BBC star may have abused girls over four decades

Tue Oct 9, 2012 12:14pm EDT
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By Michael Holden

LONDON (Reuters) - Jimmy Savile, the late BBC TV star at the centre of a child sex scandal that has shaken Britain's state-funded broadcaster, may have abused up to 25 victims some as young as 13 over four decades, police said on Tuesday.

Detectives said they were looking into 120 lines of inquiry about Savile, the eccentric children's presenter who was a British household name for both his TV and charity work, since allegations against him were first aired just over a week ago.

A number of the alleged victims have gone public, triggering a media storm that has raised awkward questions for the BBC including suggestions the broadcaster covered up Savile's crimes, some of which were said to have taken place on BBC premises.

The BBC's new boss George Entwistle was forced to apologies on Monday to the women alleging abuse by Savile, who died last year aged 84.

Eight women have already made criminal complaints against Savile, two of rape and six of indecent assault. Commander Peter Spindler, who is heading the police inquiry, said he expected more to follow as other victims came forward.

"We think we will come up with between 20 and 25 victims," he told reporters, adding the eight who had already come forward had mostly been aged 13 to 16 at the time of the alleged abuse.

"The pattern of his offending behavior does appear to be on a national scale," Spindler said. He added the abuse spanned four decades with the earliest reported case in 1959.

Cigar-chomping Savile, instantly recognizable by his shock of blonde hair and garish outfits, is accused of using his celebrity status to abuse the girls.   Continued...

A tribute is seen next to the coffin of British entertainer Jimmy Saville as it is displayed to the public at The Queens Hotel in Leeds, northern England November 8, 2011. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis