The Savile Puzzle
- – Crime & Parliamentary Affairs correspondent TIM HICKS continues to unravel the Savile puzzle . . .
The reverberations of Dan Davies’ new book: “IN PLAIN SIGHT. The Life and Lies of Jimmy Savile” are continuing. Such is the meticulous nature of his research that it has triggered more lines of enquiry, which in turn has generated new and previously unknown evidence.
Until Davies’ new book, it was believed that Savile’s primary Police contacts were with West Yorkshire Police Officers through his now notorious Friday Morning Club. However, it has now become clear that he cultivated contacts with the Police at every opportunity and had these social contacts in multiple Forces.
So in this article, I will be expanding on what was previously known about Savile’s extensive and wholly inappropriate social contact with the Police.
Savile’s contacts with the Metropolitan Police
In 1964, probably following a search of these premises, an officer with the Metropolitan Police Clubs and Vice Unit recorded this intelligence about a brothel on Battersea Bridge Road:
“BATTERSEA BRIDGE ROAD… – 4 older girls & youth [name redacted] (? Homosexual) live at – Jimmy SAVILLE (sic) well known disc jockey frequents – used by absconders from DUNCROFT APP SCHOOL”
“DUNCROFT APP SCHOOL – Absconders – Vice Ring. [Name] ….living on (sic) immoral earnings of [names of two females identified as DUNCROFT girls].”
It appears that the Metropolitan Police had a record of Savile, connecting him with a location used by criminals to commit sexual offences against vulnerable girls then force them into prostitution. However, nothing was done about Savile. So why was that?
In the 1960’s, corruption was rife in the Metropolitan Police. The worst and most corrupt squad in the Met – and probably in the country – was the Metropolitan Police Clubs & Vice Unit, which took payoffs from pimps, pornographers, and prostitutes.
Officers from the Squad also extorted money from club owners, licensees and proprietors of striptease clubs and could also make evidence disappear – for a price.The Squad was led by Detective Chief Inspector George Fenwick, Head of the Obscene Publications Squad; his direct superior Detective Chief Superintendent Bill Moody and Commander Wallace Virgo, head of the Serious Crime Squad, who was in overall charge of the unit and nine other specialist squads within the Met including the Drugs and Flying Squads. They were all corrupt and were all being paid off. Fenwick for instance would bring pornographers to Holborn Police Station and allow then to select what confiscated pornographic material they wanted for redistribution in their sex-shops and sell it back to them.
Following exposure in the press, there were two major corruption trials. Fenwick, Moody and Virgo were all given between ten and fourteen years in prison.
Commander Kenneth Drury, leader of the Flying Squad was also convicted on five counts of corruption and jailed for eight years, for having taken bribes from the gangster, pornographer and pimp Jimmy Humphreys. Twelve other Officers were also convicted.
Mr Justice Mars Jones commented:
“Thank goodness the Obscene Publications Squad had gone. I fear the damage you have done may be with us for a long time.”
He said the trial had revealed:
“corruption on a scale which beggars description.”
In response to this irrefutable evidence of corruption, Commissioner Sir Robert Mark called in Detectives from the County forces to investigate the Metropolitan Police from top to bottom. It was called Operation Countryman. At first it was housed in London, but following tampering with the evidence it had collected, such was the level of corruption and opposition to the squad in London, that hit had to be moved to Godalming Police Station in Surrey. Over 400 Police Officers lost their jobs during or after the Countryman investigation. Despite Operation Countryman’s recommendation that 300 Officers should face criminal charges, not one was charged.
Returning to Savile, the above intelligence on the brothel on Battersea Bridge Road – which perfectly linked Savile to vulnerable girls that were being abused – was apparently never acted on by the Clubs and Vice Unit, although this was exactly the sort of crime it was supposed to combat.
