Jimmy Savile scandal: Chances to prosecute 'were missed'

Jimmy Savile The CPS admitted it had missed chances to prosecute Savile

Opportunities to prosecute Jimmy Savile for sex offences were missed because police and prosecutors did not take allegations seriously, a report says.

A review of the decision not to prosecute the TV presenter in 2009 was published by the legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions (DPP).

Alison Levitt QC found that had police and prosecutors "taken a different approach" prosecutions could have been possible in relation to three victims.

DPP Keir Starmer has apologised.

The review comes on the day the Metropolitan Police and NPSCC outlined details of the sexual abuse Savile carried out over a period of 50 years.

Savile committed offences at 13 hospitals and a Leeds hospice, the BBC and a number of schools, their report said.

The former presenter of BBC's Top Of The Pops and Jim'll Fix It, who also worked as a Radio 1 DJ and received a knighthood in 1990, died aged 84 in October 2011 - a year before the allegations emerged in an ITV documentary.

In May 2007 Surrey Police received an allegation that Savile had sexually assaulted a teenage girl at Duncroft Approved School in the 1970s.

During a police investigation two more allegations emerged - one from a girl who had been at Duncroft and the other from a girl who claimed he had sexually assaulted her at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

What Savile said to the police

"If this [these allegations] does not disappear then my policy will swing into action. I have an LLD, that's a Doctor of Laws, not an honorary one but a real one. That gives me friends. If I was going to sue anyone, we would not go to a local court, we would go to the Old Bailey 'cos my people can put time in the Old Bailey. So my legal people are ready and waiting.

"All we need is a name and an address and then the due process would start. I've never done anybody any harm in my entire life. I have no need to chase girls, there are thousands of them on Top of the Pops. I have no need to take liberties... the newspapers consider me to be very boring, I have no kinky carryings on.

"But because I take everything seriously I've alerted my legal team that they may be doing business and if we do, you ladies [the two female officers] will finish up at the Old Bailey as well because we will be wanting you there as witnesses. But nobody ever seems to want to go that far."

CPS report

In October 2009, Savile was interviewed under caution and said all three allegations had been invented by the complainants, who he claimed were after money.

'Watershed moment'

He threatened to take legal action against the police and mentioned that he had sued five newspapers in the past.

Ms Levitt QC found in her report that prosecutions could have been possible "had the police and prosecutors taken a different approach".

Mr Starmer said he wanted the case to be "a watershed moment".

Ms Levitt said there was nothing to suggest the three victims who made allegations against Savile had colluded or were unreliable.

She said the police and prosecutors treated their claims "with a degree of caution which was neither justified nor required".

Sussex Police received a complaint in March 2008 that Savile had sexually assaulted a woman in a caravan in Sussex in 1970.

This was passed on to Surrey Police, who consulted with the CPS about all four allegations but decided in October 2009 no prosecution could be brought because the victims would not support police action.

Ms Levitt found Surrey Police did not tell the victims other complaints had been made.

The victims told Ms Levitt that if they had known others were making complaints they probably would have been prepared to give evidence in court.

Surrey Police Assistant Chief Constable Jerry Kirkby said: "At the time, there was nothing to suggest the level of offending now being reported on a national scale."

Deputy Chief Constable Giles York, from Sussex Police, said: "We welcome the DPP's statement, including the finding that the Sussex Police case was handled by experienced and committed officers, who acted in good faith, seeking to apply the correct principles.

"We also recognise that we could have done better and are committed to honest reflection and learning lessons for the future."

More on This Story

Jimmy Savile and the NHS

Related Stories

More UK stories


Features & Analysis

  • Signposts showing the US and UK flagsAn ocean apart

    How British misunderstanding of the US is growing

  • Before and after shotsPerfect body

    Just how reliable are 'before and after' photos?

  • Mukesh SinghNo remorse

    Delhi bus rapist says victim shouldn't have fought back

  • A cow wearing sunglasses overlaid with the phrase 'Can't touch this'Cow row

    Thousands rally against the ban on beef in India

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • StudentsBull market

    Employers are snapping up students with this desirable degree


  • Former al-Qaeda double agent Aimen DeanHARDtalk Watch

    Islamic State is about revenge says former al-Qaeda member turned spy Aimen Dean

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.