The focus of the Jimmy Savile scandal is shifting to the hospitals where he was a volunteer, as new allegations emerge. Both Stoke Mandeville Hospital and Leeds General Infirmary are under pressure to conduct inquiries.
The latest allegations come from people who claim Jimmy Savile, who worked as a volunteer at Leeds General Infirmary and Stoke Mandeville Hospital, abused them when they were sick children.
BBC News reports that Leeds General Infirmary has received complaints that Jimmy Savile abused patients when he worked there as a volunteer hospital porter. Andrew Bannister, a spokesperson for the hospital, said:
Two individuals have contacted the hospital to share their concerns about things that happened with Jimmy Savile in the 70s but these contacts have only come to light in the last few days since the upsurge of publicity.
Clearly we will be liaising closely with the police because we also want to know what, if any, evidence they might have about any wrong behaviour in Leeds.
A former nurse at Leeds General Infirmary, June Thornton, described an incident in which Savile abused a brain damaged girl. She said:
He kissed her, and I thought he was a visitor coming to see her, and he started rubbing his hands down her arms and then – I don’t know of a nice way to put it but he molested her.
The Daily Telegraph reports a case at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Caroline Moore, who was thirteen, described how Savile approached her silently as she sat alone in a corridor. She had been recovering in the children's ward at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1971 following an operation to fuse her spine. She said:
I was quite shy and lonely. I don’t remember him saying anything to me but he leant down and I was excited because I thought he was going to give me a wee peck on the cheek. But he took my face in his hands and rammed his tongue down my throat. I was shocked. I had never been kissed and I didn’t really know what had happened – only that it made me absolutely shudder.
Afterwards he just walked off as if nothing had happened.
It was a horrible experience. I can still see his face - it has haunted me to this day.
Another patient, Laura, has said that Savile would do "ward rounds" and take children to a private room he had at the hospital. She added:
I just remember people saying, "I wonder which one of us would be the 'chosen one' to go to his 'little room'". I remember the nurses tucking me in saying, "The best thing you can do is stay in bed, don't ask to be put in your wheelchair today and pretend to be asleep".
The Daily Mail reports that one child, who was nine years old at the time, claims she was "fondled" in Savile's Rolls Royce at a Stoke Mandeville Hospital fund-raising event.
According to the Guardian, a former patient of Broadmoor hospital, Alison Pink, has also claimed that Savile abused her. She said:
I tried to squirm, but he held my wrist with his hands. I felt absolutely disgusting afterwards – like I had been used as a piece of meat for his sexual gratification.
The Metropolitan Police, which is the national lead for the investigation, has said it will include the hospitals in its inquiries.
Commander Peter Spindler, who is heading the investigation, said the abuse appeared to have been on a "national scale". He added:
It is quite clear from what women are telling us that Savile was a predatory sex offender.