Jimmy Savile's headstone sent to landfill on his family's orders

Memorial dug up overnight as other celebrities face questions from police over sexual abuse

LAST UPDATED AT 12:51 ON Wed 10 Oct 2012

JIMMY SAVILE'S headstone has been removed from a Scarborough cemetery in the dead of night in an operation overseen by the police after his family requested its destruction "out of respect to public opinion".

Four undertakers spent two hours digging up the £4,000 headstone, which was erected above the late BBC presenter’s grave in the Woodlands Cemetery in September and bore the epitaph "It was good while it lasted".

Funeral director Robert Morphet told The Guardian the gravestone would now be ground down so the inscription is "totally wiped" and will then be destroyed. "It will be broken up, placed in a skip and used as landfill," he said.

A statement issued by the Savile family said they were aware of the impact the stone could have on the "dignity and sanctity" of the cemetery and "out of respect to public opinion, to those who are buried there, and to those who tend their graves and visit there" they had decided to have it taken away.

Its removal came hours after Commander Peter Spindler, Scotland Yard's head of specialist crime investigations, told a press conference: "At this stage it is quite clear from what women are telling us that Savile was a predatory sex offender."

The Metropolitan Police is assessing allegations of rape and indecent assault, which span four decades and date back to 1959, involving teenage girls as young as 13. Officers are said to be looking into nearly 120 lines of inquiry that could lead to up to 25 victims, reports The Times.

However, a full criminal investigation into the allegations has been ruled out by Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe because Savile is no longer alive. Police have said they will nevertheless look to see if there is "anyone involved who is still alive who can be brought to justice".

According to the Daily Mirror, as many as five other celebrities could face investigation, including convicted paedophile Gary Glitter and comedian Freddie Starr, who strenuously denies claims that he assaulted a 14-year-old girl.

There have also been claims relating to two unnamed BBC stars, one a soap actor and the other a DJ who is said to have assaulted Radio 1 presenter Liz Kershaw in the 80s. · 

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Am I alone in my disgust at the post mortem witch trial of Sir Jimmy Savile? He has NOT been tried in a Court of Law - he cannot be; nevertheless, we now have senior Police officers confirming his guilt, simply on allegations (no matter how convincing or well-founded those allegations might be).

The balance of probability suggests that there is no smoke without fire in this case but, for God's sake - allow due process to take place instead of simply confirming Sir Jimmy's guilt on (as yet) quite unfounded allegations. After all, isn't it the purpose of the forthcoming Police investigation to establish, beyond reasonable doubt, the veracity of this sudden outpouring of allegations?

The ease and alacrity with which the senior Police officer has pronounced the accusers as "victims" is quite disturbing and would, no doubt, prejudice a fair trial if Sir Jimmy was still alive; they are not victims until, or unless, the facts have been properly established to back up their allegations - until then, and no matter how repugnant Sir Jimmy's actions might have been, he is still "innocent until proven guilty".

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