Last year, police said Savile, one of the country's best-known
celebrities in the 1970s and 1980s, had sexually abused hundreds of
victims, mainly youngsters, at hospitals and at BBC premises over
six decades until his death aged 84 in 2011.
A report by the charity, the National Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), found many of those Savile had targeted
said the authorities had dismissed their claims at the time of the
abuse while others stayed silent because they feared they would not
The findings were released as lawyers representing 147 of his
victims began action at London's High Court on Monday to win
compensation from charitable trust set up in Savile's name after his
"They (the victims) were ignored, dismissed, not believed, laughed
at and astonishingly told in some cases they should feel lucky he
had paid them attention," said Peter Watt, the NPSCC's director of
"Half a century on, the world finally discovered just how dreadful
his crimes were — something these men and women had known all that
time but felt powerless to do anything about."
Detectives say Savile, a one-time professional wrestler who became
famous as a pioneering DJ in the 1960s, used his fame as a TV
presenter and dedicated charity fundraiser to gain access to
Numerous reports have since been commissioned into how the eccentric
Savile, famed for his long, blond hair and his penchant for garish
outfits and flashy jewelry, was able to get away with his crimes.
Last March a report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary
(HMIC), the body which monitors the police, said it was seriously
concerned about mistakes made by police forces, while an inquiry in
2012 cleared BBC bosses of covering up allegations against Savile
but said it had missed warnings.
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A lengthier analysis into BBC failings is due later this year.
Monday's NSPCC report, commissioned by the HMIC, was based on
revelations from 26 victims, aged between eight and 26 when they
were assaulted, who detailed the lasting impact of their abuse, with
some turning to drink and drugs, and others disclosing mental health
illnesses or contemplating suicide.
Other ageing celebrities are now facing criminal action from a
police investigation launched in the wake of the Savile revelations.
On Monday, prosecutors said one of them, Dave Lee Travis, a
high-profile radio DJ from the 1970s and 1980s, would face a
re-trial on two sex abuse charges.
Travis, who counted Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi among his fans in his
heyday, was cleared of 12 other offences earlier this month but a
jury had been unable to reach a verdict on one charge of indecent
assault and one of sexual assault.
(Editing by Stephen Addison)
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