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2012-05-18
Jimmy Saville child sex claims were known since 1999 but no action was taken
Sir Jimmy Saville was indeed the subject of a sex pest investigation by journalists from the BBC.
 
 
 

Reporters from Newsnight launched a probe into allegations about inappropriate behaviour by the Jim'll Fix It legend towards schoolgirls just days after his death on October 29, last year.

But they were eventually told to cut the story, which was due to be broadcast just days before a BBC1 Christmas special celebrating the presenter's life.

Newsnight journalists interviewed three women who met Sir Jimmy in the Seventies when, as presenter of Top of the Pops, he was at the height of his fame.

All three were teenage pupils at a school in Surrey which the broadcaster visited regularly as part of his charity work.

 
 
 

It is claimed that Sir Jimmy took girls there for rides in his car. Each of the women is said to have alleged that he had taken them out, individually, in his car and behaved inappropriately towards them.

One of the women, who is now in her 50s, agreed to waive her anonymity and allow herself to be interviewed by Newsnight reporters on camera for what she claimed was in the interest of justice and to protect others.

The investigation was launched after journalists for the flagship BBC news programme discovered that complaints about Sir Jimmy were made to Surrey police in 2007 - nearly 40 years after the incidents were alleged to have taken place.

Police carried out their own investigation at the time, but the Crown Prosecution Service was not convinced there was enough evidence to take action against the star.


 
 
It can now be revealed that Sir Jimmy Saville together with a number of other high profile personalities came to the attention of the police as early as 1999 during Operation Ore which supposedly ensnared pop star Jonathan King culminating in his conviction and sentence of seven years imprisonment. He denies guilt to this day.


Giovanni Di Stefano who acted for Jonathan King from 2003-2008 confirmed that he was aware of a number of high profile artists who were being investigated and that Sir Jimmy Saville was but one. Di Stefano managed to obtain the Court file on Jonathan King for the purposes of an appeal and Criminal Cases Review Commission and spoke to a CPS Officer called ‘Mr Spong’ about the King case. The file revealed a list of names under review.

 
 


“During a conversation I asked him about who gave authority to institute proceedings and why was Saville and many others not prosecuted why only King,” said Di Stefano. Mr Spong told Di Stefano that Sir Jimmy Saville was still under review and that “King will not be alone in being prosecuted.”


Online Publishing Company last year were ready to publish the story before Sir Jimmy Saville died but Di Stefano was persuaded by an officer of the Crown Prosecution Service whom he telephoned not to publish because the enquiry was “still live and may compromise the on-going investigation.”


Jonathan King was refused any appeal and his attempts to take his case back to the courts has to date failed.


“I got the impression that when the Guildford Police either could not or were told not to arrest Jimmy Saville then they had to target an equally high profile star or their enquiry and money spent would have been questioned and under scrutiny,” said Di Stefano

 
 


Operation Ore was a police operation that commenced in 1999 following information received from US law enforcement, which was intended to prosecute thousands of users of a website reportedly featuring child porn. It was the UK's biggest ever computer crime investigation, leading to 7,250 suspects identified, 4,283 homes searched, 3,744 arrests, 1,848 charged, 1,451 convictions, 493 cautioned and 140 children removed from suspected dangerous situations and an estimated 33 cases of suicide. While Operation Ore did identify and prosecute a number of sex offenders, the validity of the police procedures was later questioned, as errors in the investigations were claimed by some to have resulted in a large number of false arrests.

 
 


A BBC source said that journalists who had prepared the programme hoped to establish the truth of the claims against Sir Jimmy and the details of the police investigation by interviewing the three women.

But senior figures in the corporation then told reporters to scrap the report, which would have clashed with a Boxing Day Jim'll Fix It tribute programme hosted by Shane Richie.

The decision to spike the story is said to have angered many staff, who had spent months working on the report.


Surrey Police confirmed that allegations had been made and investigated, and a CPS spokesman said a reviewing lawyer had advised officers a lack of evidence meant no action could be taken.

The only real catch of Operation Ore was Jonathan King who paid the price for being less famous than Jimmy Saville and as Di Stefano states “with less influence.”

“I remember that any mention of any of the names on the Operation Ore list and my mentioning the name Jimmy Saville when talking to the CPS an iron curtain came up and it was made clear I was to deal only with who I was representing, Jonathan King, at that time and not to dare even mention allegations on Saville,” said Di Stefano.