Before I started writing this, I played a segment of ‘Exposure’ back to myself. Within the first few minutes I was listening to yet another lie – the story of ‘Sarah’ allegedly portrayed by an actress both on screen and in voice – because ‘none of her family knew what had happened to her’. Yet Sarah was none other than the sister of one of the original Duncroft girls; we know that because her sister told Alison Levitt QC all about her ‘and what happened to her’. Jimmy Savile allegedly kissed her! Can I not listen to five minutes of that blasted programme without uncovering another manipulation of the truth?
One of the most damning pieces of what has laughingly been referred to as ‘evidence’ in the wake of the ‘Exposure’ programme was Jimmy’s great-niece, Caroline Robinson (left), appearing on ‘This Morning’ to claim that her ‘Great Uncle Jimmy’ had abused her too, not once but twice. This allegation has been leapt upon by the armchair moralisers who are quite, quite sure that they know the truth of the matter from a few snippets of erroneous newspaper reporting, as being the ‘last piece in the jigsaw’ – “See, even his own niece, just shows you what a monster he was”.
Yet emerging evidence suggests strongly that tabloid misrepresentations of Jimmy Savile’s sex abuse ‘exploits’ are holding up the release of money he left in his Will to genuinely deserving charities. While the main stream media try to suggest that ‘Savile family avarice’ is behind the delay, in fact only one publicity hungry maverick within the family has occasioned this specific problem.
It enrages me as I watch history being rewritten, judicial protections being undercut, as the ‘Savile bandwagon’ rolls over his reputation courtesy of a media which now claims to ‘have known all along’ – except that they had no proof; at the hands of middle aged women who have lived life roughly and now seek redress for their choices; all aided and abetted by a charity industry that seeks an ever larger remit for their empire; and a police force desperate to maintain their numbers and remuneration in the face of falling ‘recorded’ crime figures. Figures which managed to fall notwithstanding the helpful addition of hundreds of ‘recorded crimes’ being chalked up in the wake of the Savile debacle!
The millions that the charities have at their disposal to help those blighted by child abuse are being dissipated. The watchful eye of parents turned outwards, away from the ‘uncles’ in their midst that are the real danger to children. Charities such as Help the Heroes – and ironically, a Northern Charity which gives practical help and support to those who suffer domestic and child abuse, have been told that there is likely to be nothing left for them to help the legless serviceman and scarred children that Savile intended his riches to go to.
The lawyers clutch their interim accounts and look forward to the final remit. Those middle aged women – the ‘vulnerable victims’ – may, if they are lucky, receive a thousand or so for a stolen kiss – but the lawyers will receive millions.
I always try to put myself in ‘both’ pairs of shoes. I have tried and, I confess, failed, to imagine what it must be like to wake up one morning and find that your Mother’s memorial stone is gleefully displayed on the front page of the Sun, smashed and discarded in the bottom of a skip, with the world at large whooping triumphantly. That is what happens when your Mother was related to Jimmy Savile and they shared a memorial stone.
These are not the only indignities that have been heaped on the near 50 people who have familial ties to Jimmy Savile. Quite right too, some would say, aren’t they related to that evil pervert? The sins of the Uncle etc., etc.,?
I have spoken at length to those related to Jimmy Savile; apparently one of the few people to give them a thought. They, of course, are not only related to Jimmy Savile – but, inevitably, to Caroline Robinson, as she is now. They have known her since she was a baby; they know the family history intimately – not through newspaper clippings.
They were not, as I imagined, a family “in blanket denial”; standing together saying “Our Jimmy wouldn’t do anything like that”.
They are a family baffled. Baffled as so many of us are, by the lack of evidence. They would like to know the truth.
And utterly incensed by the blatant lies that have emerged in what little evidence has been seen outside the hallowed corridors of Operation Yewtree.
And rendered speechless by, or at least refusing to speak to, the media who have jumped on the bandwagon with such lack of caution, sensitivity and investigation.
