Savile took teenagers to Leeds Infirmary with private key, claims porter

Jimmy Savile.
Jimmy Savile.
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JIMMY Savile would regularly take teenage girls to a private Leeds hospital block alone, a former porter has claimed.

Terry Pratt said the late Jim’ll Fix It star was regularly handed a key to the nurses’ accommodation building at Leeds General Infirmary during the late 1980s.

The ex-worker told the BBC that Savile would arrive with the girls in the early hours of the morning and then leave before dawn.

Scotland Yard has launched an investigation into the television and radio star’s activities, and he is now believed to have been of the UK’s most prolific abusers, with about 300 possible victims.

Mr Pratt said he became suspicious when Savile began arriving in the middle of the night with different girls who seemed “star-struck” and were “not streetwise”.

He added that the celebrity, who was a volunteer and fundraiser for the hospital, would make several late-night visits a month where he would ask for the key to the accommodation block, spend a few hours there and then leave at 5am.

But the hospital disputed the claims. A spokesman for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We are concerned to hear the allegations which have been made by Mr Pratt and have been quoted widely in the media.

“We have investigated his claims today with other staff who were around at Leeds General Infirmary at the time and we believe he is mistaken in his comments. Mr Pratt appears to have been talking about a period in the 1980s before he started work at the hospital in 1990 and not from first-hand knowledge.

“The assurance we have been given is that the porters did not have a key to unlock the nurses’ home. The building had a warden on duty 24 hours a day and we understand access was very strictly controlled to protect the staff living there.

“The accusations against Savile are serious and naturally are of great concern. The police are continuing their national investigation and anyone with evidence should speak to them.”

Detectives are following 400 lines of inquiry as part of the investigation while the BBC has launched an inquiry into the culture and practices at the corporation in the era of Savile’s alleged sexual abuse.

It is also looking at the decision-making process that saw a Newsnight investigation into Savile’s activities shelved.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has said “heads will need to roll” at the BBC if it is discovered that abuse was ignored.

“Serious questions need to be asked and if after we find out what’s happened, it’s clear that people have turned a blind eye or, worse still, connived with it, then of course they’re going to have to be held to account and - if that turns out to be the case - heads will need to roll of course,” he told ITV’s The Agenda.

Earlier this week it emerged that Savile was barred from any involvement with the BBC’s Children In Need charity.

Sir Roger Jones, a former chairman of the charity, said he had been uncomfortable about allowing Savile to have any association with their work.

Although he had “no evidence” that Savile was up to anything, he said he behaved strangely, adding: “I think we all recognised he was a pretty creepy sort of character.”

Britain’s most senior police officer said if allegations about Jimmy Savile had been linked while he was alive, they would have exposed “a pattern of behaviour”.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said police and other organisations had not connected a number of separate claims made about Savile’s allegedly predatory actions.

Savile, who was awarded the freedom of the borough of Scarborough in 2005, may be posthumously stripped of the accolade.

Councillors have called for his name to be immediately removed from the honour board for freemen of the borough until the Metropolitan Police concludes investigations.

Scarborough Borough Council will then decide whether to permanently wipe his honorary link to the seaside town, where he owned a second home and was buried overlooking the sea.

Councillor Tom Fox proposed the motion, saying: “This council wishes to send its heartfelt support to, and acknowledge the courage of, those who have come forward having suffered horrendous abuse at the hands of the alleged serial predatory sexual offender Sir Jimmy Savile.

“In addition, this council, in further acknowledgment of the serious predatory sexual allegations spanning over six decades, agrees that if the council had been aware of such revelations at the time of Sir Jimmy Savile’s nomination for honorary freeman of the borough of Scarborough, the council would have refused it.

“It is therefore proposed that his name be removed forthwith from the honour board for freemen of the borough pending the final report from the Metropolitan Police, when this council will make a permanent decision in relation to the matters referred to in this motion.”

Mr Fox said the council supported the removal of street signs and a memorial plaque that celebrated the late presenter’s links to the town, and his headstone, which was recently removed and broken up at the family’s request.

Historically, anyone made a freeman was exempt from tolls and given special privileges. It is still awarded to “persons of distinction and any persons who have rendered eminent services to the borough”.

Scarborough has granted freeman status to 20 individuals and groups since the local government reshuffle of 1974, including playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn, retired boxer Paul Ingle and the Yorkshire Regiment.

The motion to remove Savile’s name from the honour board will be considered at a full council meeting next Monday.