Scotland Yard to assess Savile abuse claims

Scotland Yard said it would “work closely” with the BBC as it takes the lead in assessing the abuse allegations surrounding Sir Jimmy Savile, with calls being made for the Leveson Inquiry to look into the corporation’s handling of complaints against its former star.

A growing number of victims has come forward to allege the late television presenter sexually assaulted them – after five women took part in a documentary claiming that they had been abused.

Surrey, Sussex and Jersey Police have confirmed they had previously received complaints about Sir Jimmy but concluded there was not enough evidence to pursue them.

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Scotland Yard is considering a number of allegations, including an historic rape claim referred to them by Surrey Police, and Northamptonshire yesterday confirmed it had been contacted by two further alleged victims.

The Metropolitan Police said no formal investigation had yet been launched, but said in a statement: “Our priority will be to ensure a proportionate and consistent policing response putting the victims at the heart of our inquiries. It is too early to say how many individual allegations there are, and we will be making contact with all those concerned in due course.

“We will be working closely with the BBC investigations unit. Anyone else with information is urged to make contact with their local police so that any further information can then be passed to us.”

Some of the accusations, aired on ITV’s Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile on Wednesday, centred around incidents alleged to have taken place on BBC premises. MP Anne Main has written to Lord Justice Leveson asking him to investigate how the BBC handled the allegations as part of his inquiry into press standards.

In her letter, Ms Main said: “I have concerns that the public would find it incomprehensible that such serious allegations have only been looked at internally by the BBC.”

The documentary carried testimonies from two women who said they first had sexual relations with the former Top of the Pops and Jim’ll Fix It presenter when they were 15 – with a number of the indecent acts taking place in his dressing room at BBC television centre. Another two women who attended Duncroft Approved School for Girls, a now-closed children’s home in Surrey, claimed they were targeted by Sir Jimmy, who died at his Leeds home last year aged 84, during his visits there in the 1970s.

The revelations came after former Duncroft pupil Karin Ward, another alleged victim, who waived her right to anonymity, claimed the star would ply girls with gifts and have sex with pupils as young as 14. Singer Coleen Nolan also revealed Sir Jimmy suggested she join him at a hotel following a TV recording when she was 14.

The Association of Chief Police Officers said the national child protection unit would be assessing the scale of all the allegations.

Plans for an artwork tribute to Sir Jimmy in Leeds have been thrown into doubt. He was due to be immortalised by eco-friendly transport charity Sustrans in the lifesize two-dimensional artwork scheduled to be unveiled this year on a new cycle route. Yesterday, Sustrans said it was now unclear when the artwork would be installed.

A plaque outside Sir Jimmy’s former home in Scarborough has been removed after being vandalised and plans for a commemorative statue in the town have been dropped.