“Did North Yorkshire Police ‘fix it’ for Jim?”
– by Tim Hicks
Sir James Savile, Freeman of the Borough of Scarborough, and recipient of a variety of civic honours including the re-naming of a street and even a statue (fortunately now cancelled) – is now commonly believed to be Britain’s most reviled and prolific child-abuser.
His high social standing – and the public honours accorded to him by SBC – are even more astounding given that North Yorkshire Police had access to ample intelligence that he was a member of a large, well-connected and very active paedophile ring that operated with impunity in Scarborough for over forty years.
Unfortunately the local press has no commitment to investigative journalism, preferring to avoid controversy by publishing only bland local news and press releases supplied by the Council. Consequently national press coverage has focused on his activities in the BBC, London and Leeds; only the Daily/Sunday Express has given the Scarborough connection any quality coverage. To address this ‘Corruption Busters’ have initiated an investigation using local contacts unavailable to the national newspapers and some new information has emerged as a result.
The facts about Britain’s most prolific child-abuser and his activities in the Borough of Scarborough are as follows:
- From 1964 until his death in 2011, Jimmy Savile lived much of his life in Scarborough, According to the Metropolitan Police Operation Yewtree, Savile was abusing children from 1959 until about 2006.
- Saville was a very close friend of Peter Jaconelli, the well-known Scarborough ice-cream magnate and ‘big-wheel’ at both SBC and NYCC, from the time he arrived in Scarborough until Jaconelli’s death in 1999. He was also close friends with Scarborough amusement arcade operator, Jimmy Corrigan (deceased) who owned an amusement arcade in the town until his death.
- It would appear (from press reports, local contacts who knew them both and from common knowledge) that Jaconelli was well-known locally for his homosexuality. Both he and Corrigan had a reputation for their predilection for minors. They employed young people in their businesses which by their nature, attracted other vulnerable youngsters.
- In the 1960’s, Savile frequented the Scarborough Bowling Alley much-favoured by young musicians on the local music scene, with their customary entourage of young girls. Consequently, all three men had close contact with young people, no doubt facilitated by Savile’s charm and Pop/media status, and the enormous influence that Jaconelli and Corrigan wielded locally.
- Local enquiries have ascertained that Savile was a frequent visitor to Scarborough Hospital, Scarborough College (a local grammar school), Throxenby Hall (a care-home for distressed children), Graham School, Woodlands School and Raincliffe School (all in Scarborough). This has to be a matter of grave concern, because although there is no evidence that children from these institutions were abused, it is also clear that Savile has abused children and other young patients at virtually every institution he visited – including schools and hospitals.
- North Yorkshire Police have confirmed that two women have recently come forward, alleging that they were sexually abused in Scarborough, in the late ‘Sixties and late ‘Eighties, respectively. Consequently, it appears to be a valid deduction that he was committing sexual offences against young people when he was in Scarborough.
Seaside towns have always been magnets for runaways and other vulnerable young people from unsettled backgrounds. Therefore, one would expect Scarborough Police to have been alert to the risk of young people being abused and corrupted. One would expect them to plan their local policing and intelligence gathering accordingly, thereby proactively seeking to detect this type of offence and thereby to protect young children in the community.
Yet a North Yorkshire Police spokesperson has stated:
“When the allegations surrounding Jimmy Savile were publicised, we carried out extensive searches of force records which did not reveal a local connection.”
– thereby completely and conveniently excusing NYP from any responsibility for their failure to arrest Savile, although it is blatantly obvious that a prominent local connection did exist.
Having established the following timeline of events, I find the official line of North Yorkshire Police lacking all credibility:
1958: Savile was interviewed under caution by West Yorkshire Police over allegations that he had abused young girls at the Mecca Locarno Ballroom in Leeds where he was manager. It has been alleged, by one of his associates at the time, that he bribed West Yorkshire Police Officers to drop the charges and that he routinely bribed Police Officers.
1971: Allegations were made that Savile was involved with a 15-year-old dancer from Top of the Pops who committed suicide. The investigation was led by a Detective Chief Superintendent and Savile was interviewed as a witness.
Late 1970s: Allegations were made that Savile had been abusing patients at Stoke Mandeville Hospital and this was reported to Buckinghamshire Police.
April 2000: In the excellent Louis Theroux documentary ‘When Louis Met Jimmy Savile’, Savile admitted that journalists had raised allegations that he was a paedophile. He also boasted that he tied up young people and held them captive in the basement of the Mecca Lucarno Ballroom and of his ability to pervert Police investigations so that consequently he was left completely alone by them, despite the very serious offences he admitted.
2003: North Yorkshire Police conducted a major paedophile investigation in Scarborough. Two men were jailed for abusing girls in the ‘Eighties – John Thomas White was jailed for 20 sex offences. Another man, Brian Rutter, was later cleared on appeal. According to press reports, there were rumours about Savile during that investigation (which the police must presumably have known), yet they ignored this line of enquiry and Savile was never even interviewed by North Yorkshire Police.
The report then goes on to state that North Yorkshire Police believed that a number of paedophiles were operating within the Scarborough area, including a man who abused children at his caravan overlooking the seaside resort. In the April 2000 documentary, Savile boasted that he had a Caravan in Scarborough where he took girls for sex. It therefore appears probable that the man who featured in the North Yorkshire Police investigation was in fact Savile and he was using his caravan in Scarborough to commit sexual offences against children. Yet North Yorkshire Police did not make this connection.
