England

Surrey school pupils abused by Savile, police report says

Jimmy Savile
Image caption The TV celebrity was questioned about allegations of abuse in 2009 but no action was taken

Jimmy Savile sexually abused at least 22 pupils and a visitor at a school for emotionally-disturbed girls in the 1970s, a report has said.

It follows an investigation by Surrey Police into offences by Savile at Duncroft Approved School in Staines.

It found Savile committed at least 46 offences including one allegation which would have been classified as rape, under current laws.

One girl was abused in the school principal's office, police said.

Ten victims were abused on a single occasion and 13 on at least two occasions.

Surrey Police said Savile was given "unrestricted and largely unsupervised" access to the school, which he visited at least 16 times, between 1974 and 1979 and even stayed overnight on two occasions.

The TV celebrity was questioned about allegations of abuse in 2009 but no action was taken.

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

Assistant Chief Constable, Stuart Cundy, said the force published a report into its original investigation at Duncroft in 2013 and several key failings by the force were identified.

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Image caption Duncroft Approved School closed in the 1980s

It found the focus on the period between 1977 and 1979 was too narrow and the decision not to interview staff should have been reviewed. The school closed in the 1980s.

He said an extensive investigation had been carried out since then to review all material available.

The original investigation, Operation Ornament, looked at Surrey Police's inquiries into Savile between 2007 and 2009 and this second investigation, Operation Outreach, was launched to establish a "clearer picture".

Mr Cundy said: "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 a report published by Surrey Police in 2013."

'Cries for help'

Charity Victim Support said action could have been taken at an earlier stage.

Director Karen Froggatt said: "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."

Savile, who died in 2011 aged 84, was a Radio 1 DJ and the presenter of the Jim'll Fix It show on BBC One.

He was one of Britain's most prolific sex abusers and is thought to have assaulted hundreds of people between the ages of five and 75, over a sixty-year period.

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