Savile groped girl at YTV studio, says ex-Calendar presenter

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A FORMER Calendar presenter claimed today he was ‘laughed at’ when he told bosses he had seen Jimmy Savile grope a girl at Yorkshire Television’s studios in Leeds.

Alan Hardwick said he saw the DJ squeeze the bottom of a girl before going into a studio in the late 1980s.

Jimmy Savile.

Jimmy Savile.

Mr Hardwick, a former YTV news presenter who is currently standing as an independent candidate to become Police and Crime Commissioner in Lincolnshire, said Savile had “about half a dozen girls with him, aged around 12 or 13.

He told a local newspaper: “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.

“I mentioned it to other people in the industry and at the BBC and I was laughed at because they all said, ‘Don’t you know that Savile likes them young?’ I felt a bit of a fool.”

Savile was an occasional guest on ITV programmes in Yorkshire and in his capacity as a regional fund-raiser co-hosted part of Yorkshire Television’s charity Telethon programme in 1988.

An ITV spokesman said: “We would urge Mr Hardwick to contact us with details relating to the serious allegation he makes. We take any allegations of criminal activity very seriously and would immediately contact the police in such cases, and follow up with our own inquiries.”

Seven alleged victims of Savile made complaints to four separate police forces while the disgraced television presenter was alive, it emerged today.

The claims were made to police in Surrey, London, Sussex and Jersey but it was decided that no further action should be taken.

Scotland Yard said yesterday that a retired officer had told them that he had investigated Savile in the 1980s while based in west London but did not have the evidence to proceed.

Commander Peter Spindler said he believed the allegation was of an indecent assault, possibly in a caravan on BBC premises in west London, but officers have still not found the original file.

Another allegation, of inappropriate touching dating back to the 1970s, was made by a woman in 2003, but this was treated as “intelligence” by police because the victim did not want to take action.

Surrey Police submitted a file to the Crown Prosecution Service containing references to four potential offences, including an allegation of indecent assault on a young girl at a children’s home.

The allegations related to three potential victims in Surrey and another in Sussex, and Savile was interviewed under caution in 2009, but prosecutors decided there was insufficient evidence to bring charges.

The seventh allegation emerged in 2008 when Jersey police received a claim that an indecent assault occurred at children’s home Haut de la Garenne in the 1970s.

Again it was decided that there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

Scotland Yard is leading the current investigation into accusations of abuse, which now involve around 300 potential victims.

Mr Spindler said Savile was “undoubtedly” one of the most prolific sex offenders he had come across.

He added: “Within London we have trebled the number of historic abuse allegations. I have no doubt that we’re in a watershed moment for child abuse investigation, and Operation Yewtree will be a landmark investigation.”

Claims have been made that former DJ Savile, who died last year aged 84, targeted children while they were in hospital.

He had a bedroom at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, an office and living quarters at Broadmoor and widespread access to Leeds General Infirmary.

Officers have also searched a cottage belonging to Savile in Scotland to look for “any evidence of any others being involved in any offending with him”.

Savile is said to have entertained a number of celebrities at the cottage in Allt na Reigh in Glencoe.

A Lothian and Borders Police spokesman also said today that the force has received two complaints about Savile’s behaviour - one in Edinburgh and the other in Newcastle.

He said: “Two disclosures have been made to Lothian and Borders Police, one of which was in relation to an historical incident that happened in Edinburgh, and the other to an historical incident that happened in the Newcastle area.

“Full details have been provided to the Metropolitan Police, and support is being offered to the women concerned.”

A spokeswoman for Freddie Starr said he would be prepared to talk to officers investigating claims of abuse by Savile.

The comedian has strongly denied allegations linking him to abuse.

“Freddie is prepared to be interviewed by the police, but his lawyer has been in touch with the person that is heading the investigation and they have no intention of questioning him,” said the spokeswoman.

A Scotland Yard spokesman declined to comment.

Savile had a distinct way of operating which allowed him to abuse children without being found out, a lawyer representing some of his alleged victims has claimed.

The former BBC radio and television star was devious and clever, attempting to isolate his victims and then pouncing when they went to the toilet or wandered off from a group, according to Alan Collins, who is investigating 20 claims against the former DJ.

Mr Collins, who works with law firm Pannone, said the star was “cunning, exploitative and opportunistic, a devastating combination in a paedophile”.

“He would first look for an opportunity to isolate his victim from the people they were with,” he went on.

“This might have been when the boy or girl went to the loo or wandered off from the group to look something in the studio or at the event they were at.

“Savile would excuse himself from the group, follow his victim and then strike quickly and often brutally.

“There was very little conversation and, when it was over, he would return to the group as if nothing had happened, leaving his victim shocked and often traumatised.”

He added: “We need to know how and why he was able to get away with his vile perversions and his victims deserve the help and support of the law.”