Predatory TV presenter repeatedly preyed on vulnerable patients

Jimmy Savile victimised some of the most vulnerable people in society in the places where they should have felt safest, according to the chilling report into the disgraced TV presenter’s predatory sex offending.

Detectives have been contacted about 50 cases of abuse at 14 hospitals, psychiatric units and even a hospice in Leeds.

He gained access to vulnerable patients by using his growing celebrity status, according to the report.

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“At Leeds General Infirmary, Broadmoor Hospital and Stoke Mandeville Hospital he was taken at face value as a volunteer and fundraiser, probably because of his growing celebrity status,” it states.

“Having been accepted at these institutions, he gained access to vulnerable children and adults.”

One incident is believed to have involved a teenager abused while visiting a patient at the Wheatfields Hospice in Headingley, Leeds, in 1977.

Helen Ankrett, palliative care services manager at the hospice run by care provider Sue Ryder, said: “Jimmy Savile was well known locally for his fundraising efforts for local charitable causes.

“As such I’m aware that, in the first few years of Wheatfields Hospice’s opening, he organised a few fundraising events in aid of the hospice.

“We’re appalled and dismayed to hear that an alleged incident took place on the premises of the hospice in 1977. Our thoughts are with the individual involved and their family at this difficult time, and we will, of course, fully support the police in their investigation.”

The majority of the NHS institutions involved have launched investigations into abuse allegations and the Department of Health is conducting a separate investigation.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said yesterday: “We knew when the investigation opened in the autumn that we had a problem in three NHS organisations but today we realise that it’s gone a lot further than that.

“The first thing I want to say is that I feel a real sense of shock that this happened over 41 years and these are people who are, by definition, the most vulnerable people in society and this evil man was able to prey on them.

“The question we are all asking ourselves is how could this have happened for so long without anyone speaking up? Most importantly of all, we need to know whether anything needs to change in the procedures that we have now in the NHS in order to be able to reassure the public that NHS organisations are totally safe.”