Jimmy Savile and the NHS
- Our Parliamentary Affairs & Crime Correspondent TIM HICKS writes with a deeply disturbing insight into the NHS investigations at Rampton Secure Psychiatric Hospital and the Leeds General Infirmary.
Jimmy Savile and the NHS
Regular readers of Real Whitby will know that we have been covering the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal in Scarborough. Prior to the Real Whitby investigation, Scarborough and Rampton were not mentioned in the press or any of the various investigations that are running into Savile in the UK.
By patiently investigating every lead over the last six months, Real Whitby has developed a fuller picture of the extensive offending by Savile and his associates in Scarborough, attracting national press comment.
Background for new readers
Those who have been following the Real Whitby investigation into Jimmy Savile in Scarborough should move to the next section [“The Response of the Authorities”]
It is alleged that Savile offended in Scarborough in joint enterprise with the former Mayor Councillor Peter Jaconelli (Deceased), Mr Jimmy Corrigan (Deceased) who ran the arcades in Scarborough and others. Because of Jaconelli’s status as a senior Conservative politician, prominent businessman and Mayor, it has been alleged that North Yorkshire Police left him and his entourage alone, even though it was aware of his offending. Effectively they had immunity from prosecution, giving them a benevolent environment in which to offend and operate, and that in return, Savile rewarded Jaconelli and Corrigan with publicity, appearances on Television and visits to television studios.
Had North Yorkshire Police arrested Jaconelli, (Britain’s most successful paedophile who operated untouched for all of his life and was made an Alderman for his troubles) it would surely have led them to Savile, (Britain’s most prolific paedophile and rapist), both of whom operated with impunity in Scarborough.
When asked for intelligence on Savile by Surrey Police in 2007, North Yorkshire Police Force Intelligence Bureau replied that it had none, although according to newspaper reports Savile, Jaconelli and Corrigan had in fact featured in a 2003 paedophile investigation conducted by North Yorkshire Police. As a result, Surrey Police did not have the intelligence from North Yorkshire to justify arresting Savile and the best opportunity of bringing him to justice was lost.
The Force Intelligence Bureau should have disclosed all it knew about the paedophile-ring operating in Scarborough to the Surrey investigation. However, this would of course have revealed that North Yorkshire Police had turned a blind eye to the activities of Jaconelli’s paedophile-ring in Scarborough for about forty years. Obviously a shameful admission to make to another force.
As a result of the Real Whitby investigation, we now know that:
- Savile and Corrigan went to a scout camp near Doncaster for a sleep-over in a mobile-home.
- In 1966, Savile opened the Otley Town Fête in Leeds and that (incredibly) Otley Town Council provided Savile with six girls to act as ‘bodyguards’ who spent the night with Savile and Corrigan in a tent. It is alleged they both spent the night having group sex with them.
- Savile took hospital patients on day trips to Scarborough from Rampton High Secure Psychiatric Hospital to Scarborough to meet Jaconelli and Corrigan.
- Jaconelli was a school governor and was alleged to have committed offences at the school where he probably introduced Savile to some of the pupils.
- Savile visited patients at Rampton on “at least” three occasions.
The response of the authorities
All of the considerable information that Real Whitby has amassed has been made available to the various organisations that are involved in the investigation. We have cooperated fully with them all and one would think that they would be grateful for our assistance and the information that Real Whitby has amassed and passed on to them.
Consequently, the response of some of the organisations that are responsible for conducting investigations into this matter (which one would hope were fully and impartially committed to getting to the truth and bringing anyone guilty of any offence to book) has been somewhat surprising to say the least:
Rampton Secure Psychiatric Hospital Nottinghamshire: Following correspondence from me raising questions about the Hospital’s report (below) into Savile, the Head of Communications (whilst answering all of my enquiries) wrote asking to conclude our correspondence because Nottinghamshire Healthcare had no more to add.
Metropolitan Police Operation Yewtree: As soon as the investigation of offences in Scarbough was passed to North Yorkshire Police, including the allegations of corruption by that force, Operation Yewtree broke off all contact and said it would pass on any e mails to North Yorkshire Police without any further comment. When I contacted them about the possibility of offences being committed at Rampton Secure Psychiatric Hospital and asking that my information was forwarded to Nottinghamshire Police, they too did not respond.
Nottingham Police: Nottingham Police have not responded to the information provided to Operation Yewtree. To be fair, this may be because the information has not been passed on to it by Operation Yewtree or by Rampton Secure Psychiatric Hospital.
