The NHS hospital where Jimmy Savile freely abused sick and disabled child patients knew 30 years ago he was a threat, it was claimed yesterday. Yet Stoke Mandeville chiefs allowed the predatory paedophile to boast he had his own bedroom at the Buckinghamshire hospital and had ‘lived’ there for two decades. Nurses even resorted to warning youngsters to ‘pretend to be asleep’ when the warped Jim’ll Fix It star was approaching their wards, it was alleged. Yet while the BBC has issued a grovelling apology to the late presenter’s many victims, NHS chiefs are refusing to say sorry. They have not even started an investigation into allegations he was permitted to molest children on their wards.
Teenagers in wheelchairs and others recovering from cancer were among those allegedly attacked by the sick BBC DJ during his time volunteering as a hospital porter.
One patient claimed he was fondled in Savile’s Rolls-Royce at a Stoke Mandeville fundraiser when he was just nine, and two women said Savile had forcibly kissed them when they were in their early teens.
There are suspicions a blind eye was turned to child abuse because Savile was able to raise millions of pounds for the hospital.
Stoke Mandeville – a spinal injuries specialist centre in aid of which Savile frequently ran marathons – insisted it had ‘no record’ of complaints about him.
But a retired NHS worker poured scorn on this claim, telling the Daily Mail: ‘To my knowledge, the juniors and new staff were advised to be careful in their contact with him.
‘That was not said officially, maybe because he brought in such a lot of publicity and funds. There was no control over his comings and goings, he would just turn up. He had free run of the place.
‘The youngest girls at Stoke Mandeville in the 1970s soon learned to avoid close contact with him.’
Police are pursuing 120 potential leads and say his victims were girls and boys from all over the country.
During his reign of abuse, Savile was allowed to groom, grope and rape youngsters as young as 13 despite five police forces investigating him.
But it now seems clear that his volunteering as a hospital porter was a devious ruse to allow him to stalk sick and disabled children and sexually assault them.
One former patient, Laura, 28, of Evesham, Worcestershire, told a BBC 5 Live phone-in yesterday how Savile would undertake ‘ward rounds’.
She said: ‘I just remember people saying, “I wonder which one of us would be the ‘chosen one’ to go to his ‘little room’ ”?
‘I remember the nurses tucking me in saying, “The best thing you can do is stay in bed, don’t ask to be put in your wheelchair today and pretend to be asleep”.’
Stoke Mandeville is credited as the birthplace of the Paralympics movement and one of the official mascots for the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics was called Mandeville.
The BBC DJ helped raise millions for the hospital, and a cafe there is even named ‘Jimmy’s’ after him.
In 1992, he told an American TV interviewer he first visited Stoke Mandeville in the early 1970s ‘to give away some prizes’, and bragged: ‘I went back the following week and the following week. Then they said – because they had realised I might be useful to them – they said, “How about we give you a room so when you come here, you can stay?” I said, “Where’s the room?” They said, “In the nurses’ home”, and I said, “You’re on, you’re on”.
‘And I have lived in a room 12ft long and 8ft wide for the last 24 years in the nurses’ home.’
Another former Stoke Mandeville patient said: ‘One of the staff said they wouldn’t let him go around the wards without a minder. I asked why. They said, “Because of the children’s ward, that’s why”.’
Savile also allegedly once glanced at the bedside TVs for patients and remarked: ‘Can you get the porn?’ adding he had ‘told management’ patients should be able ‘to get the porn’.
Savile even seems to have been allowed to take a young cancer patient to his BBC dressing room after inviting her to watch Jim’ll Fix It being filmed in the late Eighties.
Savile ordered the journalist to ‘ignore’ the girl and concentrate on the interview.
Tory MP Rob Wilson said: ‘The scale of the allegations against Sir Jimmy Savile is quite staggering. I do not think what is alleged to have happened at Stoke Mandeville Hospital to be acceptable in a decent society.
‘I have written to the chief executive of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust today to request a full inquiry into what happened, what was known at the time, what records were kept and what is known now.
‘If it is true, as alleged by ex-staff, that they were warned about Savile by hospital managers, they are complicit in the most disturbing of crimes.
‘For the sake of the hospital’s reputation, I urge the Trust not to drag its feet and act quickly. We now need openness and transparency, not the establishment closing ranks.’
Leeds General Infirmary, where Savile volunteered as a porter as well, also declined to apologise to his victims yesterday.
The BBC star pretended to offer ‘reassurance’ to children weak from operations there, but then groped them instead, it was claimed.
Last night Buckinghamshire health chiefs issued a statement saying: ‘We are shocked to hear of the serious allegations about Jimmy Savile.
‘At this stage in the proceedings it would not be appropriate for us to conduct our own internal investigation, however we have been contacted by the police this week and are supporting them fully with their enquiries. If their findings suggest that we do need to take further action then we will do so.’
A Stoke Mandeville spokesman added: ‘We can confirm that the police have contacted us and we are co-operating with them fully.’
Leeds General Infirmary said: ‘We are shocked at the nature and extent of the very serious allegations. We have made contact with the police and they will be meeting with us to discuss their investigation.’
‘Never heard of it in my life’: Jimmy Savile is recorded denying sex abuse claims
A new recording has emerged today of Jimmy Savile vehemently denying claims he sexually abused little girls.
The TV presenter was quizzed about the allegations live on the radio just five years ago following the documentary When Louis Met: Jimmy Savile with Louis Theroux in 2000.
Newstalk’s Orla Barry is heard asking Savile about the ‘rumours’ of sex abuse and the star is heard saying he had ‘never heard of it in my life’.
Ms Barry goes on to explain the claims made in the Theroux documentary.
Savile said over the phone: ‘When you get a documentary like that what they do is they keep prodding you and what they hope is you will fall out with them and they think that makes good television.’
The star then insisted there was no need to respond the claims.
He said: ‘I don’t listen to things like that. What’s the point of responding to something if it’s not true. You don’t do it.
‘If anybody says things like that there’s no problem because all you can expect from a pig is a grunt.’
Theroux spent a week with Savile at his flat in Scarborough, interviewing him about his personal life.
Over the course of the week he asked Savile about why he said in interviews that he ‘hated children’ when he spent so much time with them.
Savile said: ‘Right, obviously I don’t hate ’em. That’s number one’, and Theroux said: ‘Yeah. So why would you say that then?’
Savile replied: ‘Because we live in a very funny world. And it’s easier for me, as a single man, to say “I don’t like children” because that puts a lot of salacious tabloid people off the hunt.’
Theroux then went on: ‘Are you basically saying that so tabloids don’t, you know, pursue this whole ‘Is he/isn’t he a paedophile?’ line, basically?’
Savile then replied: ‘Yes, yes, yes. Oh, aye. How do they know whether I am or not? How does anybody know whether I am?
‘Nobody knows whether I am or not. I know I’m not, so I can tell you from experience that the easy way of doing it when they’re saying “Oh, you have all them children on Jim’ll Fix It”, say “Yeah, I hate ’em.”