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Portsmouth MP welcomes government apology to Savile victims

Jimmy Savile

Jimmy Savile

  • by Clare Semke and Miles O’Leary
 

A PORTSMOUTH MP has welcomed an apology from the health secretary to Jimmy Savile’s victims as shocking reports into sexual abuse involving the late presenter are published.

Jeremy Hunt has said sorry on behalf of the government and the NHS to all of Savile’s victims.

Mr Hunt told the Commons the whole country will share ‘a deep sense of revulsion’ over what reports from 28 NHS hospitals trusts reveal.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said every person who has come forward in the wake of the scandal involving the disgraced presenter coming to light should be given the ‘benefit of the doubt.’

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust is among the trusts that have produced reports into allegations made about Savile during visits.

The trust’s report reveals an allegation made by a then 16-year-old boy who was a patient at the now defunct Royal Hospital Portsmouth in the 1960s when Savile is said to have visited.

The alleged victim said he was told by a cleaner at the hospital that the presenter had assaulted him while he was unconscious.

He was interviewed by police as part of the original Operation Yewtree probe into abuse claims and also by Hampshire Police.

However detectives later decided he was not a credible witness because his descriptions and assertions about what happened appeared ‘fancible’ or ‘impossible.’

The report says the account is based solely on what he says the cleaner told him that she saw and it had not been possible to identify the cleaner.

Findings were presented at a press conference in London this morning by Kate Lampard, who was appointed by the Department of Health to oversee the investigations.

Ms Mordaunt said: ‘I’m very pleased that this has been investigated and it seems to have been not just in Portsmouth but elsewhere very vigorously investigated, but I would make the point that the apology today applies to everyone, whether their case is going to be taken forward by the Crown Prosecution Service, whether they are pursuing that or not.

‘Clearly we cannot know what happened in many of these cases and I think we need to in terms of the apology give people the benefit of the doubt.

‘Certainly the fact that it could have taken place shows that the standards of duty of care at the time were not as we would have and for that I think we need to apologise to people for making them vulnerable.’

Inquiries were prompted after a review by the Metropolitan Police revealed shocking claims relating to Jimmy Savile sexually abusing victims in hospital settings, including within the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust area and the high-security psychiatric Broadmoor Hospital.

The review findings, published in January last year, saw 214 criminal offences, including 34 rapes, recorded against Savile’s name across the UK between 1955 and 2009.

It said the Top Of The Pops presenter sexually abused a teenager at a hospice, one of 14 medical sites he used to prey on his victims.

He also committed 14 offences at schools across the country, partly when children had written to him for his popular BBC series Jim’ll Fix It.

Detectives have run Operation Yewtree in three strands - allegations involving Savile, those involving Savile and others, and those involving others.

A number of high-profile names have since been charged under the operation, including veteran entertainer Rolf Harris.

Further research by the NSPCC claimed at least 500 victims as young as two were abused by Savile.

The NSPCC report said the scale of Savile’s offending inside Broadmoor was higher than previously thought, with Thames Valley Police having received 16 reports of abuse by him inside the special hospital.

The figures show the most common age group for Savile’s victims was 13 to 15 - and the youngest alleged victim was just two years old.

Fears that Savile abused children in more than 20 children’s homes and schools across England are also being investigated.

Allegations dating back to the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s have been handed to the Department for Education (DfE) following a review of documents by the Metropolitan Police.

Local authorities and other relevant institutions have been asked to further investigate the claims, Education Secretary Michael Gove said in a written statement.

 
 
 

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