Jimmy Savile’s victims are launching compensation claims for millions of pounds, it emerged last night.
They are to sue the BBC, NHS and the education authorities for failing to prevent the sexual predator and accomplices carrying out attacks over decades. The numbers coming forward have risen in recent days as victims become more confident about taking legal action after Scotland Yard branded Savile one of Britain’s worst sex offenders. Twelve claims for damages are being considered so far.
It also emerged last night that the BBC ‘censored’ a series of emails that indicated senior executives were involved in the decision to axe a Newsnight investigation into Savile.
The emails were due to be included in last night’s Panorama programme but were pulled at the insistence of corporation lawyers. Today the spotlight will shift to BBC director-general George Entwistle as he gives evidence to MPs on the Culture Select Committee about what he knew of the Savile scandal.
He has insisted that he has nothing to hide despite facing persistent criticism for failing to get a grip on the crisis that has engulfed the corporation. Last year, then in charge of TV for the BBC, he went ahead with Christmas tributes to Savile – even as his colleagues gathered evidence that he abused children on BBC premises.
MPs want to know why he didn’t show more curiosity when Director of News Helen Boaden told him that the Christmas schedules may have to be rearranged if the planned Newsnight report on Savile’s abuse went ahead. Last night Tory peer and former Culture Secretary David Mellor said there ‘blood lust’ in the BBC and suggested Mr Entwistle could even lose his job.
‘It was always said about the BBC: “Assistant heads must roll whenever there’s a problem”. I think it’ll go beyond that – and that’s not me wanting that, it’s just me feeling it,’ he said.
Yesterday, in another dramatic day as the corporation grappled with what its own staff have branded its ‘worst crisis in 50 years’: