Up to 25 young girls were allegedly sexually abused by Sir Jimmy Savile over a period spanning four decades, Scotland Yard has revealed.
The Metropolitan Police force said it received 17 allegations of sexual abuse against Sir Jimmy and 21 allegations against others, after the NSPCC set up a hotline for people who believe they were abused by the TV presenter.
Officers say they now have 120 lines of inquiry from alleged victims, witnesses and third parties.
Among the claims, police say they have recorded two allegations of rape and six allegations of indecent assault. The youngest alleged victim is 13 years old.
Sky News’ crime correspondent Martin Brunt, who attended a briefing by detectives at Scotland Yard, said: “This information relates to a joint assessment between Scotland Yard officers and the NSPCC.
” The NSPCC say they have received about 40 calls so far to their hotline. They wanted it to be made clear that those 21 other allegations about people who are not Jimmy Savile, were not necessarily related or connected to Jimmy Savile in any way.
“I think we now have acceptance by the investigators that the scale of this is truly big and growing. The officer in charge spoke about 13 calls which have come in just today”.
Police were reluctant to confirm whether the new allegations related to people from the entertainment or showbusiness world.
According to Dr Peter Spindler, the commander in charge of the assessment, the new lines of inquiry do not yet constitute a new investigation, though an investigation could lead from the assessment, and not only into Sir Jimmy.
Dr Spindler stressed there was currently no evidence or allegations to suggest there was a ‘sex ring’ operating within the BBC.
He said: “The reality is this really has captured the public’s mind. We are getting calls from victims, from witnesses and third parties who believe they know something about it.
“We have formally recorded eight criminal allegations against Savile. Two of those are rape and six of indecent assault. These are primarily against girls in their mid-teens, so between the ages of 13 and 16, and it spans four decades of abuse.”
Scotland Yard has been in contact with ITV and the BBC to gather information and they are contacting alleged victims to see if they will co-operate.
“We believe there are probably another 20 potential victims,” Mr Spindler added.
“It is too early for us to give you an accurate picture of what these new lines of inquiry will distill down to but we believe we will come up with between 20 to 25 victims.
“The pattern of his offending behaviour does appear to be on a national scale,” he said. Mr Spindler added that police will produce a joint report with the NSPCC to look to see what lessons can be learned and what conclusions can be drawn, which can be shared with other agencies.
NSPCC director Peter Liver told Sky News: “Our primary involvement is to be there for adults who want to report concerns related to Jimmy Savile or any other individual, for that matter.
“We have a 24/7 helpline and we are encouraging adults who want to talk to us about Jimmy Savile to contact us and the trained counsellors are there to take calls.
“In the past five days we have had 40 calls to the helpline, relating to this matter and of those 40 calls, 17 relate specifically to Jimmy Savile and we have passed those calls on to the Metropolitan Police inquiry.
“What matters in terms of closure is that we are there to listen to them and talk to them. But perhaps most importantly – and this is what we know time and time again from victims of sexual abuse – that we actually come out and say to them ‘we believe you’
“That expression of support is very important in terms of closure for these victims. Obviously, Jimmy Savile is no longer here to answer to the abuse so our focus is the victims.”
Scotland Yard refused to be drawn on whether the Metropolitan Police paedophile unit or any other child protection squad had ever investigated Sir Jimmy.