Like many children in the 70’s and 80’s I wrote several nice letters to Jimmy Savile hoping that he would fix it for me to do many exciting things from Riding in James Hunts Formula 1 car, to asking if I could fly in an airplane and one even simply asking if I could sit in his chair. On each occasion I got a very nice letter back saying that he would look into it and if I was selected the BBC would be in touch but of course like millions of other kids that letter never came. I would sit glued to the TV every Saturday night seeing a selected few have their dreams come true and watch enviously as the Jim’ll fix it badge was presented around their necks and wishing so much that it had of been me that was selected instead. To me and many others he was a TV hero, making dreams come true while working tirelessly for charities making millions along the way and changing peoples lives for the better. MBE’s and a knighthood followed and like me everyone in the country took him to our hearts. We watched as he would struggle home in marathons and admired his determination to keep the shell suit at the forefront of cutting edge fashion. Sir Jim as he was now known had become a national treasure and even his obvious eccentricity only added to the mystery to the man who it would seem could do no wrong. Until that is, he died.
Seemingly even before his body was laid to rest we had his hidden daughter crawl out of the woodwork announcing to the world that she was his love child. This woman is in the unfortunate position of looking just like him but had seemingly managed to escape the public gaze until he died. Even more unfortunate was the fact that DNA results proved that she wasn’t related and that it was just a massive twist of unlucky fate she happened to look just like him. Even though she is now demanding fresh DNA tests, now might not be the time to be very publicly outed as a relative. Then just as a small number of people start to appear alleging that they had been abused by him, BBC staff and presenters who either knew of this or had suspicions about him decide to have their say for the first time.The one that baffles me the most is Esther Rantzen. During the same period of time that Saville was alleged to have been molesting everyone who was young and unattended,she was a prominent figure at the BBC, presenting news and current affairs and acting as a kind of peoples champion ensuring rights for consumers; A kind of Ann Robinson of her day.She never particularly struck me as either a shrinking violet or a woman without influence or power, but she now claims that despite it being a fairly open secret or at least a case of strong rumours, she did nothing to bring it to anyone’s attention. You would think that someone who was a founder of Child line and has since stood as a candidate for parliament and who claims she had evidence of child molesting would have called the police.Surely by not doing this she effectively perverted the course of justice and prevented closure for the victims.
She’s not alone in this though as others are now very happy to go in front of camera and say what they witnessed which in some cases doesn’t seem to amount to anymore than simply just putting two and two together as is the case with one of his ex top of the pops presenters who told the BBC news that he saw two girls in his trailer once and that now in hindsight this didn’t seem right.The police did investigate him in 2007 following allegations of sexual abuse but the crown prosecution service decided there was insufficient evidence against him and no charges were brought. This time though, post death, things are a bit different as the police have said that ‘the facts speak for themselves’. This in itself it an outrageous comment because surely these are allegations and not facts. Think about it:you walk out of the apple store and you get stopped by the security guard who accuses you of stealing an iPhone, you deny it and the police are called when upon searching you they find your iPhone that you got elsewhere perfectly legitimately. The policeman looks at the security guard and says ‘the facts speak for themselves’ and you get arrested. This obviously wouldn’t happen because you would get a defence together and as there is no proof you will be acquitted,but the law doesn’t apply when your dead. Your name can be dragged through the mud legitimately, you could be libelled and as in this case in order to save a proper investigation,you could just be assumed to be guilty.
In our modern world things spiral out of control quickly especially as the word compensation is mentioned in a case where the police have already said the facts speak for themselves and then you have to question the motives of the people who have waited 40 years to have their say. As much as interfering with children is abhorrent so is the lie that you have been a victim and for those that will argue that nobody will claim things like this to be true when they arn’t let me draw your attention to two news stories in the last week. Number one involves a woman -who cannot be named- who finally admitted in court that rape allegations against two men -who were publicly named- were indeed false and the allegations stemmed from her shame at having a threesome with them. Number two involves a man who set up a Facebook page claiming to know the whereabouts of missing April Jones despite not even being involved,related or local, he messaged the parents from his account saying that she was safe,well and unharmed and would be returned as soon as possible. He of course had no involvement with it but sitting at home had decided he simply wanted to get involved and had done so in this hideous manner just to feel important in some way. So it seems that people are almost desperate to get involved in the latest news story simply to fill their empty lives or deflect guilt especially when the prospect of compensation rears it’s ugly head. These people in my mind are as odious and despicable as the people guilty of the heinous crimes themselves.
We are however taught to take allegations of this kind seriously and so we should. Whether it’s children or adults claiming that things happened while they were children, it simply has to investigated and the perpetrators have to be put on trial and then brought to account. The stories coming out now about Jimmy Savile are awful and if true he was clearly not just an awful pedophile but the very worst kind where he managed to get a career in childrens entertainment and the keys to children’s and mental hospitals all of which was masked by raising serious amounts of money for charity and huge public adoration including mine. I think that now that the genie is out of the bottle there is no going back and his name and image are tarnished forever with no recourse from the man himself, which actually may be the moral victory here. You see most abused children have to endure the justice system in its full glory having to stand in front of their tormentor and have the defence lawyer tell them they’re lying and ultimately scar them for life. Can you imagine being a young person trying to convince the country that one the nations top entertainers, an mbe and a knight of the realm has raped you?
Up until now I couldn’t understand why all of this didn’t come to light while he was alive and I still don’t claim to fully understand it now but by waiting until his death, whether intended or not, this has worked out perfectly. The law proved to be insufficient in convicting him and his status and reputation proved to be his safety net but in death this can be dismantled without fear. Without the fear of a court case, without the fear of being ridiculed by rich stars and lawyers and without the fear of failure the reputation that he would have held in such regard such and would have fought so hard to protect can be stripped away for free, the victims can now go straight to the police who will side with them and claims for compensation will surely not be contested. This would never have happened while he was alive and proves to me that whilst having your say and getting your moment in court is important, revenge really is a dish best served cold.