Jimmy Savile

Police launch criminal probe into Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 October, 2012, 3:59am

Scotland Yard has launched a formal criminal investigation into the Jimmy Savile child sex abuse scandal as police confirmed they had identified more than 200 potential victims of the late BBC presenter.

The London Metropolitan police (known as the Met) said its criminal investigation would examine allegations of sexual abuse involving living people, and it was examining 400 lines of inquiry involving Savile.

The Met police launched Operation Yewtree, its assessment of allegations involving Savile, a fortnight ago and has been flooded with information from members of the public, including alleged victims and witnesses.

The Met has told the BBC that it can now begin its own internal reviews into alleged abuse by Savile. For decades he was a major celebrity in the UK, presenting top BBC radio and television shows, fronting government safety campaigns and raising millions of pounds for charities.

He was awarded a knighthood by the Queen.

Dame Fiona Reynolds, the chair of the BBC executive board, will oversee the corporation's internal investigation into alleged abuse by Savile during his four-decade on-screen career.

The BBC said it would ask Dame Janet Smith, the former high court judge, to open its reviews immediately.

The head of the NSPCC, Peter Watt, said it now appeared that Savile was "one of the most prolific sex offenders the NSPCC has ever come across".

The children's charity said it had received more than 136 "directly relating to allegations" against Savile that have been passed on to police.