Savile report: DPP apologies to sexual predator's victims

Director of Public Prosecutions admits police missed three opportunities to stop the late BBC entertainer

LAST UPDATED AT 13:06 ON Fri 11 Jan 2013

BRITAIN'S most senior prosecutor has apologised to Jimmy Savile's victims after releasing a report revealing police had three opportunities to prosecute the entertainer for sex offences, but failed to do so.

The report, one of two released today into the activities of a man described as a "prolific, predatory sex offender", says police were "unjustifiably cautious" when they investigated allegations against Savile made by women who said they were abused by the Jim'll Fix It host in the 1970s.

Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said the allegations made in 2007 and 2008 were treated with a "degree of caution which was neither justified nor necessary" and apologised for the Crown Prosecution Service's "shortcomings" in relation to the cases.

Starmer said the release of the internal CPS review of a 2009 decision not to charge Savile with sexual offences needed to be a "watershed" moment if his apology was to mean anything.

A second report into Savile – a detailed account of the abuses he committed over a 50-year period compiled by Scotland Yard and the NSPCC – was released by the Metropolitan Police today. The 30-page document says he committed 34 acts involving "rape or penetration" and abused children as young as eight during half a century of sex crimes.

Met commander Peter Spindler said the report shows Savile used his celebrity to "hide in plain sight" as he abused children at institutions across the country.

Peter Watt, director of child protection at the NSPCC, told The Guardian the report confirms Savile was "one of the most prolific sex offenders" his organisation had ever dealt with in its 129-year history. "It's clear Savile cunningly built his entire life into gaining access to vulnerable children," Watt said. "But with this report we can at least show his victims that they have been taken seriously and their suffering has been recognised."

A BBC statement issued in response to the report said it contained "shocking revelations" and the broadcaster was appalled that some of the offences took place on BBC premises, including the Top of the Pops studio. The corporation reiterated its apology to victims.

Meanwhile, Leeds Teaching Hospitals, one of the institutions named in the Met report as a place where Savile abused children, said it would hold a thorough investigation into allegations of abuse at Leeds General Infirmary and St James's University Hospital where Savile worked as a volunteer and fundraiser.

Great Ormond Street Hospital, another institution implicated in the scandal, called the report "extremely distressing", the BBC reported. · 

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