FOR decades he was hailed as a national treasure who made children’s dreams come true.
But for countless youngsters, the “great” Jimmy Savile was a source of unremitting torment, his name synonymous with nothing more than nightmares.
Yet his litany of depraved crimes remained one of Britain’s darkest secrets until his death.
On October 29 2011 the radio disc-jockey, television personality and court jester to the royal family went to the grave a hero.
The sexual predator, lauded for his charity work and the “miracles” he brought about for more than 1,500 children on Jim’ll Fix It, was the youngest of seven children born to a poor bookmaker’s clerk in Leeds in 1926.
Success was founded on a totally overweening belief in his own abilities and a tremendous energy, which led him away from the Yorkshire minefields and on to TV stardom.
Savile, who claimed to have set up the world’s first disco in Leeds in 1948, was later spotted working in the dance halls and was asked to move on to radio where he rapidly found national fame.
But he had not hit 30 when he committed his first recorded offence in Manchester in 1955.
As his showbiz career went from strength to strength – taking him on to host Top of the Pops – his sex attacks gathered pace.
Charity work appeared to consume him in later life, when he worked as a voluntary helper at Leeds General Infirmary, Stoke Mandeville and Broadmoor. The reasons for his visits have now been inextricably linked to his perverted fixations.
Concerns have been raised over Savile’s access to such places, where he was apparently able to select victims according to his whim.