There are a large number of relatives. Marjory, Savile’s sister gave birth to seventeen children, 11 are still alive. They in turn gave birth to 31 children of their own.
When Caroline emerged from the shadows to say that Jimmy had abused her when she was 12, they were all on the phone to each other. “How could that be” they said, “How old was she at Vincent’s funeral”? “That was 2003” said another, “or thereabouts, she must have been near 40”. “Well, she told me that was the first time she’d met him”, “Me too” cried another, “I remember that”.
“What’s all this about him buying Marjory a house In Egypt”? “Marjory never owned a house in her life”. One of them had seen a photograph of this alleged house in Egypt. “Sort of square, and white, looks very ordinary”. ‘Not got an orange tree in front of it has it?” the others cried in unison. They all remembered the square white house with the orange tree in front of it – not owned by Marjory, in Egypt, but rented in Libya, where Caroline’s Mother, June, had sweated though the Libyan summer in RAF married quarters when she was married to her husband Nick. June had been very proud of the orange tree – one of those silly details that family members remember.
Why did Caroline feel it necessary to claim that Jimmy had bought a house for Marjory as ‘hush money’? Perhaps she felt it made her tale more credible – but it enraged a family who not only knew that Marjory had never had a house – in Egypt, Timbuktu, or anywhere else – but who held Marjory in great esteem and respect.
Marjory never owned property – that was why Jimmy Savile bought a caravan in Gorse Hill, Conwy. As he had started to make money, whereas I am told he paid up the mortgage of Chrissie and Joan, Marjory didn’t own a house, so he bought the caravan for her use instead. It is a matter of record.
Josephine had a house nearby, one that Caroline had visited many times. Of all the family, she is the one most hurt by Caroline’s allegations. She was very close to her, used to enjoy her visits to Llandudno. She was aware that Caroline had had a difficult childhood. As the other family members started to say ‘Why now, why would she say something now and not before,” Josephine wondered more than anyone, for it was not as though Caroline was a stranger to the process of revealing childhood abuse – just not abuse at Uncle Jimmy’s hands.
Caroline’s previous claims.
When she was 14, she claimed that another relative had abused her whilst she was baby sitting for him – this allegation wasn’t general knowledge to all the family until very recently and needless to say, the alleged perpetrator adamantly denies it. We can’t know the truth of that, but certainly even that was not the first allegation that Caroline had felt brave enough to make.
When Marjory and her husband Bert finally separated, Bert went to live with his daughter June – Caroline’s Mother. Hey ho! There were dark suggestions from June that Caroline had told her that ‘Bert was interfering with his grand daughter’, and she needed him to move out of the house. Again we can never know the truth of this; all it does show is that Caroline was no stranger to speaking out about alleged abuse.
Could it be that she was never believed on these occasions, except by her Mother? That is possible, although one would imagine that knowing her history, her Mother would have been only too keen to keep a close eye on her daughter and who was around her. But there’s a thing! Caroline alleges that Jimmy abused her yet again, at her ‘engagement party’ too – 15 might seem a tad young for an engagement party, but Caroline was pregnant!
Now even Caroline’s own brothers don’t remember this engagement party, still less Uncle Jimmy turning up and running a disco. As they have pointed out – Uncle Jimmy arriving in a suburban side street outside this nondescript flat roofed council house in his Gold Rolls Royce would have generated a crowd of every youngster in the area – and their parents – with their noses pressed to the windows hoping to catch a glimpse of Jimmy. So they were even more puzzled, I am told, when their Mother explained away this ‘forgetfulness’ on their part by saying “You were outside playing football”. Outside playing football in a street packed with gawkers at this unexpected celebrity in their midst for their sister getting engaged? Curiouser and curiouser.
So, there is Caroline, pregnant at 15, and no one is perturbed at this obvious sexual abuse on the part of ‘someone’ – but 40 years later, Caroline and her Mother are sufficiently outraged by the alleged wandering hands of her Uncle to be consulting lawyers and demanding compensation?
Caroline lost that baby, and the details and lies surrounding this are another kettle of fish. Needless to say, the rest of the family are not supportive of her latest allegations regarding Uncle Jimmy to the point that many family members have given official statements to the police – but more on that later.
The letter that created a family rift.
One of the reasons that the family were so disbelieving of these claims, was not a blind defence of Jimmy, but simply that they knew that Jimmy had never forgiven Caroline’s Mother June for a letter she had written to his beloved Mother, the ‘Duchess’, many years earlier. A letter which had so wounded him that it was the only item of personal correspondence that he had kept in his Scarborough home. A letter that ensured that although Jimmy took care of his family financially in that typically close knit Leeds manner – June’s home was one he simply didn’t visit.
He wasn’t a forgiving man.
This is what the letter said:
I don’t suppose for one minute you know who I am, or that you care. Anyway, I am one of Marjory’s daughters.
Every time you write to my mother you upset her. You say she must come and see you alone. We all know you have no time for any of us unless you want something – you are just like Jimmy – he won’t do anything unless he gets paid for the publicity.
You don’t seem to object to Chrissie or her cronies seeing you – its about time you realised you have a daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren and great grandchildren and a grave in Killingbeck Cemetery that looks like a rubbish tip. It would do you the world of good to visit the cemetery one day instead of tripping off everywhere else. Tell Jimmy if he comes to see his father’s grave, I will make sure there are plenty of press men there.
You didn’t even send my mother a Christmas card just because you had the flu is about the feeblest excuses I have ever heard.
You should have written to my Mother inviting her to your birthday party instead of writing to Joan, after all my Mother is the oldest daughter near to hand.
Chrissie and the rest of them seem to get things out of you so why don’t you send a little something to my mother. Don’t think this begging for her because this not and she has no idea I’m writing to you but I do think under the circumstances a small gift would mean the word to her. Just now my father is very ill and its difficult for my mother to make ends meet. I help her all I can but with a family of my own to look after, its a bit difficult.
She was upset at Christmas because it was the anniversary of my son’s death but she was also upset because there was no greetings from you.
If you cannot write to her a decent letter that we can all read and enjoy without feeling contempt for you and your high and mighty ways (though god knows where to get them from) then don’t bother writing to her at all.
If this letter makes you angry enough to give you a conscience them I’m glad, but god help you if you write to my mother and upset her again.
If you answer this letter to me it should make interesting reading.
Yours June Perry (signed)
That letter was written on New Years Day 1969. Jimmy was used to getting letters that asked for money. It is an occupational hazard for anyone from a working class family who ‘makes it’. There is a particular viciousness, jealously and bitterness about that letter that rankled with Jimmy. He kept the letter long after his Mother had died – right up to his own death.
Yet Caroline would have you believe that six years after that letter he was giving his time to host a disco in honour of her engagement at 15!
All of this would make sense if there was money at stake; a family sticking together in the face of adverse publicity – and they are sticking together, all 40 odd of them (I confess, I have lost count for the moment).
Only June, Caroline’s Mother, writer of that letter, and Caroline’s present husband support her version of events.
Not whether Uncle Jimmy ever touched her inappropriately – they are wise enough to know that no one can pronounce comprehensively as to what goes on between two people, especially when one of them is not around to put their side of the story – but whether Caroline even met Jimmy before 2003 when she would have been 40!
Follow the money!
The money which is at stake is NOT their money. Only two members of the family have any financial interest in the will, and they only have what is termed a ‘life interest’ in a modest amount – after their death, that money will join the millions intended for the charities that are supported in Savile’s will – and that is what the family support too. A personal interest in money is not the reason they are contesting Caroline’s version of events – contesting to the point of making statements to the police.
