Their anguish is ours, too: Savile relatives break silence
JIMMY Savile’s closest relatives yesterday broke their silence over the child sex abuse allegations that have left his reputation in tatters.
Savile’s nephew, Roger Foster, told the Yorkshire Post that the claims of the past month had taken a shattering toll on the late star’s family.
He also issued a message of sympathy to those alleged to have suffered at his uncle’s hands.
Speaking on behalf of Savile’s close family members, retired deputy headteacher Mr Foster said: “Where will it all end? Who knows? The repercussions of this scandal are enormous.
“We, as his closest family, have to endure further revelations on a daily basis. Our feelings are in turmoil as we await the next turn of events.”
Talking about Savile’s alleged victims, Mr Foster said: “We can understand their reluctance to say anything earlier and can appreciate the courage it has taken to speak out now.
“Our hearts go out to them and we offer them our sympathy and understanding in their anguish.”
Mr Foster’s comments came as it emerged police received at least seven complaints about Leeds-born BBC TV and radio host Savile while he was still alive.
One investigation in the 1980s is thought to have followed a claim of indecent assault in a caravan on BBC premises in west London.
A retired police officer has told Scotland Yard the case was dropped due to a lack of evidence.
Meanwhile, ITV has pledged to investigate a claim that Savile behaved inappropriately with a young girl at its Kirkstall Road studios in Leeds.
Alan Hardwick, a former presenter on the channel’s Calendar news programme, has said he saw Savile pinching the girl’s bottom during a visit to the studios.
Mr Hardwick said: “One time in the late 1980s, Savile was in the building and I was going to go and say hello to him.
“I went into the studio and standing with his back to me was Jimmy Savile with about half a dozen girls with him. They were probably 12 or 13.
“They were about to go on set so I decided I would speak to Savile later but before I left he squeezed the bottom of the little girl to his right who he had his arm around.”
Mr Hardwick says he raised the incident with a manager, who told him Savile was just being friendly.
Police believe Savile may have claimed 300 abuse victims over six decades.
One report has said other people named as abusers to officers working on the case could be arrested “within days”.
Yesterday it also emerged that a Leeds conference centre is spending tens of thousands of pounds in an attempt to distance itself from Savile.
The Saviles Hall centre changed its name to New Dock Hall after the abuse storm blew up at the start of this month.
Now the firm which runs the venue has revealed the rebranding exercise will set it back more than £50,000.
James Vincent, managing director at Royal Armouries International, said: “[Savile’s] name and reputation are irrevocably tainted and we have to remove every trace.
“It isn’t just a case of taking down a couple of signs and putting up new ones.
“We have had to rebrand and renew advertisements, radio campaigns, videos and websites – the Saviles site alone has more than 500 pages.”
“So now we’re dumping everything, including umbrellas and even stress balls.”
The Clarence Dock-based centre, which is run separately to the neighbouring Royal Armouries museum, opened in 2007.
It was named after Savile as a tribute to his work for charity.
l West Yorkshire Police yesterday confirmed that in recent weeks they had received “a number of calls, some of which [made] allegations against Jimmy Savile of a sexual nature”.
The force said the claims had been referred to Scotland Yard, which is taking the national lead on inquiries into the star.
West Yorkshire Police also confirmed they did not conduct any investigations into Savile before the current scandal.
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