims that they believed the accounts that they had been given.

Assistant Chief Constable Stuart Cundy said Surrey Police had published its Operation Outreach report to be "open and clear" on its inquiries and actions.

The investigation was launched following an earlier investigation, Operation Ornament, published in January 2013, which looked at a previous investigation into Savile by Surrey Police carried out between 2007 and 2009.

Outreach was launched in 2012 to establish a clearer picture of the breadth of Savile's offending at Duncroft.

Mr Cundy said: "The Outreach investigation was launched to ascertain the level of offending at Duncroft School, to look at the knowledge of staff and, in conjunction with the CPS, to determine if any criminal charges should be brought.

"In January 2013, when the force published its report into the original investigation at Duncroft (Operation Ornament), we identified several key failings. These included that the focus on a specific time period between 1977 and 1979 was too narrow and the decision not to interview staff at that time should have been reviewed.

"As today's report shows, extensive investigative work has since been carried out to review all material available from MIND and Barnardo's, who each managed the school for a period between 1974 and 1979, as well as speaking to former members of staff. In total, 44 statements have now been taken, 300 officer reports submitted and 166 former pupils contacted in relation to this inquiry.

"Inquiries in the original 2007/09 investigation pre-dated much of what we now know about Savile and his pattern of abuse. The force has always accepted there are things which should have been done differently in Operation Ornament and these were highlighted in the report published by Surrey Police in 2013.

"I thank all those who came forward during the course of the Outreach investigation as it is only with their support that a large number of other offences by Savile at Duncroft have been uncovered."

Karen Froggatt, director at the charity Victim Support responsible for the charity's work supporting victims of child abuse, said: "Victim Support is directly helping some of Savile's victims, along with thousands of other victims of child abuse. We know how much they have suffered - at the hands of their abusers and from the ignorance of the authorities.

"If those supposed to be protecting these vulnerable young people had spent less time judging their behaviour, and more time believing their cries for help, the dreadful abuse detailed in this report would have ended far sooner.

"It is so important that victims of abuse are believed and supported as they seek justice. All of these people will want to know that lessons really have been learned by the authorities so this won't happen to anyone else.

"But victims of abuse will continue to lack the confidence to come forward, unless there is a change in culture and attitudes towards them. The sad consequence is that abusers will remain free to offend time and again.

"Our specially trained staff and volunteers are here to help anyone affected by crime, whenever it took place and regardless of whether or not the police are involved. Call our Supportline on 08 08 16 89 111 or go to our website www.victimsupport.org.uk."

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph