Whilst the Stoke Mandeville report on Jimmy Savile’s association with that hospital grabbed all the headlines, and the predictable hand wringing – ‘if only we had had mandatory reporting we could have sued all these people for not reporting the abuse they claim they never saw’ – and the redoubtable Sylvia Nicol, who worked alongside him for 40 years found herself hauled over the coals for ‘failing to condemn’ abuse of which she had never seen any indication, there were another 14 reports slipped out late at night.
Ms Raccoon has been trawling the dustbins of the BBC to track them down. No such luck, in fact, the BBC doesn’t even want to give you a link to the overarching report by Lucy Scott-Moncrieff! But even when you find that report, buried on the Gov.uk site, Lucy doesn’t want to give you any links to the 14 reports she is talking about. Extraordinary. The paranoid might think that there is a conspiracy to ensure you merely accept the media version of ‘the truly awful abuse carried out by Jimmy Savile’.
However, much Googling later; on each county council site, I have unearthed the actual reports. I may have unwittingly uncovered the reason nobody wants to give you a link to the actual reports – you might be tempted to complain to your council about their waste of time and money…
Documents reviewed by the Metropolitan Police […] claim that Savile abused children in more than 20 children’s homes and schools [including] Aspley Wood School in Nottingham.
Bronwen Cooper spent several months investigating just the allegation relating to Aspley Wood School. The document ‘reviewed by the Metropolitan Police’ turned out to be:
A telephone call during September 2013 by a woman who described having been sexually assaulted by Savile during a fundraising visit he had made to the school. The alleged victim was an adult at the time of the alleged assault.
Unfortunately – in her e-mail to Ms Cooper, the adult female explained her reticence about participating further in terms of not wanting to re-awaken feelings of distress and discomfort personally, but wishing to validate the accounts of Savile’s other victims. Which made it rather difficult for Bronwen to investigate an allegations of ‘child abuse’. Not only was the woman not a child, but she didn’t wish to be investigated.
Undaunted, Bronwen ploughed on: she interviewed the head master of the school. Savile had only visited the school on one occasion. He was certain that no individual; child, staff or parent would have been alone with Savile at any stage during the weekend. He said that Savile was in the midst of an entourage for the entire visit, and was in a large group during the walk.
Bassetlaw Primary School – the media version.
“Jimmy Savile abuse claims at Bassetlaw School to be investigated”.
A former Nottinghamshire County Council employee contacted Operation Yewtree, reporting that Savile made visits to Bassetlaw Special School in Worksop in the mid 1980s. The informant reported that he was told by a member of Bassetlaw School staff that Nottinghamshire Police knew of Savile’s proclivities at the time and had warned staff.
Dr John Bradley was put in charge of looking into this serious allegation, as dutifully noted by Operation Yewtree. Unfortunately (a word in danger of being over employed in this post) his first hurdle was that:
The investigation has found no evidence that Nottinghamshire Police had warned Bassetlaw School staff about Savile. The informant has since clarified that he was not told a ‘warning’ about Savile came from the Police but had simply assumed that it did.
The informant is no longer certain that the events he described happened at Bassetlaw School and has suggested they may have taken place at another special school in the Bassetlaw district – possibly St Giles School. The former Head Teacher of St Giles School has stated unequivocally that Savile had no contact with the school during her time in post – 1971 to 1992. The informant was asked if he might have been thinking about the small teaching unit that was maintained for a time at Bassetlaw Hospital. He says not, as he believes he never visited that unit.
The report from the informant of more than a single contact between Savile and a special school in the Bassetlaw district is not supported by the documentary evidence or witness interviews.
That didn’t stop Dr Bradley ploughing on for another 37 expensive pages…!
Onwards and upwards Ms Raccoon – we’re bound to find a corroborated allegation eventually. How about:
Beechwood children’s home – the media version:
A man who claims he was sexually abused at a former council-run children’s home has said he hopes more victims will come forward.
James Cleverley, 52, said he suffered six years of abuse at the Beechwood Children’s Home in Mapperley, Nottinghamshire, that began when he was aged 10.
Jim Stewart, Independent report author, sets off on a cracking 48 pages of:
Allegation A was received by the Metropolitan Police Service from an anonymous female caller.
”The caller left a message that she was ‘at Beechcroft Children’s Home, Savile did the Xmas party. Savile had blonde girl who sat on his leg. Did not witness anything”.
Allegation B was made by an anonymous woman by telephone to the Metropolitan Police Service.
“The caller said that they had been, ‘employed within Leeds Children’s Services and alleges that senior managers were aware of Savile’s exploits with under aged children of both sexes and the abuse was ‘brushed under the carpet”.
Allegation C was made to the Metropolitan Police Service by a male caller [Mr N1].
Mr N1 informed the Police ‘that during the 1990s he was Deputy Head Teacher at Northways Residential School, Leeds for boys with behavioural problems. Savile resided in a penthouse flat close to the school. Mr N1 was aware that some of the boys visited the flat when they had afforded good behaviour. He named two boys, and looking back were vulnerable. He had no information to suspect that anything untoward had occurred.
Allegation D: “An anonymous female caller reported to the NSPCC that Savile would pick up school girls, aged 13-14 years old, from Notre Dame Grammar School in his Rolls Royce. He is said to have had strong alliances with the School in the 1970s and was ‘untouchable’. The caller stated that Savile may have targeted girls from the ‘Alwoodley Leeds 17’ area. He had strong connections with the ‘Faith and Light’ disability charity and Leeds MENCAP where he would be the star opening and promoting events and going on Lourdes Pilgrimages.
Surely with 4 allegations to go on, some corroborative evidence must be forthcoming? [Ed: That Mirror piece you linked to said 50 allegations? Shurly shum mishtake?]
Oh dear. Allegation A fell at the first hurdle:
There is no direct allegation and very little information in the referral. Leeds Council operated a Children’s Home in Leeds called Beechwood which closed in 1984.
Reassuring to know that Jim Stewart could at least corroborate that there had once been such a Children’s Home, even if he didn’t have an allegation.
Allegation B didn’t fare much better:
There has been no evidence to support the anonymous allegation that senior managers within Leeds Children’s Services were aware of Savile’s exploits with under aged children of both sexes and the abuse was ‘brushed under the carpet’. Long serving managers in Children’s Services were interviewed, and a search of electronic records undertaken, but there were no recollected or recorded allegations of abusive or inappropriate behaviour towards children by Savile.
Surely Allegation C will break the cycle of uncorroborated allegations?
The investigation found that the school was about 11 miles from Savile’s flat and that boys were not taken to the flat as reward for good behaviour. Rather, boys were taken out on trips by staff for good behaviour and, during one such trip to Roundhay Park, two boys pointed out the flat and told a member of staff that they had been to the flat at a weekend.
Police have confirmed that they have received no allegations relating to Savile and Northways.
Allegation D then? Pretty please?
The Sisters of Notre Dame, the Diocese of Leeds and the Sixth Form College have confirmed that they had no ongoing association with Savile and have received no allegations or concerns about him from pupils or staff.
Let me know if you’re getting bored yet – these are, after all, the fabled ‘Yewtree allegations’ that we have all heard about, finally coming under the public gaze – you have been paying for all these reports into the ‘truly awful, dreadful abuse’ carried out by Savile…
One more for today…(that still leaves 18 reports from the Department of Education alone – and we haven’t even started on the remaining NHS reports)
How about ‘An unnamed children’s home in Bournemouth’ – the media version:
Savile, who is thought to have abused up to 1,000 victims, had several links to Bournemouth.
They included one historic incident which is alleged to have taken place at a children’s home in the borough.
The informant alleges that when residing in a children’s home in Bournemouth about 40 years ago, she attended a party where Jimmy Savile was a guest. At the end of the party when Jimmy Savile was saying goodbye to the children he kissed her on the mouth and in doing so put his tongue in her mouth. The informant did not report this incident to the police at the time.
An investigation was carried out, focussing on the years 1967 to 1973. This time frame was used as the informant would have been between the ages of 12 and18. Following the informant’s consent, searches were undertaken to establish any links with a children’s home in Bournemouth. Searches included education records and child health records.
Searches were undertaken of education, health, Children’s Society and social care records and none were found about the informant being in Bournemouth during the relevant period. A search was also undertaken for the informant’s parents on the electoral role. The parents were not listed.
Media searches were undertaken of any local events where Jimmy Savile was present during the relevant period. Four articles were found about Jimmy Savile, however these did not place him at any events in or related to children’s homes in Bournemouth. A search of the Mayors’ diaries for the years around the alleged incident contained no references to Jimmy Savile.
A year’s hard work, tracking down all possible leads and they couldn’t even corroborate that the alleged ‘victim’ had ever set foot in Bournemouth, much less been abused by one J. Savile.
You are paying for all these investigations carried out as a result of phone calls to ‘Operation Yewtree’ – personally I would settle for corroboration that any of the alleged ‘victims’ were ever in the same room as Savile; I’ve long since gone past the point of looking for corroboration of alleged abuse.