North Yorkshire Police: Following a request from Real Whitby, the IPCC has directed North Yorkshire Police to consider if there were any conduct matters that should be referred to it. Full story here. This and the criticism directed at it over its failure to intervene and protect local children from Jaconelli by Real Whitby and others may not have gone down all that well in Newby Wiske Hall. This may explain why neither Real Whitby or Trevor Harrington have had any comment from North Yorkshire Police, which is now responsible for investigating the allegations of corruption within its ranks, raised by Real Whitby and others.
Scarborough Borough Council (SBC): SBC has ignored correspondence on Peter Jaconelli and refused to respond to Mr Trevor Harrington’s complaint about Peter Jaconelli asking for him to be stripped of his status of honorary Alderman. It is always frustrating when as a journalist you can’t get a comment or a reaction, but we did at least get one from Scarborough Borough Council. Borough Solicitor Ms Lisa Dixon tried to close down Real Whitby with threats of legal action.
Pardon my cynicism, but methinks I hear the sounds of umbrella’s going up and ranks closing. Do you think this universally negative and somewhat icy response could indicate that by raising issues concerning Savile and Jaconelli’s offending, the Real Whitby investigation has revealed failings that many people would prefer had been left buried and forgotten?
The Leeds General Infirmary NHS investigation
A joint police and NSPCC report has confirmed that Savile worked as a hospital porter at the Leeds General Infirmary for 30 years and there have been sixteen reported cases of sexual offences there.
According to the Yorkshire Post (full report can be seen here), Solicitor Liz Dux, of Slater & Gordon is representing two clients who have told investigators that after they were assaulted at Leeds General Infirmary they informed nursing staff but nothing was done. In some cases hospital staff actually witnessed Savile committing offences, yet took no action, she added. “The evidence against the NHS is just as bad, if not worse (than the BBC),” . . . “We know that in both these hospitals (Leeds and Stoke Mandeville) that staff were told.”
Although Ms Dux said there was “no direct evidence” about whether Savile had been “helped” in his offending, the inference at Leeds is there had been some complicity. “I can’t believe, knowing that there had been reports at Leeds and Stoke Mandeville (about Savile’s behaviour) that it wasn’t known about, because it was, I know it. It was reported to members of staff.”
A leading member of the LGI Investigation Team is former Detective Superintendent Ray Galloway (Retired), the former Head of the North Yorkshire Police Force Intelligence Bureau. (Yes that’s right, the same unit of North Yorkshire Police that apparently did not respond fully to the inquiry from Surrey Police in 2007, which ensured that Savile again escaped prosecution).
Mr Galloway has confirmed that he was never involved in any investigation into Jimmy Savile and was not the Director of Force Intelligence at the time the enquiry from Surrey Police was received.
However, (as with Councillor Tom Fox), he has refused to confirm what – if anything – he knew about Peter Jaconelli; or the 2003 investigation mentioned above, in which it is alleged that witnesses were questioned about Corrigan, Jaconelli and Savile. One cannot help but wonder why neither he nor North Yorkshire Police will not comment at all on this, when a simple denial would resolve the issue.
It has been alleged that patients from other hospitals were also taken to Scarborough. The LGI has confirmed it is satisfied that no patients from the LGI visited Scarborough with Jimmy Savile and has issued a statement that it is confident that the integrity of its investigation has not been compromised and that it also had nothing further to add. Despite these assurances, I nevertheless have grave concerns about the conduct of the investigation.
This is a criminal investigation in which there have been public allegations of corruption amongst the hospital staff. Under these circumstances it is obviously essential that the investigation is conducted in as independent and open a manner as possible, so public confidence in its independence and integrity, and the hospital itself is maintained. This must surely be a prime concern for the Hospital Board. Therefore having a senior experienced retired police officer on the investigation team who is independent and has been recruited from outside the hospital is obviously a critical appointment, which gives the investigation credibility.
Obviously the credibility of the investigation would be better maintained if the Police officer conducting the investigation was not a former member of a force that has had serious allegations of corruption repeatedly leveled at it in respect of the case he is investigating and had subsequently commanded the unit responsible for allowing Savile to evade arrest. One would also expect he would be completely open in his responses to public concerns, instead of maintaining his right to silence about what –if anything- he knew about Jaconelli and Corrigan, which I consider is completely unacceptable and ignores his public duty and obligation to behave openly and submit himself to scrutiny as part of the role he has voluntarily accepted.
