The elaborate headstone that marked Jimmy Savile's grave was taken down at midnight. According to the Daily Telegraph
, the family had requested the removal of the headstone out of "respect for public opinion".
Funeral director Robert Morphit, of Joseph A Hey and Son, who oversaw the dismantling of the headstone, said:
Yesterday afternoon the family contacted me and said they'd thought very carefully about the course of action with regard to the stone. They had decided that in order to protect the dignity and sanctity of this cemetery it was appropriate to remove the stone.
When we erected his headstone not three weeks ago I expected it to be here forever. I never thought it'd be removed, let alone so quickly.
As the Independent
notes, the removal of the headstone was taken as a "preventative measure". Other memorials to Jimmy Savile across the country had already been taken down. In Glasgow, a life-size statue of Savile beside a children's swimming pool was removed. The Daily Mirror
quotes a spokesperson for Glasgow Life, who said:
Given the current controversy and the seriousness of the allegations, we thought it appropriate to move the statue at this time.
A plaque in Scarborough in honour of Savile had been defaced with the words "paedophile" and "rapist" before being removed. In Leeds, the city council had an inscription honouring the former star removed from the Civic Hall. Leeds City Council Chief Executive, Tom Riordan, explained the decision:
Over the last week we have become very aware of the allegations being made against the late Sir Jimmy Savile. In recognition of his charity work, he received the Leeds Award and his name was inscribed on the wall at Civic Hall. The response to the award was a clear indication of people's feelings towards Sir Jimmy Savile at that time.
In light of the very serious nature of the allegations now made, we will be removing the inscription and have stopped work on other possible commemorations. We'll await the outcome of any investigations before deciding whether any further action is necessary.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has even suggested, as BBC News
reports, that Jimmy Savile may become the first person to be posthumously stripped of a knighthood; even though this would require a change in the law.