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Police should have taken Jimmy Savile victims more seriously, report finds
10:36am Friday 11th January 2013 in Crime
Jimmy Savile was ''a prolific, predatory sex offender'' who could have been prosecuted for offences against at least three victims while he was alive, two separate reports said today.
The disgraced TV presenter used his celebrity status to ''hide in plain sight'', with 214 criminal offences now recorded against him across 28 police forces, a report by Scotland Yard and the NSPCC found.
It also revealed that Savile abused his victims at 14 medical sites including hospitals, mental health units and even a hospice.
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.
DPP Keir Starmer said: ''I would like to take the opportunity to apologise for the shortcomings in the part played by the CPS in these cases.
''If this report and my apology are to serve their full purpose, then this must be seen as a watershed moment.''
A total of 450 people have come forward alleging sexual abuse against Savile since October, and within the recorded crimes, there are 34 rapes and 126 indecent acts, the police and NSPCC report said.
Of his victims, 73 per cent were children, with the total victim age range between eight and 47 years old at the time of the offences.
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.''
Mr Spindler said so far 617 people had made contact with officers investigating claims against Savile and other figures in the entertainment industry, with 450 directly relating to Savile.
The police report found that the earliest reported offence committed by Savile was in Manchester in 1955, and the final reported allegation was in 2009.
The offences cover the period when Savile worked at the BBC between 1965 and 2006 and include allegations linked to the final recording of Top of the Pops.
They also involve the period when he worked at Leeds General Infirmary between 1965 and 1995.
Abuse at Stoke Mandeville Hospital took place between 1965 and 1988, while at Duncroft School, a children's home, the allegations cover a period between 1970 and 1978.
The peak was between 1966 and 1976, when he was aged between 40 and 50.
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.''