Jimmy Savile, the late BBC TV presenter revealed two
years ago to have been one of Britain's most prolific sex
offenders, might have sexually abused dead bodies in a hospital
where he worked as a volunteer, health investigators say.
In 2012 police said Savile, one of the Britain's best-known
celebrities in the 1970s and 1980s, had sexually abused
hundreds of victims, mainly youngsters, at hospitals and at
BBC premises over six decades until his death aged 84 in
A series of reports covering 28 hospitals where he had worked
showed Savile had used his fame and charitable work to get
unsupervised access to patients, raping and sexually abusing
boys, girls, men and women aged between five and 75 in wards,
corridors and offices.
"As a nation at that time, we held Savile in our affection as
a somewhat eccentric national treasure with a strong
commitment to charitable causes," Britain's Health Secretary
Jeremy Hunt told parliament.
"Today's reports show that in reality he was a sickening and
prolific sexual abuser who repeatedly exploited the trust of
a nation for his own vile purposes."
In one disclosure, it was reported that Savile, who had
publicly spoken of his fascination with the dead, had
sexually abused bodies in the mortuary of Leeds General
Infirmary in northern England, taking advantage of his role
as a volunteer porter.
"The allegations about his behaviour in the mortuary are
incredibly harrowing and disturbing," Sue Proctor, who led
the investigation at Leeds, told reporters.
She said Savile, a one-time professional wrestler who became
famous as a pioneering DJ in the 1960s, gave the account of
his actions at the mortuary to a student nurse who worked at
a different hospital.
"It was a quiet night and Savile was talking to this student
nurse about what happened when it was quiet at Leeds general
Infirmary and said that he went to the mortuary at night and
played with the bodies, and committed sex acts on them,"
"We have no way of verifying if that was true or not. We do
know his interest in the dead was pretty unwholesome and that
the controls around access to the mortuary up to the early
1980s were not robust."
Two witnesses also told investigators Savile, famed for his
long blonde hair, penchant for garish outfits and flashy
jewellery, wore rings which he said were made from the glass
eyes of dead bodies from his friends at the hospital.
Savile was knighted by Queen Elizabeth and honoured by the
pope for his voluntary work at hospitals which he exploited
to gain unprecedented access to patients. Hunt, the heath
secretary, said the nation felt revulsion at his crimes and
apologised to his victims.
"We let them down badly," he said.
Thursday's reports are the latest to have been commissioned
into how Savile was able to get away with his crimes and why
victims were ignored or disbelieved.
The authority which monitors the police has said it is
seriously concerned about mistakes made by police forces,
while an inquiry in 2012 cleared BBC bosses of covering up
allegations against Savile but said they had missed warnings.
A lengthier analysis into BBC failings is due later this
Savile's crimes also prompted a large police operation which
has led to the arrest of numerous high-profile ageing British
celebrities. In May, Britain's best-known celebrity publicist
Max Clifford became he first person to be convicted in the
operation, for indecently assaulting teenage girls in the
1970s and 1980s.