Crowthorne: Report Into Savile Abuse At Broadmoor

26 June 2014, 13:05

Broadmoor was an institution Jimmy Savile, who first became associated with the hospital in 1968, was "uniquely placed to exploit'', the report's lead author Dr Bill Kirkup said.

While having such a celebrity association was hoped to improve the public image of the high security psychiatric hospital in Berkshire, Dr Kirkup said the report's findings prove that aim now to be "desperately ironic''.

Savile's "often flamboyantly inappropriate'' attitude towards women was seen as part of his public act, "just Jimmy'', the report found.

The investigation considered 11 allegations of sexual assault, including one of indecent exposure to a minor, and concluded that six of these people were likely to have been victims of the now infamous television presenter. Investigators were unable to speak in detail to the other five people.

The hospital operated in an environment where sexual relationships between staff and patients were tolerated. There was a "clear, repeated failure of safeguarding standards'', the independent investigation found.

Not only was the inappropriate behaviour tolerated, but the atmosphere in the institution discouraged reporting, it was concluded.

How a case involving a female nurse, who was sacked for reportedly having a sexual relationship with a female patient, was dealt with was seen to cause concern among staff at the hospital, the report said.

The nurse, who had threatened to publicise embarrassing revelations about staff including a friend of Savile's, withdrew a tribunal case into her sacking, with today's report noting that it is possible she was paid off. The case should now be investigated, the report's authors said.

While fewer assaults were reported as having taken place at Broadmoor than other hospitals, the inquiry said there could be little doubt that Savile was "an opportunistic sexual predator'' throughout the time he was associated with the institution.

The smaller number of complaints were attributed to an atmosphere of fear among staff as to what might happen if they did report incidents, and also noted that Savile probably had less opportunity to commit offences because of the nature of the high security hospital.

Nonetheless the report found "clear failings'' in the way access to some wards was controlled and supervised. Savile had keys allowing him unrestricted access to ward areas within the security perimeter.

Indeed, after being briefed on new security arrangements in 2004 Savile stopped his visits to the hospital. It was not until five years later that his right to keys was formally withdrawn.

Although famed for his charity work Savile's fundraising for Broadmoor was "trivial'', according to the report. His donations of prizes and equipment to the hospital were "relatively small'', despite a 36-year association with the facility.

Savile was appointed to a new task force in 1988, set up to manage the hospital, but the report noted that no consideration had been given to his lack of experience and he had not been formally assessed to determine his suitability to the role.

The veteran entertainer was known by officials at the Department of Health to lead "a promiscuous lifestyle'', the report said, and he used his accommodation at Broadmoor to "entertain a regular stream of female visitors'', although none of these were patients or thought at the time to be underage.

In a disturbing finding it was noted that Savile sometimes watched as female patients undressed for baths in the wards, and at other times looked through doorways while making inappropriate comments.

Steve Shrubb, chief executive of West London NHS Trust, of which Broadmoor is a part, today said Savile's abuse was "callous'', and offered an apology on behalf of the trust.

He said the hospital has been transformed since its almost four-decades long association with Savile.

Dr Kirkup said the report's findings are "likely to represent an underestimate of the true picture''.