HOW COPS BUNGLED SAVILE CARAVAN SEX ATTACK PROBE Woman’s complaint was a missed opportunity
ACCUSED OF 1970 ASSAULT:
Savile A POLICE force missed an opportunity to investigate Jimmy Savile by mishandling a report that he sexually assaulted a woman.
Detectives at Sussex Police did not follow all lines of inquiry properly after a woman alleged in March 2008 that she was attacked by Savile in a caravan in Worthing in 1970, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said.
Although there was no evidence that officers deliberately dissuaded the woman from pursuing the allegation, she felt reluctant to do so following contact with police, the IPCC report said.
IPCC deputy chair Sarah Green said: “Greater efforts should have been made by police to investigate the allegation and to encourage the woman to support an investigation.
“She showed considerable courage in coming forward to police, but regrettably she felt that the two officers who visited her had a negative attitude towards her pursuing her allegation.
“Not sending a trained female officer, coupled with the perceived absence of support, resulted in a missed opportunity by Sussex Police to investigate Savile in 2008.”
A male constable and sergeant who visited the woman in March 2008 were experienced CID detectives.
The woman – referred to as Mrs A – told the IPCC that she was in her early 20s when she was the victim of a serious sexual assault by Savile in 1970 after meeting him at a Chelsea Pensioners event at Worthing Town Hall.
She did not report the incident to police at the time but did inform her then husband, who wrote a letter to Savile challenging him about it.
She described being “severely affected” by her experience over the years.
Mrs A contacted a newspaper to describe her experience at the hands of serial sex offender Savile, who died in 2011, after watching a documentary about the former Jim’ll Fix It presenter.
After contacting police, two officers visited her later that day. She told IPCC investigators that she felt “they frighten me off”.
She said she was told Savile would have “the best lawyers in the country” who would make “mincemeat” out of her.
She also claimed both officers burst out laughing when Officer A said, “Well he didn’t get his breakfast so he had to have his dinner” as she described how Savile behaved after the assault.
An Acting Detective Chief inspector who reviewed and closed the case in April 2008 said that without the woman’s support it would be difficult to prove a sexual offence had taken place.
Four officers subject to the inquiry were found by the IPCC to have no case to answer for misconduct.