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SAVILE'S MERSEY SEX ABUSE VICTIMS; Report reveals offences at two local hospitals.

Byline: RADHIKA SANGHANI

SHAMED Jimmy Savile sexually abused victims on Merseyside, a police report revealed. One of the offences allegedly happened at St Catherine's Hospital, Birkenhead, in 1964 and another in 1971 at a special hospital which stood on the site of the secure psychiatric Ashworth Hospital, Maghull, in 1971.

The revelations are included in a joint report by the Metropolitan Police and NSPCC which uncovers a 54-year reign of sexual abuse by the disgraced TV presenter, who died in October, 2011.

The victims may have been as young as eight and 214 offences nationwide have been recorded nationwide.

The NSPCC said Savile was one of the most prolific sex offenders in its 129-year history.

Wirral Community NHS Trust, which now runs services at the new St Catherine's Medical Centre, on the site of the former St Catherine's Hospital, said: "We are shocked to hear of the allegation about Jimmy Savile which has been revealed by the Metropolitan Police.

The alleged offence took place many years ago when the former hospital was run by a separate organisation and we were unaware of his involvement.

"We will fully co-operate with the police investigation and have started our own internal investigation, which we will share with the Department of Health."

Ray Walker, director at Mersey Care NHS Trust, which runs Ashworth Hospital, added: "Firstly, our thoughts are with all the people affected by these crimes.

"We have been made aware of an offence that took place in 1971.

"This matter has not been previously reported and we have no further information at this time. Ashworth Hospital did not exist in 1971 and we understand the incident relates to the former Moss Side Hospital. "Mersey Care takes such matters extremely seriously and safeguarding is a priority for the Trust. There is a nominated Lead for Safeguarding at Ashworth Hospital.

"We will be conducting an investigation into the matter and reporting any findings and lessons to the Department of Health."

In 1973, Savile was at at Moss Side to presented six teenage patients with Duke of Edinburgh awards, and in 1977 the ECHO photographed him at a party for children.

According to the police and NSPCC report, Savile offended at 14 medical sites nationally, including children's hospital Great Ormond Street, in London and Wheatfields Hospice, in Leeds.

His youngest victim was an eight-year-old boy and the oldest was 47, but 73% of his victims were aged under 18.

Commander Peter Spindler, who is leading the national investigation into Savile's abuse, said: "Savile's offending footprint was vast, predatory and opportunistic. He cannot face justice today, but we hope this report gives some comfort to his hundreds of victims.

"They have been listened to and taken seriously."

A total of 617 people have made contact with police investigating claims against Savile and other high-profile celebrities, with 450 relating directly to Savile.

NSPCC director of child protection advice and awareness, Peter Watt, said nearly 800 additional children had been protected from abuse due to the attention given to the allegations against Savile.

He said: "We also know from the huge increase in calls to the NSPCC helpline about sexual abuse that the problem did not die with Savile.

"Since the Savile scandal broke, we have seen a surge in contacts about child abuse, both past and present, with many victims speaking out for the first time."

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "This report highlights the shocking scale of offending by Jimmy Savile over five decades and shows the need to learn lessons from his crimes."

CAPTION(S):

VISIT: Jimmy Savile at Maghull Moss Side hospital, in January, 1977

ABUSE: An aerial view of St Catherine''s hospital, Birkenhead

VILE: Predatory sex abuser Jimmy Savile targeted his victims over a 54-year reign of shame
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 12, 2013
Words:626
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