The Clubs and Vice Squad was also based in the West End of London at West End Central Police Station. Savile will certainly have been known to the Clubs and Vice Squad from his time managing a night club in Ilford. The concern must be that Savile was approached by corrupt Officers from the Clubs and Vice Squad Unit and he bribed them, as he has been alleged to have done in Leeds.
Amongst Savile’s belongings was a Metropolitan Police helmet inscribed inside in ballpoint pen: “To Jimmy Saville from Marylebone Police Station”. We do not know what the background to this gift is, how Savile got it, which Police Officer presented it to him, or the nature of the relationship he had with the Metropolitan Police at Marylebone Police Station.
Scotland Yard received an anonymous letter in 1998 which claimed that Savile was “a deeply committed paedophile, and involved in buggery with young children“. The letter was forwarded by an officer from the Metropolitan Police’s Clubs and Vice unit, who told West Yorkshire police it was “common knowledge within the team in the late 1980s and early 1990s that Savile was a paedophile” again confirming that Savile had had contact with the Clubs and Vice Squad. Despite this, neither the Metropolitan Police Clubs and Vice Unit, or West Yorkshire Police took action.
Royal Protection is the responsibility of the Metropolitan Police. The Diplomatic Protection Group was formed in the 1970s to protect Diplomats, Diplomatic Premises, Royalty and Royal Palaces. It was renamed the Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Group in 1982. With Savile’s access to the Royal Family, it is inconceivable that some form of enquiry would have been made into his background. According to the Daily Mirror, the Queen’s former Press Secretary will reveal in a book how officials became suspicious of Savile’s behaviour, after he rubbed his lips up the arms of female staff when he visited St James’s Palace. Nevertheless, although he was known to the Metropolitan Police Clubs and Vice Squad, he was never exposed.
The existence of a relationship or contact with any unit of the Metropolitan Police does not appear anywhere in any of the thousands of words written about Savile. Nor is there any mention of it in Operation Yewtree, although it appears clear that there was one.
Savile’s contacts with the Leeds City Police
Savile managed the Mecca Locarno night club in Leeds in the 1960’s. According to him he knew the Leeds City Police very well. He boasted that he spent the night with a girl that had run away from a remand home and when he handed her to the female Police Officer that handled runaways the next day, the Police took no action because as he said “were I to go I would probably take half the station with me”.
Savile’s close contact with the Police through his management of the Mecca Lucarno is no doubt the reason why a retired Leeds City Police Officer has stated “there wasn’t a copper in the city who didn’t know Savile was a pervert”. Full story here
Dennis Lemmon, one of the doormen has alleged that Savile bribed Police Officers from the Leeds City Police to stop prosecution for abusing under-age girls at the nightclub.
Savile’s social contacts with West Yorkshire Police
In 1974, the Leeds City Police amalgamated with Bradford City Police and part of the West Riding Police to form West Yorkshire Police. Officers from the former Leeds City Police dominated the new force and Savile’s social contacts with his pals in the former Leeds City Police will have continued. Many of the young coppers that Savile had bribed were now moving up the hierarchy and this further extended his influence over the new West Yorkshire P0lice.
Savile’s West Yorkshire Police Social Club was called The Friday Morning Club. It was hosted at his Roundhay Park penthouse flat and is alleged to have included nine serving and/or retired Police Officers. His ‘insurance’ – as he liked to call it. Only two Police Officers have so far been identified as attending those meetings; retired Inspector Mick Starkey and Sergeant Matt Appleyard. Some of these Officers were on duty and in uniform and travelled there in marked Police cars.
According to the members, they met socially with Savile each week at his Friday Morning Club gatherings at his flat to sit and talk around a table full of tea, cakes and whiskey, although some of these Officers were on duty, in uniform and travelled there in marked Police cars.
