By VennerRoad, 1st Dec 2014
A skeptical look at the alleged crimes of Jimmy Savile.
Savile in 1964
To probably the vast majority of the UK population, Jimmy Savile was the most prolific serial groper and occasional rapist these islands have ever produced. As is very often the case though, there is a canyon-wide gulf between the public perception and reality. Savile has now been accused of literally hundreds of offences, and it is clear that probably the vast majority can never be either proved or disproved. Having said that, a fair number of them are either clearly false or most likely imaginary.
Let us here take a slightly more critical look than usual at the case against Jimmy Savile. Although the ball didn’t start rolling until the documentary The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile, he was the subject of rumours long before his death, and had even been questioned by the police about alleged indecency with underage girls.
The former is by no means uncommon. People in the public eye from powerful to not-so-powerful politicians, business people and of course celebrities are often the subjects of the most outrageous rumours. The advent of the Internet may have led to a new Renaissance but it has also allowed the propagation of lies, libels and scandal directed at all and sundry on an unprecedented scale. Jimmy Savile was a more appealing target for such rumours than most for a number of reasons. To begin with he was an eccentric, that is something that can have both a great appeal to people, and just the opposite effect. He was also unmarried, and for many rumour-mongers that can mean only one thing.
The Other Face Of Jimmy Savile was screened October 3, 2012, but was given heavy advance notice. The man behind it was Mark Williams-Thomas, a Surrey Police Officer turned journalist – investigative journalist is probably too much of a loaded phrase. According to the man himself, he launched the investigation into Jonathan King which resulted in the former music pundit serving a seven year sentence. Before we go any further, it is worth taking a closer look at him.
Williams-Thomas grabbed a headline in the Sunday Mirror on November 25, 2001, shortly after King was sentenced. According to the paper he was “THE policeman who led the Jonathan King sex crimes investigation". He was alluded to as "Ex-Detective Constable Mark Williams-Thomas”, and was said to have been a founder member of the Surrey Police Paedophile Unit. He said of King: “I have no doubt he would have gone on to commit even more serious crimes if he hadn’t been caught.”
Whether or not the latter claim is true, the former is not; a mere detective constable would not have led an investigation of this nature which involved cooperation with the US authorities.
According to the Times of November 22, 2001, the investigation was led by Mervyn McFadden of the National Criminal Intelligence Service; the senior Surrey officer on the case was Detective Inspector Brian Marjoram. There were about a dozen officers working the investigation altogether, although more would have been involved as needed
As Williams-Thomas left the force after 11 years, his career was clearly going nowhere; at least one person has an even more uncharitable opinion, and says he left the police “under a cloud”.
By 2003 he was described as a freelance journalist. The reality is there is no such thing as a freelance journalist in practice; most so-called freelances are employed by specific organisations. Although it is not a closed shop like the police, the profession – if one may call it that – is extremely incestuous. And, in 2003, Williams-Thomas may just have been frozen out of the family, because in June that year he stood trial at Chichester Crown Court for blackmail. This was a bizarre case indeed involving an undertaking firm, but the fact that he found himself in the dock should have made him more circumspect than the average ex-copper about drawing far-reaching conclusions from dubious evidence.
He has also racked up quite a few entries in the IMDb, and shortly before the Savile documentary, he made one about Jeremy Bamber which claims to have found evidence that points to the innocence of the mass killer. For those not au fait with this case, the judgment in Bamber’s failed second appeal runs to 522 paragraphs. Bamber slaughtered his entire family then staged the crime scene to make it look as though his sister Sheila Caffell had carried out the murders and then committed suicide. He might have got away with it too because the officer in charge of the case appears to have been more interested in winding it up and getting back to the golf course than in carrying out a thorough investigation; it was left to Bamber’s distant relatives to dig up the evidence that would put him behind bars.
Initially, Bamber’s lawyers raised one ground of appeal which they proceeded to expand to sixteen. The whole business was extremely weak, but he certainly had his day in court. Although the initial investigation by the police was virtually non-existent, the work done on it subsequently was very impressive, and the soundness of Bamber’s conviction is not a subject for debate by jurists of reason. The same cannot be said for the case against Jimmy Savile because all the evidence against him is weak. Weak evidence and lies do not make a strong case, however many of the latter there may be.
To be scrupulously fair to Williams-Thomas, he does give some space in Bamber: The New Evidence to the other side, but the same cannot be said of the mainstream media and Jimmy Savile.
The bedrock of “evidence” against Savile concerns Duncroft, a school for wayward girls he was said to have used as his personal harem under the eyes of its staff, if not with their outright connivance. Like other accusers – male and female – of Savile and many others who have been convicted of, prosecuted for, or simply named as the perpetrators of vile crimes, the Duncroft girls sound extremely convincing. Sadly, this tells us more about human nature than it does about the demonstrability of historical sex offences.