They are puzzled by Caroline’s abrupt about turn when the details of Jimmy’s will were known.
When Jimmy died, another niece, his next of kin, was first to be informed at 11.20am by his Cardiologist, Alistair Hall, that he had passed away. She spent the rest of the day in Jimmy’s apartment, liaising with the police and undertakers. The Police advised her to leave the phone on voicemail. Caroline was one of those who telephoned the apartment, which was already filling with relatives – a call that created comment at the time, and was dutifully recorded on the voicemail. Those present were aware that Caroline hardly knew him and yet –
Quote: “She was crying and wailing “Please, Please Uncle Jimmy, Please answer the phone, Please tell me it isn’t true, Please, please, please, Oh god Uncle Jimmy, please tell me it isn’t true”. Amanda couldn’t believe this reaction from someone who knew him so little, but “was obviously very upset that he had died.” That niece was one of those who had met Caroline for the first time at Vincent Savile’s funeral where Caroline had confided that it was the “first time she had met Jimmy”.
Vincent Savile died in November 2003!
Later, Caroline elected to take up a Bingo prize she had won, and go on holiday, missing Jimmy’s funeral. Then she sent a florid tribute to sit on his grave – a personalised green plastic vase bearing the legend “In loving memory of …………. love from your Great Niece Caroline and David Robinson”.
The next the family heard was in the Daily Mail – quickly followed by Caroline sitting on the breakfast TV sofas, loudly proclaiming that Jimmy had abused her – and they were advised that she was represented by the personal injury lawyer Liz Dux.
Caroline was accused by relatives on Facebook of lying and brother Martin Perry told her: “You are not right in the head. You have brought shame on all the Marsdens by lying, there will be a nice long line of people wanting to smack you. Never again will I think I have a sister.”
Jane Perry, married to Caroline’s other brother Philip, wrote: “What a load of b*******”.
Louise Perry, her niece, said: “No one in the family has a clue what you are on about. For you to paint such an awful picture of the family is beyond my belief.”
The legal outcome?
That meant that the executors of Savile’s will – the Nat West Bank, couldn’t pay his legacies to any of the charities, and had to take legal advice as to possible liability. Very expensive legal advice.
The family have made statements to the police – but it may shock you to learn, that there is little the police can do about what the family consider to be a fraudulent claim against the Savile estate. In law, it is only a fraudulent claim if there was no abuse. In order to establish whether there was abuse, an investigation would have to be carried out into Savile’s relationship with Caroline – but Savile is not alive to interview.
That small detail hasn’t prevented the police from naming Savile as a paedophile – the weight of numbers, the sheer volume of people who have come forward claiming to have been abused by him apparently ‘lends credence’ to the claims.
Yet the sheer volume of relatives of Caroline coming forward, including her own children and those who were in the past deeply fond of her, to say that this is all nonsense, she didn’t meet him until 2003, doesn’t have the same effect – and of course the effect of Savile’s own great-niece claiming to have been abused by him lends credence to everyone else’s claims.
The Trustees of Savile’s estate are in a difficult position. The fundamental core of trusteeship is to act in good faith and in the best interests of the beneficiaries. They must mitigate losses where they can. If that means reaching a financial settlement with Caroline’s lawyers rather than going to court, and risk wiping out the entire estate in legal costs, then that they must do.
You can only begin to imagine how the family feel at the thought of that Child Abuse charity in the north of England being starved of their expected inheritance in favour of paying the personal injury lawyers their ‘enhanced fees’ for acting on behalf of Caroline.
Meanwhile, they continue to field phone calls from journalists asking whether it is true that they are ‘holding up payments to vulnerable victims of Britain’s most prolific paedophile in order to protect their inheritance’.
They don’t have ‘an inheritance’, and the media seem determined that they shouldn’t even have any dignified memories of a relative they were intensely proud of.
Still, the story has sold lots of newspapers for a dying media industry, so it can’t be all bad – can it?