2004: During the trial, it was claimed that “there were no shortage of young girls drifting around Scarborough seafront in the 1980s, and no shortage of older men prepared to take advantage of them”. North Yorkshire Police was clearly aware of the potential for this type of offence in Scarborough and had a duty to actively combat it.
2007: Savile was interviewed under caution by Surrey Police over allegations that he had abused schoolgirls at Duncroft Approved School in the 1970’s.
2008: Sussex Police initiated an investigation into Savile over a sexual assault in Worthing in 1970.
2008: Jersey Police confirmed in 2008 that an allegation of an indecent assault by Savile, in the 1970s, at the Haut de la Garenne children’s home had been investigated.
2008: Savile started legal proceedings over articles linking him to Haut de la Garenne which initially he denied having visited, but later admitted that he had done so, following the publication of a photograph showing him there.
2012: Last week, two women contacted Scarborough’s local paper separately, claiming that Police Officers interviewed them in 2003 while investigating a paedophile ring that targeted young girls on the seafront. They were not abused, but both said Savile’s name was mentioned to them by the in vestigating Officers. One woman told the Daily Express that Police also mentioned Mr Peter Jaconelli and Mr Jimmy Corrigan. This constitutes independent confirmation by two separate witnesses that North Yorkshire Police were aware of paedophile activity in Scarborough and of Savile’s part in it.
All of this information was, or should have been, available to North Yorkshire Police through open sources, via the Police National Computer, through contacts with local people, from interviews with victims and the observations of Police Officers on the beat in the community throughout forty years and the considerable amount of Police intelligence, developed by their own investigations.
Yet Savile was never even interviewed by North Yorkshire Police.
People that work with vulnerable and young people are required to be vetted, but this was also apparently ignored.
North Yorkshire County Council, (the Local Education Authority) should also have been notified so schools could be protected.
In summary; the most prolific child-sex predator in the history of the UK operated alone and within a high profile paedophile ring in Scarborough for forty-two years, and although his offending has been covered in the national press and was well-known to journalists, to his colleagues, to local people and to SIX other Police Forces, North Yorkshire Police claim they knew nothing about it.
So why did North Yorkshire Police fail to protect the young people of Scarborough by detecting and arresting Savile?
There appear to be a number of possibilities:
- North Yorkshire Police were clearly aware of a paedophile ring in Scarborough and successfully prosecuted one paedophile as a result of their investigation. The evidence was so strong and local knowledge of the paedophile ring so widespread that incompetence can probably be ruled out as an explanation for Savile’s offending with impunity.
- We have identified that a Police Officer who served in North Yorkshire Police in the 1980’s was subsequently convicted of paedophile offences. However, we have no reason to believe that Savile, Jaconelli and Corrigan were protected by Police Officers who were themselves members of the ring. (Although we are aware of a case in West Yorkshire Police where it is alleged that a paedophile has been protected by fellow police officers).
- DJ Paul Gambaccini has alleged publicly that it was “pretty widely known” that Savile had bribed Police Officers, although we have no evidence to suggest that he bribed Officers of the North Yorkshire Police. It appears that bribery of Police Officers was part of his modus operandi and a key factor in his success in evading arrest. Which Police Officers?
- Jaconelli was a prominent local business man, Scarborough Councillor, County Councillor and the Mayor of Scarborough. Jimmy Saville was a major media personality connected at the highest levels in Yorkshire and nationally. Is it possible that North Yorkshire Police backed off from investigating Savile and His Worship Mayor Jaconelli because of their prominent positions in the local community?
- Recently North Yorkshire Police tried to protect another high-profile and influential public figure – NYCC and SBC Councillor Jane Kenyon, (also Chair of the North Yorkshire Police Authority) – from further embarrassing press revelations, by interviewing a journalist under caution over a concocted allegation of harassment, seemingly because he was conducting an investigation into her expenses. This practice of ‘burying’ indiscretions and crimes of prominent local big wigs fits into a pattern of behavior by North Yorkshire Police.
Savile lived in Scarborough for over forty years, probably abused children for all of that time and, like former Mayor of Scarborough, County Councillor Peter Jaconelli, he was never inconvenienced by North Yorkshire Police at any time and completely escaped justice.
It is not well-known that Councillor Tom Fox served a thirty year career with the North Yorkshire Police, including a period as acting Head of the Scarborough Police division. He retired around 2000 and has since served as a prominent SBC Councillor and Leader for the past six years. A Real Whitby investigative journalist recently asked Councillor Fox the following question:
“Would the Leader confirm or deny that, as a former ranking Police Officer in Scarborough, and as long-serving leading Councillor since that time, he was aware that elements within the Authorities were cognisant of concerns of the gravest nature in respect of the activiites of Sir Jimmy Savile, yet nevertheless played a leading role in the lavish civic honours bestowed upon a man now widely reviled as the worst and most degenerate sexual predator inthe Borough’s history?”
Thus far, Councillor Tom Fox has offered no response – unless this statement to the Scarborough News (in regard to a proposal to strip Savile of his Freemanship of the Borough) can be considered a response:
“In addition, this council, in further acknowledgment of the serious predatory sexual allegations spanning over six decades, agrees that if the council had been aware of such revelations at the time of Sir Jimmy Savile’s nomination for ‘Honorary Freeman of the Borough of Scarborough’ the council would have refused it.”
That reads like a denial of all knowledge to me – one which has the same hollow ring to it as the one from North Yorkshire Police.
North Yorkshire Police were provided with the text of this article ahead of publication, to allow an opportunity for comment.
No comment has yet been forthcoming.