Jimmy Savile abuse: Number of alleged victims reaches 450

  • Published
Media caption,

Met Police Commander Peter Spindler said more people would be arrested

Police have confirmed that the number of alleged sex abuse victims of the late Jimmy Savile has reached 450.

The Operation Yewtree team said 589 alleged victims have come forward during their investigation of offences committed by Savile and others.

Of the alleged victims, 82% were female and 80% were children or young people.

Meanwhile, police have set up Operation Fairbank to investigate allegations by Labour MP Tom Watson of a paedophile ring in high places.

Mr Watson said in October that police should investigate claims of a "powerful paedophile ring" linked to a previous prime minister's "senior adviser" and Parliament.

'Exploited his position'

Savile, who died last year aged 84, was a Radio 1 DJ and the presenter of the Jim'll Fix It show on BBC One.

Operation Yewtree, which launched 10 weeks ago, has a team of 30 officers and has so far cost about £2m.

Police said on Wednesday they have recorded 199 alleged crimes in 17 police force areas against Savile.

They said they had recorded 31 allegations of rape against Savile in seven force areas.

Met Police Commander Peter Spindler, head of Operation Yewtree, said: "Savile's offending peaked in the 70s and what we can show, or will be showing in the New Year, is how he used his position in society across the country - the crimes relate to 17 different police force areas - how he exploited this position to get his sexual gratification."

BBC home affairs correspondent Matt Prodger says the level of allegations against Savile - 450 in total - is unprecedented - never before have police received that number of allegations against a single person.

Our correspondent says he believes the police have a total of 20 suspects whom they wish to interview. They have interviewed seven people in total - six of whom were arrested.

Police are looking at three strands within their inquiry - claims against Savile, those against Savile and others, and those against others only.

High-profile names arrested in connection with the investigation are PR consultant Max Clifford, comedian Freddie Starr, DJ Dave Lee Travis and former TV producer Wilfred De'Ath, who all deny any wrongdoing. Gary Glitter, who was also arrested, has not yet made a statement.

A man in his 80s was also questioned and a man in his 60s was arrested on Monday and later bailed.

Gary Glitter and a man in his 70s, thought to be Wilfred De'Ath, both answered bail on Wednesday and were re-bailed until February 2013.

Operation Fairbank

The Met Police and the NSPCC are preparing a joint report of their findings to be published in January.

Police also said there had been a four-fold increase in people reporting allegations of sexual assault unrelated to Savile, both recent and older cases.

There were 55 reports of "non-recent" rape and serious sexual offences in the month prior to the launch of Operation Yewtree, compared to 299 in the month following it, police said.

The BBC has announced two inquiries as a result of the abuse claims and a further review into the corporation's current sexual harassment policies.

There is a further investigation into the circumstances surrounding the dropping of a Newsnight investigation into Savile.

Other inquiries being carried out into the Savile affair include the director of public prosecutions' review into the decision not to prosecute Savile in 2009.

The Met Police said Operation Fairbank was launched in October after Mr Watson passed on information to police.

A spokesman said police were looking at the information but it was "too early to say it's an investigation of sorts".

"As with any information, it is being treated with the utmost seriousness," the spokesman said, adding that police wanted to hear from anyone with any further information.

Mr Watson told the BBC: "A number of people have made allegations to me. The matter is now rightly in the hands of the police."