UK

Stoke Mandeville nurse: Jimmy Savile took my innocence

Jimmy Savile

A nurse who was sexually assaulted by Jimmy Savile has said the abuse she suffered at the hands of the disgraced former BBC DJ "ruined" a decade of her life.

The woman, who worked at Buckinghamshire's Stoke Mandeville Hospital, was targeted by Savile while she was based at the children's ward.

Savile abused her over an 18-month period - when she was aged 17 to 19 - assaulting her when she was preparing milk feeds for children and even after she had been admitted to the staff sick bay with tonsillitis.

Speaking to the BBC, she said she wished Savile was still alive so she could tell him how he had affected her life and "ruined my 20s".

'Porter's office'

The woman said Savile was "one of the team" on the children's ward and had his own porter's office and flat at the hospital. She said she had initially been "in awe" of him.

"He was God as far as the children were concerned.

"He had high status and they gave him a job as a porter. He was just one of the staff, he was one of the team."

However, she said Savile's interest in her soon turned more sinister.

"It was casual, friendly, patting on the bottom, to start off with. But I think he was always trying to push the boundaries with me," she said.

"So it moved from patting my bottom to trying to put his hands on my breasts and putting his hand under my skirt."

Savile began targeting her during her daily job of preparing the milk feeds for children on the ward.

'Scared and violated'

She said he would follow her into the milk kitchen - where she could be for up to two hours a day - and would lock the door behind them.

"I used to try and make excuses not to do the milk feeds," she said.

"It was invading my privacy and I didn't know what he was doing. It did frighten me. I was scared and violated."

On another occasion the woman was diagnosed with tonsillitis while at work and was taken to the staff sick bay.

"Jimmy Savile used to come every day and see me and again he used to put his hand under the sheet and touch my thigh and try and put his hand inside my thighs," she said.

"My mum came to see me and he came and put his head around the door. I said, 'don't let him in, don't let him in'.

"That was the time I told her what he had been doing and she was horrified. She wanted to say something but I didn't let her. I was a bit ashamed."

She said Savile's fame stopped her from reporting the abuse.

"I was too embarrassed because he was Jimmy Savile. You don't want to get him into trouble. He was Jimmy Savile and I couldn't say a bad word against him.

"I was scared what the repercussions would be if I did scream, so I just let it go," she added.

The woman continued to keep the abuse secret for more than 10 years, until she told her husband when she was aged 30. She said it was only recently that she realised how the abuse had affected her.

"I went from being a quiet person and an innocent person at that age, and I went the opposite.

"I became quite promiscuous in my 20s. I tended to gravitate towards older men for some reason or other, I don't know why."

'I was just a kid'

She said she remembered her heart beating "really fast" when, years later, she heard allegations about Savile surface in the media for the first time.

"The first time that I actually recounted my story I cried and it shocked me that I cried because it has been a long time. It was my secret. Apart from my husband it was something that I kept for a long time."

Despite her own experience with Savile, she said it was still a shock when the full nature of the allegations against him became clear.

"He was always so good with the children and the children loved him to bits.

"I was probably too naive to notice, and I certainly wasn't an experienced nurse to notice the non-verbal body language or behaviour of a child then. I was just a kid myself really," she said.

She said she was sure people at the hospital covered up Savile's abuse.

"I can't believe people didn't know about it. I would imagine that people covered it up for him, or people knew that he was doing it and just chose not to say anything.

"He was always with people, always with the kids, but because he was Jimmy Savile nobody really suspected."

The woman told the BBC she wished Savile was still alive so she could confront him about the abuse.

"I would like to meet him now and I would like to tell him how he affected my life. I can't speak for other people, but I would like to tell him how he ruined my 20s."