As might have been expected, the BBC ran a tribute programme for Savile shortly after his death, and caught considerable flak for this because everyone at the Beeb, or at least those higher up were said to have known Savile had been a serial abuser, indeed he was said to have sexually assaulted or even raped underage girls on the premises.
The investigation into Savile broadened, and a large number of celebrities were arrested on the basis of allegations made years and even decades later. Of the resulting convictions, those of Rolf Harris, Max Clifford and Dave Lee Travis are anything but satisfactory. The Travis case required a trial and a retrial to convict him of a solitary offence. Only the convictions of Stuart Hall and Chris Denning can be said to be warranted, but even Hall was cleared of the major charges, while the homosexual Denning has a history going back to the 1970s. Gary Glitter has yet to stand trial, but he too has a track record, and is therefore an easy target. All the same, it is difficult to credit he is guilty as charged, but if Rolf Harris OBE can be convicted on the sort of garbage that was used to take him to trial, there is little hope for a man who has served time in Vietnam for molesting young girls.
Returning to Savile, the plausibility of the Duncroft allegations was seriously undermined by a letter ostensibly from Surrey Police. This claimed that Savile had been on their radar but was not prosecuted solely on account of his age and infirmity. This letter turned out to be a fake, which begs the question, how much of the “evidence” against him is genuine?
A number of people including the blogger Anna Raccoon have pooh poohed the Duncroft allegations; the woman behind this blog, Susanne Cameron-Blackie, was actually at Duncroft at one point, and clearly knows what she is talking about. The blog jimcannotfixthis contains a more detailed analysis of the allegations against Savile. It would be tiresome to work through all of them, but here are a few that should give the reader the general feel of these allegations.
A woman claimed to have been indecently assaulted by Savile (or someone who looked like him) in 1954 – NINETEEN FIFTY-FOUR – at Queen Victoria Hospital.
The reality is that Savile’s rise to fame began in 1963 when he presented the first episode of Top Of The Pops; it was this that led to his championing of the NHS.
Another allegation dates from 1959 – NINETEEN FIFTY-NINE – at which time the alleged victim was 7-8 years old. She had been admitted to Booth Hall Hospital to have an appendectomy, of that much we can be certain, though she told the police not only that Savile abused her but that this abuse was carried out with the connivance of her own father, who had also abused her. What are we to make of this, seriously?
Savile’s great-niece Caroline Robinson is one of his accusers; she gave a graphic account of his opportunism in a TV interview, but in October this year it was revealed that her own family had accused her of lying about this incident. She made this claim because...when they say it isn’t about the money, you can be sure it is about the money, in particular Savile’s considerable but rapidly dwindling estate.
According to the same report, “The lawyers who represent claimants will be paid between £11,000 and £16,000 for every claim they process. Under the scheme’s fixed ‘tariff’ of damages and legal fees, this means the lawyers will be paid up to ten times as much as victims.”
In other words, this is a feeding frenzy by the lawyers. A recent hearing at the High Court before Mr Justice Sales saw at least four QCs and other lawyers representing no fewer than seven defendants.
One final case worthy of mention, a former cancer patient who wrote to Savile thanking him for helping save her life has put in a claim for £60,000 damages for a series of alleged sexual assaults.
Anyone reading about the allegations against Savile need exercise only a little critical faculty to realise that most of what has been written about him since his death is not only unproven but demonstrably false. One of the claims made incessantly is that he was so powerful that he was able to bully, intimidate or coerce people into silence. Can that really have been the case? Let us rephrase that question, if you were involved in the running of a hospital or an institution such as the BBC, would you allow Savile or anyone to carry out sexual assaults under your nose? Would you make yourself complicit in such crimes?
Furthermore, journalists are always on the look out for salacious stories; powerful politicians up to and including the President of the United States have been brought down by lesser scandals – Richard Nixon! Bill Clinton had his personal life dragged through the mud over the Lewinsky affair while in the White House. In this country, Jeffrey Archer ended up behind bars on account of his fraudulent libel win; he was neither the first nor the last politician to be hoist by his own petard. Savile had the ear of people in high places, but he was not influential in the sense that he could snap his fingers and these people would jump. And what influence he did have was purely benign. Sure, he had a set of keys for Broadmoor, but did that mean he could wander around at will and sexually assault whoever took his fancy?
The only people who insist we should believe “victims” uncritically, be they alleged victims of Savile or of anyone else, are those who have a vested interest in us doing so, which in the case of at least three law firms is purely financial. Ironically, Esther Rantzen has already been smeared by the lunatic fringe as if not a paedophile herself then as a protector of them. Rantzen is the founder of ChildLine and has been credited with the mantra “believe the children”. The simple truth is we can’t always believe the children, and if we can’t believe the children, why on Earth should we believe the lawyers?
To Wikinut Articles Page