Detective Superintendent Galloway should either clear the air and respond fully to the enquiries put to him, or stand down in the public interest.
The Rampton Secure Psychiatric Hospital NHS investigation
Initially Rampton stated that Savile had visited Rampton once or twice in the 1970’s. Following the Real Whitby investigation it initiated an investigation, which had to retract this statement.
The report of the investigation is reproduced in full below, ignoring the terms of reference; it consists of just thirteen short sentences. The names of those who wrote it have been withheld at their request:
Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust
Summary Report – JS Investigation – May 2013
In response to a Freedom of Information Act Requests submitted by The Sunday Express and Tim Hicks and subsequent photographic material relating to a day trip to Scarborough obtained from a former staff member by staff / patients from Rampton Hospital and JS, Dr XXXX (Name redacted), Executive Director Forensic Services / Chief Officer for High Secure Care instigated an investigation. The purpose of this investigation was to:-
- To confirm day trip to Scarborough (circa early 1970s)
- To identify the exact date of trip to Scarborough (circa early 1970s)
- To obtain any information relating to the trip
- To review documentation relating to Rampton Hospital held locally and at the Nottinghamshire County Archives for the period 1969 to 1973
- To identify staff and patients on the photograph
- To review the records of any patients identified in the photograph for the period 1969 to 1973
- To speak to retired members of staff who would have worked at Rampton Hospital in the late 1960s and 1970s
Dr XXXX (Name redacted) Lead for Research (Forensic Division), XXXX (Name redacted), Support Manager: Performance and Contracting (Forensic Division) and XXXX (Name redacted), Senior Clinical Security Manager (Forensic Division) were asked to undertake this investigation.
The review of documentation confirmed that following a suggestion made by a Charge Nurse to JS a group of 10 patients from Concord Ward and staff boarded a coach with JS on 2nd August 1971 at 8.15 am heading for Scarborough. During the excursion, patients visited an ice cream parlour, went on a boat trip, had tea with the Lord Mayor, met some Scarborough officials and The ‘Duchess’ (Mrs. Agnes Savile). A group photograph was taken in the grounds of the Town Hall. The documentation reviewed stated no incidents were reported and all patients behaved impeccably.
All the staff in the photograph have been identified. 8 patients have been identified and records for these patients have been reviewed. The faces of the 2 remaining patients are hidden and cannot be identified.
During the review of the documentation it became apparent there had been a second trip to Scarborough on 21st September 1972. 12 patients, 9 staff and JS boarded a special train from Retford Station to Scarborough, which was met by British Rail Officials. During this trip, patients visited the amusements, the zoo and met The ‘Duchess’ again.
Two retired members of staff have confirmed that JS did enter the secure area at least on 3 occasions and gave assurance that JS was escorted by staff at all times, had no keys and was not left alone with any patients. They re-iterated that during these visits JS was treated like any other professional (as opposed to patient’s family) visitor attending the hospital.
Staff and patients from Rampton Hospital attended two day excursions to Scarborough with JS on 3rd August 1971 and 21st September 1972.
Although the evidence is clear that JS had contact with some patients at Rampton Hospital, no evidence has been found in any documentation reviewed or during discussions with retired staff that anything untoward took place involving patients.
Prepared by: XXXX (Name redacted)
Job Title: Support Manager: Performance & Contracting (Forensic Division)
Date: 23rd May 2013”
A prime concern of the Real Whitby investigation is that Savile took patients to meet Peter Jaconelli and Jimmy Corrigan, who are alleged to have been operating together with Savile as sexual offenders. Yet nowhere in the report is there any mention of these two men on the basis that they were not the subject of the Rampton internal investigation “which found no evidence that anything untoward happened with our patients. This is a matter for Operation Yewtree, not for Nottinghamshire Healthcare. The remit of our investigation was Jimmy Savile’s contact with Rampton Hospital, not his wider contacts or colleagues. Whilst we do not underestimate the seriousness of the allegations being made against Savile, it is not within our remit to investigate those.”
I have other reservations about the Rampton investigation
- It is not an independent criminal investigation. The authors of the report have declined to provide details of their experience, so it is impossible to determine if it is strong enough to conduct an investigation of this nature. In comparison, the LGI investigation ensured it had the necessary experience by asking a retired senior detective to participate in the investigation.
