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Savile's string of victims in Dorset
8:00am Saturday 12th January 2013 in News
DISGRACED TV presenter Jimmy Savile is alleged to have sexually abused four people living in Dorset.
The victims made contact with the police following the launch of Operation Yewtree – a dedicated investigation set up following the death of the Jim’ll Fix It star.
A report by Scotland Yard and the NSPCC published yesterday revealed the shocking scale of his predatory offending which spanned decades.
It states that Savile, who owned a flat on Bournemouth’s East Cliff, was 'a prolific, predatory sex offender', who could have been prosecuted for offences against at least three victims while he was alive.
The ‘Giving Victims a Voice’ report adds that the presenter used his celebrity status to ''hide in plain sight'', with 214 criminal offences now recorded against him across 28 police forces. Four of these were in Dorset and three in neighbouring Hampshire.
A spokesperson of Dorset Police Safeguarding Referral Unit said: “Dorset Police is working with officers from Operation Yewtree and are investigating reports of historic criminal offences that have occurred in Dorset.”
And in a statement, Hampshire Police yesterday said: “Hampshire Constabulary received three separate reports of sexual assault by Jimmy Savile that were alleged to have been committed in the force area.
“All three were passed to the Metropolitan Police Service for investigation as part of Operation Yewtree.”
Alison Levitt QC, legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), said Savile could have been prosecuted in 2009 had police taken victims more seriously.
A total of 450 people have come forward alleging sexual abuse against Savile since October, including 34 rapes and 126 indecent acts.
Offences took place in hospitals, mental health units and even a hospice and victims were aged between eight and 47.
Commander Peter Spindler, who is leading the national investigation into Savile's abuse, said: ''Savile's offending footprint was vast, predatory and opportunistic. He cannot face justice today, but we hope this report gives some comfort to his hundreds of victims. They have been listened to and taken seriously.''
He said 617 people had made contact with officers investigating claims against Savile and other figures in the entertainment industry, with 450 directly relating to Savile.
Peter Watt, of the NSPCC, said: ''The sheer scale of Savile's abuse over six decades simply beggars belief. He is without doubt one of the most prolific sex offenders we have ever come across and every number represents a victim that will never get justice now he is dead. But with this report we can at least show his victims that they have been taken seriously and their suffering has been recognised.''
Jimmy Savile had several links to Bournemouth. He bought a flat on the East Cliff and moved in during April 1972.
He kept the flat and visited occasionally where he was often seen running along the promenade.
The flat was reportedly sold for charity when he died in 2011, aged 84.
Savile also once owned the popular Bournemouth cafe Norwegian Wood, right, in Glen Fern Road and surrounding buildings.
After the allegations emerged about Savile, current owner Lindsey Webb said she planned to scrub his name from its history.
Savile also worked as a public relations consultant for the Maison Royale/Le Cardinal nightclub complex on Glen Fern Road from 1973 until 1978.
The majority of people reporting sex crimes about shamed Jimmy Savile had kept their experiences secret for several decades.
The Giving Victims a Voice report states that many had not spoken out for fear of not being believed or taken seriously.
Other reasons included shame, a lack of trust in statutory agencies and the justice system, a fear of getting themselves or perpetrator into trouble, and the offender using threats and coercion to silence them.
But the report also noted there had been a ‘substantial rise in the reporting of non-recent sexual abuse since Operation Yewtree began’.
Yesterday Dorset Police urged victims of rape or sexual abuse to contact them – no matter how long ago the offence happened. Detective Superintendent Andy Clowser said: “If you have been a victim of any sexual assault, but have not reported it, please do come forward and tell us.
“I would like to reassure victims of this sort of crime that Dorset Police take these matters extremely seriously.
“I appreciate the sensitivities and the reluctance of some victims in reporting such matters. I have dedicated specially trained teams who are experienced in dealing with offences exactly like those that form part of the Savile investigation.
“Some victims may only wish to speak with non police professionals and this is of course something we would completely respect.”
Dorset last year launched its ARC – a dedicated sexual assault referral centre where victims are offered multi agency support in a safe, discreet and caring environment.
Anyone – man, woman or child – who has been sexually assaulted either recently or in the past, can contact ARC Dorset directly or the police.
ARC Dorset is open 10am until 3pm Monday to Friday and available on 0845 519 8638, email email@example.com Det Supt Clowser continued: “I would urge victims of these awful crimes to speak to someone whether it is a matter that has just happened or happened some time ago.”
Ron Lock, independent chair of the Bournemouth and Poole Local Safeguarding Children’s Board, said: “A huge amount of work is underway in the area of children’s safeguarding and locally we work with other multi agency partners to tackle the serious issues around child abuse and sexualisation and exploitation of children and young people.
“There is the real concern in society that children are being exposed to adult and sexual behaviours too early, and consider themselves as part of the adult world, when they should be allowed to be children and grow up at a more natural pace. At the extreme end of these concerns is that the sexualisation of children can unintentionally leave children vulnerable to sexual abuse.”
Annette Brooke, MP for Mid Dorset and North Poole, said: “This is an issue which we should all take seriously. “I think the Jimmy Savile case has shown just how prevalent child abuse is and it concerns me.
“It is very important that when it’s identified that a child has been sexually abused they are offered the right counselling and support.”
She said she continues to campaign in Parliament for victims of sexual abuse to be automatically offered therapeutic treatment.
Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns said: “For those victims of Savile’s cruel exploitive behaviour, no report is going to bring full closure. The reality is Jimmy Savile is dead and cannot be punished in the way he deserved to be punished.
“The report highlights that had the victims of Savile’s abuse been taken more seriously, it’s likely he would have been brought to justice and there would have been fewer victims.”