Beds, Herts & Bucks

No evidence of Jimmy Savile link to 'abuse' orphanage, say police

Jimmy Savile
Image caption Savile presented programmes including Top Of The Pops and Jim'll Fix It

No evidence has been found to link disgraced TV star Jimmy Savile to an orphanage at the centre of an abuse inquiry, a chief constable has said.

Cabinet minister Justine Greening wrote to head of Bedfordshire Police Colette Paul after concerns were raised by constituent Gordon McIntosh.

It was reported Savile could have visited the home in the 1950s.

Mrs Paul said there was "anecdotal evidence" of Savile visiting the area but nothing linking him to the home.

Top of the Pops

Since Savile's death in 2011, hundreds of people around the country have reported abuse by the former Top of the Pops presenter.

International Development Secretary Ms Greening said she had written to the chief constable asking for a new investigation to look at a "potential link with Jimmy Savile".

In her reply, Mrs Paul said there was no evidence to "substantiate" links between the home and Savile.

"There have been anecdotal accounts of Jimmy Savile visiting the surrounding area in Bedfordshire but not St Francis Boys Home," she said." Should we receive any information or evidence to suggest that Jimmy Savile did attend the home this will be dealt with immediately."

Mr McIntosh is a spokesman for a group of former residents of St Francis Boys' Home, who allege abuse.

Last year a 77-year-old man, from Thetford, Norfolk, was arrested on suspicion of historical physical and sexual abuse at the home, while a 71-year-old man has been interviewed in connection with the investigation.

Image copyright Google
Image caption St Francis Boys Home in Shefford, Bedfordshire, closed in the 1970s

In May 2013, Bedfordshire Police revealed an investigation had started into abuse allegations at the home dating back to the 1950s and 1960s.

The BBC has spoken to a number of former boys' home residents who allege abuse.

The home, which was run by the Northampton diocese of the Catholic church, closed in the mid-1970s.

The diocese previously said it "deeply regretted" any hurt caused, but has stressed the "claims are not proven".

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