Late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile was a predatory sex offender who abused children as young as eight over more than 50 years, using his fame and eccentricity to hide "in plain sight", British police said yesterday.
A three-month investigation with child protection experts found that Savile, one of the biggest television stars in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s, took every opportunity to abuse young girls, boys and adult women across the country.
He used his fame as presenter of the BBC's Top of the Pops chart show and children's programme Jim'll Fix It to rape and assault victims on BBC premises as well as in schools and hospitals, where he was welcomed by fans.
The scandal has thrown the BBC into crisis, although police said yesterday the world's biggest public broadcaster should not shoulder the blame for his abuse.
David Gray, head of Scotland Yard's paedophile unit, said Savile "spent every moment of every waking day thinking about it, and whenever an opportunity came along, he took it".
The investigation report was published as Britain's top prosecutor admitted that action could have been taken over three allegations made against Savile in 2009 if police had taken the victims more seriously.
Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer apologised but outlined changes to how the authorities dealt with sexual abuse cases, saying he hoped the Savile case would be seen as a "watershed moment".
There were rumours about his private life, but he batted them away with jokes.
Savile died in October 2011 at the age of 84. A year after his death, five women went on television to complain Savile had abused them when they were girls, opening the floodgates for hundreds of similar allegations.
About 450 people have come forward with information, with 214 criminal offences, including 34 rapes - 28 of them of children - recorded so far.
Three quarters of the victims were children, mostly girls aged between 13 and 16, but the youngest was an eight-year-old boy.
The attacks stretched from 1955 to 2009 and were "mainly opportunistic sexual assaults - many in situations manipulated by Savile", the report said.
In 1960, a 10-year-old boy saw Savile outside a hotel and asked for his autograph. The presenter took the child inside to reception, where he subjected him to a serious penetrative sexual assault.
The report found there was "no clear evidence" he was involved in any paedophile ring.
Commander Peter Spindler, who led Scotland Yard's investigation into Savile, said he had "groomed the nation". He said the police report "paints a stark picture emphasising the tragic consequences of when vulnerability and power collide".