When Dan Davies first met Savile It was at Savile’s penthouse flat at Lake View Court, Roundhay Park, Leeds:
“I got out and pressed the intercom button marked “Penthouse” and after a short pause, a voice: “Morning.” The sound of the Yorkshire Dalek was unmistakable.The door buzzed, I pushed against it and took a seat in a small lobby that smelled of potpourri. Two or three minutes later, I heard voices coming from the lift shaft. The wooden doors slid open, releasing a cloud of smoke and two large, unsmiling men in their 50s. “Frisk him,” barked Jimmy Savile, who had stepped out of the lift behind them and was wearing a blue shell suit with chevrons of red and white on the shoulders. I was pinned to the wall and searched before Savile finally called the men off. He chuckled and extended his hand, introducing them as Mick Starkey, a West Yorkshire Police Inspector, and Jim “The Pill” Cardus, a retired pharmacist. “Meet the Friday Morning Club,” Savile trumpeted before ushering the men out of the front door to the flats.”
This is quite an illuminating meeting. A serving police officer was conducting security duties on behalf of Savile and conducted an unlawful search on a member of the public in a public place. A very serious breach of Police discipline.
Savile boasted of his contacts with the Police and the power it gave him. He would talk of his “hotline” to Officers. “He used to take great delight in telling people that if he had any problems, his friends at Millgarth [LeedsPolice Headquarters] would sort it out. ‘If I think I’ve got a problem, all I’ve got to do is make a phone call.” This was no idle boast.
The impact of Savile’s Yorkshire Police contacts on the Surrey Police investigation
When Surrey Police Detectives contacted Savile, a serving Police Officer from West Yorkshire Police who was a member of the Friday Morning Club contacted them on Savile’s behalf, to make arrangements for the meeting, even though Savile was a suspected sex offender. This allowed him to dictate the terms of the interrogation. Consequently, when Surrey Police went on to interview Savile under caution, Savile was able to defeat them. During the interview under caution, he confirmed that he could have letters forensically examined at the West Yorkshire Police Forensic Science Laboratories at Wetherby. We know that some of the members of his Friday Morning Club were from the Wetherby Neighbourhood Policing Team.
Surrey Police were able to arrest and successfully prosecute the pop star Jonathan King, an equally high profile celebrity, who was also a confident, intelligent and articulate performer. Yet it failed miserably with Savile. Why was this? In my view this is down to three factors:
- Analysis of the interview transcript notes (which are redacted in parts) shows that Savile adopted a very structured and effective counter interrogation strategy to defeat the investigation. Savile’s response falls during the interview essentially falls into six distinct and carefully prepared phases. He stonewalled the Surrey detectives very effectively, admitted to nothing, did not provide the investigating officer with any extra evidence or lines of enquiry. He gave nothing away at all. It was a very professional performance. In addition, he skilfully used the interview to pour scorn on the allegations, provided specific reasons and examples why he contended the allegations could not be true and were part of a blackmail plot. This perfectly undermined the evidence of the witnesses. He mentioned that he was closely connected to West Yorkshire Police which will have made Surrey Police very wary of getting involved in criticism of another police force and then finally, he intimidated the police officers with threats of legal action and mention of his Royal connections. It appears to me that he was coached by someone with experience of police interrogation techniques. Full analysis here.
- The intelligence available to North Yorkshire Police about Savile’s offending on his own and with Peter Jaconelli (see below) was not passed on to the Surrey Police investigation. Had it been, there is no doubt he would have been arrested and convicted.
- West Yorkshire Police did not forward intelligence on Savile it had received from the Metropolitan Police to the Surrey Police investigation, because it claims it had failed to properly record an anonymous letter that made allegations of sexual abuse against Savile, which was forwarded to it in 1998. This letter claimed that Savile was “a deeply committed paedophile, and involved in buggery with young children“. The letter was forwarded by an officer from the Metropolitan Police’s Clubs and Vice unit, who told West Yorkshire police it was “common knowledge within the team in the late 1980s and early 1990s that Savile was a paedophile“. It appears to me that intelligence was deleted from West Yorkshire Police intelligence systems. Full analysis here and here.
