Revelations about the true scale of the abuse by Jimmy Savile at Leeds hospitals could be a major setback for victims who have been trying to come to terms with their ordeals at the hands of the shamed DJ, it is feared.
An inquiry into sexual abuse carried out 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”.
The investigation 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.
Maggie Button, one of a number of trained West Yorkshire volunteers from the charity Victim Support brought in to help Savile’s victims while the investigation was carried out, said their involvement had given those targeted by the the DJ “time to open up”.
She said: “In his day he was an icon in Leeds, people were afraid to speak out at the time and then suddenly someone has been brave and the rest is history. I can see a sense of relief they have been able to talk about it and someone can listen.
“The thing I have found through the last year, you can take someone so far and they are really doing well and then suddenly his face is on TV again. That is one of the biggest complaints - ‘I was doing so well and then this image comes up’.
“I suspect, given my experience of working with people who are victims of serious crime when this reports comes out it could result in people going back to the very beginning, the support will go on after the report is out.”
One victim whose account was featured in the report told BBC Radio Leeds yesterday of his regret that Savile died before he could be brought to account for his five decades of abuse.
The man, who was under 16 at the time, was on the children’s ward being treated for a “chronic clinical problem” in the early 1970s when a film crew recorded Savile pretending to take his blood pressure.
He said: “They didn’t see what happened afterwards. He abused me, when the film crew left there was only me and Jimmy Savile there. I remember him putting his hand under the quilt and touching my privates.
“The next day when I had to go down for an enema and he picked me up on the trolley and took me down, which really freaked me out. I tried telling my mum, I told my brother, my mum didn’t believe me because of who he was.
“I have been diagnosed with personality disorder, when I got out of hospital I used to buy bottles of pop and drink them and slash myself. I also used to sleep in my mum’s bed when my step-father was on nights. I had flash backs and nightmares.
“When he died I felt sad, because he had got away with all those charges.
“I wish we had the strength to come forward before and all those people who were sexually abused by him, to say we have got him now. That would have been a big relief.”
Anyone who believes they were a victim of Savile or any other form of sexual abuse should call the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 or Victim Support on 0300 303 1971.