– Corruption Buster Tim Hicks writes with an update on the Jaconelli/Savile scandal.
For some time, journalists and others have been alleging varying degrees of misconduct by Police Officers from North Yorkshire and West Yorkshire Police in relation to the failure to arrest and prosecute Jimmy Savile. In this respect, the allegations concerning Savile in Leeds and Scarborough (Savile’s two principal homes) are different to those in other Police Force areas, because formal allegations of Police misconduct and acquiescence to Savile are being made against officers of both forces publicly.
In summary, the concerns raised are that:
- Savile operated in a paedophile ring in the Scarborough area with (amongst others) the former Mayor of Scarborough Councillor Peter Jaconelli, who abused boys from about 1955 onwards, and that North Yorkshire Police knew about this and turned a blind eye to it, because of Jaconelli’s position and connections with the Police.
- Nine police officers from West Yorkshire Police and possibly North Yorkshire Police had inappropriate contact with Savile in a private Social Club which met every Friday morning at his flat in Roundhay Park, Leeds. The Chief Constables of both forces are steadfastly refusing to comment on who these officers are, although two have been identified; retired Inspector Mick Starkey who is alleged to have operated as Savile’s driver and bodyguard, and Sergeant Matt Appleyard. Conversely, the British Transport Police confirmed very quickly and openly that they had no officers at these meetings.
- In response to a letter from Surrey Police to Jimmy Savile declaring their intention to interview him under caution at a Police Station in Surrey, a West Yorkshire Police Inspector identified only as “Inspector 5”, who was the Force Incident Manager in the Force Control Room, contacted Surrey Police in an official telephone call, (apparently acting as Savile’s agent or PA) and ensured instead that he was interviewed in Stoke Mandeville Hospital, not a Police station (where he could be interviewed under caution with his responses being taped and available as evidence against him), thereby undermining the Surrey enquiry. It is not known if “Inspector 5” was also a member of Savile’s social club.
- In response to an enquiry from Surrey Police on the 20th of July 2007 asking if they had any intelligence on Savile. (Operation Ornament. Report can be accessed here – Reference: paragraph 7.15). The North Yorkshire Police Force Intelligence Bureau confirmed it had no knowledge of him on the 21st or 22nd of July 2007; although Savile had been a subject of interest in the 2003 enquiry by North Yorkshire Police and was a known associate of Peter Jaconelli, who was a known paedophile.
Since the above allegations surfaced, more evidence has emerged supporting these concerns.
- Recently, two of Jaconelli’s victims have bravely come forward to confirm these allegations formally. One of them has requested that the late Councillor Jaconelli is stripped of the honorary title of Alderman. Scarborough Councillor Geoff Evans has alleged that Jaconelli was well known to the authorities and the police, but was protected because of his status as Mayor and his close connections to the Police. Other postings have also alleged this and some have even alleged that Mr Jaconelli was known to the Police and had multiple convictions for sexual offences. A recent posting to the Scarborough News has alleged that Jaconelli abused pupils of Raincliffe School, where he was a Governor:
- A retired Police Inspector from West Yorkshire has been referred to the IPCC, (not, be it noted, by West Yorkshire Police, but by the IPCC). IPCC Commissioner Rachel Cerfontyne said: “Having had the opportunity to assess all the information that is available to us I directed West Yorkshire Police to record and refer the conduct of a former inspector”. This is thought to be “Inspector 5”.
- Concerning the failure of North Yorkshire Police Force Intelligence Bureau to pass on information to the Surrey Police investigation Operation Ornament, Commissioner Cerfontyne’s comments are particularly relevant: “Furthermore I believe that all the forces that may have had intelligence concerning the late Jimmy Savile should now go back and consider all the relevant information and materials they possess that may highlight any recordable conduct issues for the IPCC to assess. A number of bodies are already working to address the deep rooted public concern in this case and have published reports. It is now for the IPCC to assess thoroughly whether or not there are matters in relation to the conduct of individual officers that require an IPCC investigation. This may be of little comfort to victims of crime but I hope that the IPCC can play some part in addressing what many see as a catalogue of institutional failings.“
Opportunities MISSED by North Yorkshire Police to arrest Jimmy Savile
If Jaconelli had been arrested and questioned, his association with Savile and their activities together could have been revealed, leading to an arrest and a successful prosecution and the prevention of many sexual offences.
Unquestionably the best opportunity to bring Savile to Justice was the Surrey Police investigation. If North Yorkshire Police had revealed to Surrey Police the intelligence they held on Jaconelli and Savile in response to the Surrey enquiry, this would certainly have led to his arrest and prosecution.
However, the response of West Yorkshire’s “Inspector 5” denied Surrey detectives the chance to interview him under caution and the failure of North Yorkshire’s Force Intelligence Bureau to pass on the intelligence they held on him, effectively neutered the investigation and ensured he would escape justice.
Now it is possible that the failure to pass on intelligence was a human error. However, had Surrey Police successfully prosecuted Savile, this could have led to the embarrassing disclosure that Jaconelli operated as a paedophile fairly openly in Scarborough for about forty years, not to mention the revelations that the prosecution of Savile could bring……….
Councillor Tom Fox’s statement
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 we think around 1999 and has since served as a prominent SBC Councillor and then Leader for the past six years. In October 2012 Councillor Fox was asked 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 activities 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 in the Borough’s history?”
This question was ignored until last Friday the 22nd of February, when, in extraordinary scenes, he responded in the Council Chamber. Here we quote from the Scarborough News:
Cllr Fox said since the revelations came out, he had been subjected to “continued abuse, insinuation and false allegations” with regards to Savile.