The Friday Morning Club has been investigated by Assistant Chief Constable Ingrid Lee of West Yorkshire Police in its Operation Newgreen. Widely ridiculed as a whitewash, the investigation resulted in West Yorkshire Police exonerating itself from any responsibility for not arresting Savile. The investigation revealed that eight of its officers attended the Friday Morning Clubs, but had “reviewed all contact relating to Jimmy Savile, and there is no evidence to suggest any wrong-doing.”
North Yorkshire Police will not reveal the names and ranks of all the Police Officers that participated in these regular meetings with Savile.
Leading child abuse law specialist, Alan Collins of Pannone Solicitors in London who represents more than 40 of Savile’s victims has been quoted as saying that the Operation Newgreen Report “is a pathetic document. Absolute rubbish – and hasn’t addressed police officers being influenced by Savile. Their relationship coloured their judgement. There WAS intelligence, but that intelligence wasn’t shared or used, so Savile was able to run rings around police forces. There’s collective myopia.” Mr Collins summed up the feelings of many, if not the whole country, by concluding: “The more you scrutinise the document the more the inadequacies come out.”
Interestingly, the original estimate of how many Police Officers attended the Friday Morning Club has been reduced from nine to eight. The identity of the ninth man has been a source of great interest to the NYE Team, but we have as yet been unable to tie it down. It is thought to be a Police Officer from another Force. Both the British Transport Police and North Yorkshire Police have denied any members of their Force were members of the Friday Morning Club. So which Police Force is this ninth Police Officer from?
Savile’s social contacts with North Yorkshire Police
Savile’s method of operation in North Yorkshire was very different to his modus operandi in other force areas. He was closely associated with the leading and influential Conservative politician Peter Jaconelli, who was a Scarborough Borough Councillor, North Yorkshire County Councillor, Mayor of Scarborough and leader of a major paedophile vice ring, which operated in Scarborough and Whitby with the full knowledge of North Yorkshire Police. This ring abused children and enticed them into prostitution, without any action being taken by North Yorkshire Police, although it was common knowledge in Scarborough and he was known to the Police. It has also been alleged that Jaconelli committed multiple offences of rape.
It appears that Savile took advantage of Jaconelli’s extensive contacts with the Police arising a result of his Mayoral duties. As a result, the Police left Savile alone because they left Jaconelli alone, and Savile was closely associated with Jaconelli. Hence, Savile and Jaconelli were able to cruise over to Whitby in Savile’s pink Rolls Royce, pick up youngsters of both sexes from the Wimpy Bar in front of Whitby Police Station, then take them away to be abused and paid off.
We know that Savile was known to Chief Inspector Fox who commanded policing in Whitby and then Scarborough. He was also known to Chief Constable Grahame Maxwell who shared a platform with him at an event for young people in Selby, organised by officers from Selby Police Station, even though North Yorkshire Police had been informed that Savile was the subject of a major paedophile investigation. He also put a Police car at Savile’s disposal.
When Surrey Police requested intelligence from North Yorkshire Police, they responded that they had nothing on him, although it has been alleged that Savile and Jaconelli were known to North Yorkshire Police and had featured in a major 2003 paedophile investigation. When the Savile scandal broke, North Yorkshire Police initially denied Savile had anything to do with North Yorkshire, the implication being that North Yorkshire was a ‘Savile Free Zone’. However following investigation by the NYE team, North Yorkshire Police were directed to conduct an investigation by the IPCC. This investigation was conducted by Assistant Chief Constable Sue Cross and was another whitewash, concluding that North Yorkshrie Police had no knowledge of Savile or Jaconelli. Full report here.
Once more, following comment by the NYE Team and the BBC Inside Out Documentary that exposed Jaconelli, North Yorkshire Police finally admitted that they did in fact have intelligence on Savile and Jaconelli at the time, which was not passed on to Surrey Police and was forced to voluntarily refer itself to the IPCC. It then re-opened its investigation into the contact Savile and Jaconeli had with North Yorkshire Police. This investigation, the fourth North Yorkshire Police has conducted into Savile has produced so much information that it has been going on for four months and has yet to report.
