Late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile sexually abused vulnerable patients in scores of hospitals over decades and claimed to have performed sex acts on dead bodies, investigators said yesterday.
Savile, one of the biggest stars in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s, abused girls, boys, men and women aged from five to 75 as he was given unrestricted access in many state-run National Health Service institutions, they found.
In one case at a Leeds hospital, he fondled the breasts of a teenage girl through her hospital gown as she lay on a trolley after a medical procedure. Witnesses told investigators that Savile also claimed to have performed sex acts on bodies at the same hospital's mortuary, and bragged about having jewellery he had had made from glass eyes taken from the deceased.
Investigators said although they could not confirm the claims "it is evident his interest in the mortuary was not within accepted boundaries".
A police investigation last year concluded Savile, who died in 2011 aged 84, was a prolific paedophile and sex offender who used his celebrity status to attack victims on BBC premises, schools and hospitals. After the police report, the health ministry ordered investigations into his behaviour in 28 NHS hospitals, including the high-security mental health hospital Broadmoor.
The conclusions published yesterday revealed in detail how Savile took advantage of the extraordinary access his fame and charitable works gave him to prey on patients and staff.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt apologised to victims on behalf of the government for failing to protect them from a man once held up as an "eccentric national treasure" who turned out to be a "sickening and prolific sexual abuser".
Savile was particularly active at Leeds General Infirmary where he worked as a hospital radio DJ and as a volunteer porter. Sixty people - half of them patients - claimed they were abused by Savile between 1962 and 2009.
Another investigation into Broadmoor found Savile likely abused six people. For three decades from 1968, Savile had keys allowing him to roam around the mental health hospital.