- Rampton has confirmed separately that Jimmy Savile had his notorious camper van -which he routinely used to commit sexual offences- parked in the grounds of Rampton on a number of occasions and that he was visited there regularly each night by females. Rampton has asserted that no patients were involved solely on the basis that . “We are confident that no patients visited the mobile home.” “Patients would not be allowed to leave the Hospital unescorted”. This ignores the fact that Savile’s camper van was parked within the grounds of the hospital with no requirement for escort, because patients were not leaving the grounds of the hospital. Savile was adept at ensuring the normal rules of conduct did not apply to him at Broadmoor and everywhere else, and could have done the same at Rampton.
- It remains unclear who these visitors to the camper van were. “We cannot confirm that any visitors were not under age – we do not have any evidence to suggest who they were or what age they were.” The possibility of sexual offences being committed at Rampton against persons who were not patients in the camper van has been completely excluded from the report and has not been investigated at all.
The Sunday People article states that the party visited Jaconelli`s ice cream parlours (which were scenes of multiple incidents of abuse by Jaconelli), that he was present and that members of the public were excluded. This contemporary evidence has been ignored on the basis that “We have no evidence to support this – this all happened a long time ago and staff have no recollection of who owned the ice cream parlour.”
The evidence in the Sunday People article is explicit that the amusements visited were amusement arcades belonging to Jimmy Corrigan he gave the patients bags of coins to gamble with on his slot machines. Yet this has been excluded on the basis that “The fact that the Sunday People states this does not make it true. We have uncovered no evidence relating to this. The Sunday People is not a source of reliable evidence. This Report is about Jimmy Savile not Jimmy Corrigan. Documentation states: ”Next a trip to the amusements where by arrangement between the owner Mr Jim Corrigan and James a sum of money was found for the lads to use on the machines.”
The Sunday People article was published nationally, no one from Rampton denied any of its content at the time and no evidence has emerged of any inaccuracy which damages its credibility. However, it appears that whenever the evidence from the Sunday People contradicted the preferred view of the staff at Rampton, the contemporaneous evidence it contained was simply ignored.
It must surely be unacceptable and a cause of concern that vulnerable mental patients received money from a stranger and were encouraged to gamble on slot machines, amounting in my view to an act of misconduct by the staff concerned for permitting it at the time. Yet this is not mentioned anywhere in the report. Although the staff could not have known the stranger concerned (Jimmy Corrigan) is alleged to have been a sexual offender, giving the patients money may have been intended to provide a feeling of obligation towards him and to Savile on the part of the patients, to groom them for abuse later on.
- There are twenty-nine people in the photograph including Savile, Mrs Agnes Savile and Peter Jaconelli. A number of the people in the photograph have not been identified. Rampton will not provide a copy of the photograph with the patients and members of staff faces blacked out so the remaining witnesses can be identified and interviewed “for confidentiality reasons – if blacked out it adds nothing to your information. Also the photo is not our property but borrowed.”
- In response to the question Did any patients or staff visit Savile’s caravan or flat at Scarborough Rampton responded “Not patients, unsure about others” although no patient has been interviewed.
- In the Sunday People article Savile states that patients stroked his face (inappropriate touching) and that he loved them. No potential victims have been interviewed during this investigation because they were patients at Rampton at the time. The patients have been completely ignored, as they were at Broadmoor while Savile was offending there. Only the views of the staff that were present at the time or conducted the investigation are reflected in the report, on the basis that “As no concerns raised at the time this was not felt necessary.”
- Although Operation Yewtree has been informed of the report, no criminal investigation of any sort has been conducted by anyone into what was going on at Rampton.
The Rampton investigation is the only investigation into Savile where potential victims have been deliberately excluded as an act of policy. I have never heard of any criminal investigation conducted on this basis. Contrast this with the current Broadmoor investigation by Doctor Bill Kirkup, which is doing everything possible to interview as many former patients as possible.
Clearly, no member of staff is going to admit that abuse took place while he/she was supposed to be there safeguarding patients, or to denounce Jimmy Savile for inappropriate touching. So it is obviously essential that patients are interviewed to ascertain what – if anything – happened, as shown by Dr Kirkup’s investigation at Broadmoor.
In my view, the credibility of the Rampton investigation stands completely destroyed. The conclusion is inescapable that Jimmy Savile, Peter Jaconelli and Jimmy Corrigan’s connections to Rampton have not been fully or properly investigated by anyone and have been perfectly swept under the carpet without an adequate investigation. The Hospital Board at Rampton should set aside this report and request a full criminal investigation by Nottinghamshire Police in the normal way to get to the bottom of these allegations.