Savile’s Manchester City Police Social Club
According to Dan Davies, quoting a Police witness, a small group of Police Officers from Manchester City Police paid regular social visits to Savile’s flat, three or four at a time in the 1960’s. At this time, Savile was managing the Plaza night club in the centre of Manchester, with access to young and impressionable girls. The Police witness confirms that an Officer from the Manchester City Police Drugs Squad would bring cannabis and smoke it with Savile in his flat while other officers had sex with girls provided by Savile.
It has also been alleged that Savile had links to serious organised crime figures in Manchester, including the notorious ‘Quality Street’ gang, which was active in Manchester. This would have made Savile very attractive to the Police as an informant. Could this be the cause of the close relationship he is alleged to have had with Inspector Lewis Harper of Manchester City Police? Initially, Harper was Head of the Vice Squad, then Superintendent commanding Manchester City Centre. It has been alleged that when Harper died, he left more in his will than he could have earned in his entire employment by the police.
Savile’s contacts with Greater Manchester Police
In 1968 Manchester City Police merged with Salford City Police to form Manchester and Salford Police, subsequently Manchester and Salford Police merged with parts of the Lancashire and Cheshire Constabularies to form Greater Manchester Police in April 1974. The first Chief Constable of the service was William James Richards, who was also the last chief constable of the Manchester City Police (1966-68), the only Chief Constable of Manchester and Salford (1968-1974), the first Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and an associate of Savile.
He is pictured at what may have been a Police social event for children, with Savile wearing a Police helmet, presumably presented to him by his pals in the GMP, some of whom may have been participants in his Manchester City Police Friday Morning Club, where they had girls provided by Savile and smoked cannabis with him.
Again, there is no information on any of Savile’s contacts with the GMP from any police investigation, although it now appears that they were extensive and criminal. Predictably Greater Manchester Police confirmed in a FOI request that no allegations were made about Jimmy Savile prior to his exposure in an ITV documentary. It appears that the GMP was another Savile Free Zone. One cannot help but speculate how many of the young coppers from the Manchester City Police that frequented social gatherings in Savile’s flat had progressed in their careers to be middle ranking or senior officers in the GMP? Could this explain why he was never picked up, although the GMP has subsequently confirmed he was committing sexual offences during his time in Manchester.
Cyril Smith’s contacts with Lancashire Police and then Greater Manchester Police
The investigation by Lancashire Police into Cyril Smith was plagued by political interference from the start. It was conducted by Lancashire Police Special Branch, not Lancashire Police CID. Smith was protected by the Liberal Party, the Chief Constable of Lancashire Constabulary
William Palfrey and MI5. Smith was an associate of Savile, they knew each other and Savile allowed Smith national publicity by letting him appear on his television programmes, as he did for Jaconelli. Savile also had extensive contacts with former Leeds City Police Officers who may have risen to senior positions within the GMP. Is it possible that Savile also used his influence with the GMP to help protect Smith? We will never know. Full details here, here and an excellent Channel 4 investigation here.
Eventually officers from the Metropolitan Police Special Branch seized the files relating to the Lancashire Police investigation.
Rochdale and Bury were two of the areas of Lancashire that moved to the GMP from Lancashire Police in 1974, resulting in the investigation into Sir Cyril Smith moving from Lancashire Constabulary to the GMP in 1974. In 1984, files passed to the Bury Messenger newspaper about Smith by the veteran Labour MP Barbara Castle were again seized by officers from the Metropolitan Police Special Branch, who threatened to arrest the editor if he published anything, in order to protect Smith. Full story here.
So why should the Metropolitan Police have any interest in investigations by Lancashire Police and then in a small provincial newspaper in Greater Manchester Police’s operational area ten years later?
