THE chief executive of Leeds’s hospital trust has apologised to the dozens of victims of Jimmy Savile at the city’s NHS premises after a bombshell report revealed failures that allowed him to carry out abuse unchallenged for nearly five decades.
An inquiry into the sexual abuse by the presenter revealed he had 60 victims at local hospitals aged between five and 75, the majority at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI), as his regular presence gave him “something akin to invisibility”.
Nine of the victims, including six patients and three employees, told hospital staff of the abuse, but received an “inadequate” response as they were disbelieved, “belittled, even laughed at”.
The inquiry uncovered three rapes committed by Leeds-born Savile at the city’s hospitals as part of a pattern of “truly awful” abuse against patients at 32 health sites around the country.
In one case, a young teenage victim in the 1960 was raped by Savile and was thought to be pregnant, with Savile as the potential father. Savile, who had an office at the hospital from 1992 to 2011, preyed on a number of young vulnerable patients and even told how he had performed sex acts on corpses in the LGI mortuary.
The family of the former Top of the Pops presenter, who helped raise £3.5 million for the LGI over 47 years and volunteered regularly as a porter, said they were “devastated” by the report’s findings.
Lead investigator Dr Susan Proctor said the hospital in the 1960s and 70s was “an ideal setting in which to indulge his unacceptable, and at times criminal, sexual activity”.
Dr Proctor said “organisational failures” over the years “enabled Savile to continue unchallenged in the hospital”.
She said: “These included weak internal controls in the standards of support services and in access to patient areas, weak systems to safeguard patients on wards, poorly understood and poorly used systems for patients or staff to raise concerns or complain, and leadership that lacked curiosity about and visibility in the infirmary.”
Julian Hartley, chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said yesterday he wanted to “offer a sincere apology to each and every one of Savile’s victims, and thank them for being courageous enough to tell their stories”.
He said: “The report is clear that there is no one person at the hospital who is to blame for what happened, other than Jimmy Savile. However, it is also absolutely clear that there should have been far more scrutiny of him and what he was doing at our hospitals over the years.”
In a separate development, a police officer who knew Jimmy Savile has won £60,000 libel damages over claims he was a pervert who condoned rape and paedophilia and used his position to protect sexual predators like the disgraced DJ.
Sergeant Matthew Appleyard suffered great distress and developed hypertension and panic attacks because of the persistent attacks by Neil Wilby on Twitter and the website, unProfessional Standards Department.