He said: “Reference has repeatedly been made to my role as a police officer working in the borough of Scarborough that I must have known that Jimmy Savile was a paedophile. I can categorically state that these rumours are without foundation, evidence of justification. I never encountered one single complaint about the conduct of Jimmy Savile.”
Cllr Fox made it clear that nobody knew about the star’s “dark side”, even the Queen, who gave him a knighthood, or the Pope, who gave him a papal knighthood.
He said: “An eccentric I certainly thought he was. An oddball I certainly thought he was. But a paedophile, sexual offender, or predator? I never had an inkling.”
Cllr Fox apologised to the mayor for raising his voice during the statement, saying he was had “a lot of anger and frustration about this”, adding there had been a “tissue of lies” on the subject.
He added: “When I found out about it I was abhorred. I was very quick to try and bring about this motion.”
Cllr Peter Popple, who proposed Savile for freeman of the borough status at the time, said: “I didn’t know he had a dark side. Savile made many friends here and gained the trust and friendship of many in this town, and he betrayed that trust and friendship with his dark side. I know ex-friends of his who were hurt by the worst sexual predator this country has known for years.”
Cllr David Billing quoted the words of Irish political philosopher Edmund Burke, saying: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
He said it should be “a lesson to us all” and encouraged people to play their part in preventing future victims by being vigilant about the signs of abuse.
A transcript of his remarks to Yorkshire Coast Radio is below:
“It was a difficult meeting for me with regards to the motion. Particularly because I had to lay some ghosts. I’d had a series of very publicly false, dishonest, allegations made against me and it was very important that I laid them ghosts and I was very specific. I was very detailed and I did it to ensure that those that are writing such stories had my response unequivocally, in the public domain.
As a senior police officer I never received a single allegation, complaint from anybody who might have been a victim, from a police officer who might have been in contact with a victim, or anybody else who may have been a witness to such an incident or indeed had been told of such incident. Not a single complaint, not a single officer, not a single member of the public and then on top of that, unequivocally, they have accused me as leader of the council, having stood up in council and proposed him for freeman of the borough in 2005. And I have unequivocally denied that.
This is a matter of public record 2005, I was not the leader of the Council, I didn’t stand up in the Council and nominate him. I didn’t second him.
Albeit, I was at the meeting.
If I had known anything in his past, that suggested he was a paedophile, a sexual offender, a harrasser, then I would have interceded long before anybody considered bringing him forward for the honour of the Freeman of the Borough.
The allegations are ludicrous. They are lies.
If somebody said to me, “a load of bull”, I’d agree with them. “eccentric” I’d agree with them. But “a peadophile, sexual offender, harrasser of young people, never in my wildest dreams, my wildest imagination, my wildest thoughts . . . never ever.”
We are happy to publish Councillor Tom Fox’s rebuttal and it is of course to his credit that he has spoken out so robustly, even after four months of silence.
- However, why has it taken him so long?
Why couldn’t he just come out and say this in October, thereby avoiding the sustained pressure to extract this response that he complains of?
Most particularly, why was there no mention of Jaconelli, the key player in the Scarborough ring, and no denial of his role, or that North Yorkshire Police knew all about him?
The response of North Yorkshire Police
In citing the Her Majesty’s approval of Savile’s Knighthood and the Pope’s Papal Award, Councillor Fox seems to suggest that if Her Majesty and His Holiness were satisfied then that was good enough for him and this therefore completely absolves him from any responsibility.
This ignores the fact that both of these good and worthy people depended on a vetting process which no doubt involved a check with the local Police, which in the event gave Savile – incredibly – a clean bill of health. In short, they were let down very badly.
The protection of minors in a seaside town is a Police priority. This requires the monitoring of places where young people congregate and the proactive development of Police intelligence. This seems to have been ignored, hence the catastrophic failure of the North Yorkshire Police vetting process.
It therefore appears that the position of North Yorkshire Police is that Councillor Fox and every other police officer in Scarborough was completely unaware of what was going on relatively openly in Scarborough from 1955 onwards.
To be fair it is conceivable that Councillor Fox was not aware of what was going on. However, successive Officers commanding Scarborough Police were nevertheless on the spot and must have had the entirety of the local rumor reported to them at some time or another from 1955 onwards. Yet North Yorkshire Police failed to take any action at all.
Here, I have some sympathy for Councillor Fox, because he is taking a lot of the criticism and anger at the evident failure of North Yorkshire Police to protect children that should be directed to the Chief Constable. Unfortunately, despite the gravest allegations of corruption being made against his Force in public, Temporary Chief Constable Madgwick is maintaining his right to silence and not commenting; thereby abandoning Councillor Tom Fox to carry the can in public to some considerable degree.
As it currently stands, it appears the position of North Yorkshire Police is that there was a paedophile ring operating relatively openly in Scarborough from about 1955 onwards involving Britains most successful and long running, undetected paedphile (Jaconelli), its most prolific sex offender (Savile) and others. Although most schoolboys in Scarborough knew about Jaconelli, North Yorkshire Police are maintaining they had no idea at all of what was going on.
It is time for Temporary Chief Constable Madgwick to address “the deep rooted public concern” by issuing a full response on the Savile/Jaconelli controversy and to ask for an investigation into these allegations by another Force, instead of leaving Councillor Fox to face the criticism as a proxy.
If any reader has information they wish to pass on to the Metropolitan Police investigation into the activities of Savile and his associates in Scarborough and Whitby, they should contact:
The Operation Yewtree Incident Room, on 0208 217 6446
indicating they are doing so pursuant to the Real Whitby investigation.