Jimmy Savile, Cyril Smith, the GMP and MI5
Well at the time, Special Branch was organised into (1) a Ports Branch and (2) an Operations Branch, staffed by Special Branch Officers recruited from officers from each force area nominally under the control of the Chief Constable, but operating autonomously under the control of the Special Branch Headquarters in London. MI5 does not have powers of arrest or to execute a search warrant, so the Operations Branch of Special Branch as well as developing intelligence and conducting its own investigations, acted as the executive arm of MI5, making the arrests and conducting searches as directed by MI5. Although MI5 obtained primacy in anti-terrorist operations in 1972, this mainly concerned Irish terrorism, which absorbed a small part of its resources. These were the days of the Cold War and MI5 was still orientated towards counter espionage with its operations centred in London. Hence, most of its Special Branch operational requirements for arrests and searches were provided by Metropolitan Police Special Branch Officers.
Although the documents were seized by Metropolitan Police Special Branch Officers, operating in Bury – which is out of the Metropolitan Police area – this was obviously on the orders of MI5 and would have been cleared with the Chief Constable of the GMP beforehand. Although the official statement by the GMP on Cyril Smith here, makes no mention of MI5 or Special Branch involvement, or the personal intervention of the Chief Constable.
Both Smith and Savile would have been the subject of some form of vetting when they were knighted. Savile was under suspicion at St James’s Palace and would surely have been vetted because of his Royal connections by the Metropolitan Police Royalty and Diplomatic Protection Group. Savile’s close connections and direct access to senior politicians would have made him a person of interest to MI5. It is inconceivable that MI5 would not have vetted him. Yet again, no information was released by MI5, or anyone else in our Security and Protection community.
Yet the protection of Smith and probably Savile by MI5 has dropped into the Operation Yewtree black hole. When a journalist got close to Smith he was threatened with arrest by the Metropolitan Police on the orders of MI5. This policy of using police powers to supress evidence of abuse by high profile figures still continues to this day. When the North Yorkshire Enquirer started to probe Savile and Jaconelli’s links with North Yorkshire Police and the relationship between Councillor Jane Kenyon and North Yorkshire Police, one of our journalists was also threatened with arrest.
The Labour MP Simon Danczuk has alleged that Smith was protected because he was a member of a powerful paedophile network based in Westminster. Certainly the orders by MI5 to (1) seize the files, (2) serve a D Notice on a journalist to prevent him from revealing serious crime by a senior politician, (3) threaten to arrest the journalist and then (4) the decision to continually supress the evidence for thirty years, could only have come from the top. For the period in question, the Director Generals of MI5 were:
- Sir Martin Furnival Jones (7th DG 1965–71)
- Sir Michael Hanley (8th DG 1971–78)
- Sir Howard Smith (9th DG 1978–81)
- Sir John Jones (10th DG 1981–85)
- Sir Antony Duff (11th DG 1985–87)
- Sir Patrick Walker (12th DG 1987–92)
- Dame Stella Rimington (13th DG 1992–96)
- Sir Stephen Lander (14th DG 1996–2002)
- Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, Baroness Manningham-Buller (15th DG 2002–07)
- Sir Jonathan Evans (16th DG, 2007-13)
Yet no Director General of MI5 has ever been criticised or had to account for the illegal actions of the Security Service. Likewise, it is clear that Savile and Jaconelli had extensive and unhealthy/criminal social contacts with the Police over the course of their lives. Yet despite separate investigations by multiple Police Forces, which were supposed to be impartial and all encompassing, overseen and controlled by Metropolitan Police Officers from Operation Yewtree, only Savile’s inappropriate contacts with West Yorkshire Police have ever been revealed – and then only because of press investigation.
According to Solicitor Alan Collins, quoted by the BBC: There “should be one inquiry, chaired by a high court judge. I fear if this does not happen, an opportunity will have been lost, not only for the victims but for the country as a whole. The risk (of not having one inquiry) is justice may be incomplete. ”
We will never get to the bottom of the reasons for the failure to arrest Savile, Jaconelli and Smith unless there is an independent impartial investigation, conducted by a body other than the Police.