Woman from near York tells how Jimmy Savile assaulted her in hospital basement

Jimmy Savile

Jimmy Savile

Updated in News York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Chief reporter

A WOMAN from a village near York who was sexually assaulted as an ill teenager by Jimmy Savile in a hospital basement wants reassurances such abuse can never happen again.

The victim, who asked to be identified only as Jane, said she spent decades believing she was the disgraced presenter's "chosen one", not realising hundreds of others had suffered like her.

The now 57-year-old, who was assaulted in Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) in 1973, said she felt "utterly disgusted" after the now-deceased entertainer forced her to perform a sex act on him and was "shocked" when the full extent of his abuse was revealed nearly two years ago.

The married mother-of-one, who has wed three times, said the assault followed what she now realises was a short period of grooming by radio and TV star Savile, who was volunteering at the hospital.

As the findings of a series of investigations into Savile's abuse at NHS hospitals are published, she said she wants an apology from Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, who she accuses of "betraying" her.

Jane, who was an in-patient of the LGI, being treated for the effects of a nervous breakdown, was just 16 years old when Savile assaulted her and described herself as young-looking with a pixie haircut and wearing a short, cheesecloth dress.

"I had seen Jimmy Savile around the hospital, everybody had," she said. "From time to time, he came up on to the ward and he chatted to just about everybody."

In late 1973, Savile struck up a conversation with Jane on the hospital ward, when he was volunteering as a porter, which she described as containing around 30 to 35 beds.

"We got talking, he'd ask where I came from, I told him it was a little village near York.

"He said 'oh right, I know that very well'. He said 'I do a lot of walking, charity walks, and I actually know someone from the village'. That was his opening line."

A few days after their first conversation, Savile asked Jane to accompany him out of the hospital.

"He must have cleared it with staff that they were happy for me to go off the ward," the 57-year-old said. "He took me down the stairs, out of the hospital, across the grounds and out to a newsagent shop, which was just outside the front steps. I don't think it's there now."

"He went in and said 'my friend's been poorly, let's make her better'.

"I always remember this - the whole Jimmy Savile thing is like a snapshot in my mind - he actually cleared the whole counter with his arm. So there were magazines, papers, sweets, you name it, on the counter and they were delivered to the ward that afternoon."

She added: "At that time, it was like I was the chosen one. Down the line, it's obviously grooming, we know this."

"There was so much media coverage about the good work he was doing, that he was working as a porter in the hospital, raising funds, it was just this kind of, almost like a superstar in those days," Jane said. "As a 16-year-old, of course, he was paying attention to me, that was rather lovely."

A few days after her trip to the newsagent, a porter approached Jane and said Savile wanted to see her.

The porter took the then teenager down some stairs into "depths of Leeds General Infirmary", along an underground passage with huge heating pipes along it, before approaching a door.

The mother-of-one said: "He knocked on the door, not a word was said, he knocked on the door and opened the door. And there was Jimmy Savile leaning up against the wall."

After she was abused, he said 'you've got to go', and she was taken back to the bottom of the stairs leading back to the ward.

When she attempted to explain what happened to the nurses, she was cut short with laughter.

"I said to the nurses 'you wouldn't believe what's just happened'. I got as far as 'Jimmy' and they just laughed and that was the end of the episode."

Jane said she has always been honest and open about what happened with friends and family.

She said: "My mother believed me, she said 'but the thing is, he's such a celebrity, who's going to believe you, love?' And she was right."

After the ITV documentary, Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile, was aired in October 2012, Jane decided to contact the hospital - but at first she received no replies.

She sent her first email to the then chairman of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust board, Mike Collier, but claims she received no reply.

Jane said: "He ignored me, so I ignored all the members of the trust in the end. The second one ignored me, the third one finally came back to me."

The mother-of-one contacted Liz Dux, abuse lawyer at Slater and Gordon who represents 176 of Savile's victims and represents Jane now.

Looking back, Jane describes Savile as "charismatic" but also "very powerful".

"Everyone seemed to know him, everybody said hello to him, he said hello, had a banter with people and that's how he was, he seemed to be - well he was - all the way round the hospital, she said.

"The staff certainly didn't seem surprised that he was doing anything. I didn't get chance to tell the staff, they just laughed when the word Jimmy came out.

"He did have access all areas. That's how it seemed at the time."

But this did not make Jane feel any better.

After the assault, she said: "I felt totally and utterly disgusted. I had a very Victorian upbringing and that wasn't on the agenda."

She went on: "Afterwards, the mind plays tricks on you. I was disgusted with it."

"But, I was still 'the chosen one'. Bizarrely, right up until all this happened, two years ago when it all came out, I was still the chosen one in my head, even though it had happened and it was wrong, because I didn't know anything to the contrary because nothing had ever been out in the media about it."

Jane was engaged and married to her first husband shortly after she was discharged from hospital, at the age of 17.

Her third marriage, however, has lasted 26 years.

"There were trust issues and 'being used' issues. As you get older, you realise that what happened wasn't just being friendly, it was grooming," she said. "We didn't have that word then."

Jane said she wants an apology from the hospital and its trust.

"In my opinion, the hospital let me down. They let me down by allowing that to happen, but they also let me down two years ago when they didn't acknowledge it had happened."

"The fact that they just didn't even reply to my emails until I really bombarded them, and then they did. That's like I was betrayed twice, let down twice, the fact they didn't believe me."

She added: "I want an apology and to have assurances put in place that it won't happen again - no, that it can't happen again."

But Jane feels confident to discuss her experience.

"I haven't done anything wrong. I'm not proud of what happened that day, but it happened and it happened so quickly, there was nothing that could be done about it."

"You've got to get on with life," she added.

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