Ex-York nurse saw Jimmy Savile ‘molest’ patient
June Thornton, 80, says she saw Jimmy Savile indecently assault a patient at Leeds General Infirmary
A FORMER York Hospital nurse has called for Sir Jimmy Savile to be stripped of his knighthood after telling how she saw him indecently assault a patient at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI).
June Thornton, now 80, claimed she was lying in a four-bed bay in the Brotherton wing after undergoing back surgery in 1972 when she witnessed the incident.
She said: “There is no doubt whatsoever that it was Jimmy Savile and that he molested that woman.
“I can still remember seeing exactly what he did. He just helped himself to her. He molested her. He rubbed his hands over her chest and further down her front.”
Mrs Thornton, from the north of York, claimed that when she told a nurse, she took no notice and nothing was done. “I couldn’t believe it. I remember saying: ‘Don’t let that man anywhere near me. If he does, I will scream the place down!’”
She said the victim, a young woman, had been sitting in a chair when Savile abused her. The woman was unable to resist and she believed she had undergone neurosurgery. Mrs Thornton said she told her husband what had happened when he visited her that evening, and her family had always been aware of the incident.
“Whenever he (Savile) came on the telly after that, we would have to turn it over. I couldn’t bear to see him. He was an obnoxious person. He was evil and I hope he is in hell.
“He should be stripped of his knighthood. It’s an insult to people who have received and deserved the honour.”
Mrs Thornton spoke out as an ITV documentary on Wednesday night reported allegations by several women that they had been raped or indecently assaulted by Savile, who died last year.
“I have always lived with the guilt of knowing that happened, but not being able to do anything about it,” she said.
“I was vulnerable at the time and probably in a great deal of pain. I have often wondered what happened to that poor woman, bless her. She was on another planet and just sat there in a chair while he did it. I have decided to speak out after I saw in The Press that members of his family were disgusted at the allegations being made about him. I am disgusted by what he did that day.
“What makes it much worse is that he was buried at Woodlands Cemetery in Scarborough, quite close to my parents’ grave.”
She said she had been sent to the LGI after badly injuring her lower back when a patient at the former York County Hospital had fallen on her, knocking her against the metal bar of a bed.
Fred, her husband, said: “I was shocked and disgusted when I came to visit her that night and she told me what had happened.”
A spokesman for Leeds Teaching Hospitals said today: “We don’t have any record of official complaints about Sir Jimmy Savile’s behaviour during the time he worked as a volunteer porter at the Leeds General Infirmary.
“We are aware of allegations broadcast within the ITV programme – none of which relate to our hospitals – and are following events closely.
“Any evidence about alleged criminal acts should be referred to the police. We haven’t been contacted by the police to help with any inquiries. If we are then we will, of course, assist them properly as we would in any such matter.”
West Yorkshire Police said the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) had been advising that anyone affected by the issues raised in the documentary programme, or related media coverage, could phone the NSPCC Helpline on 0808 800 5000 for support or their local police force to make a report.
ACPO also said the national child protection unit, CEOP, would assess the scale of the allegations.
‘I was sexually assaulted by him’
A NORTH Yorkshire woman was sexually assaulted by Sir Jimmy Savile as she lay strapped to a hospital trolley following a spinal operation, she has claimed.
The woman, who is now 55, said the abuse happened when she was 16 after she underwent the painful procedure at Leeds General Infirmary in 1973.
The victim, who has asked The Press not to name her, said she was speaking out now after hearing other allegations about the former TV presenter and DJ.
She said Sir Jimmy, who died last year aged 84, was working as a volunteer porter at Leeds General Infirmary when he “inappropriately touched” her on her chest in a lift as he wheeled her from her operation to her hospital bed.
She told The Press: “I was on a hospital trolley when I was sexually assaulted by him. I was lying flat on my back. I was crying after having this procedure because I was in pain. He bent down and I thought he was giving me a reassuring cuddle, but he was inappropriate; he inappropriately touched my chest.
“I was wearing a thin hospital gown and he touched me on the top half. For that to happen in a hospital – well, I just did not know what to do. I was upset, but I was more in shock. I felt too frightened to report it because everyone thought he was a saint. This was somebody who was like having your dad around. He was a public figure.
“I have always remembered that incident. I was an adolescent – just 16 – but I knew what he did was wrong.”
The victim said she believes other women are coming forward now because they were too ashamed to report the attacks in an era where their allegations may not have been heard.
She said: “In the 1970s, if you tried reporting rape or sexual assault or something like that you were accused of making it up. It was the age when short skirts were in fashion and you were accused of leading the man on; that you were asking for it. I was brought up in a strict Catholic background and if I had told my parents, they would have thought I was making it up.”
The victim said whenever she saw a television programme featuring Sir Jimmy Savile she thought “dirty old git” and switched channels. She said she felt “so angry” when she saw the funeral of the TV star last year.
She said: “He was paraded through the streets of Leeds like some kind of saint. But people must have known the truth. People who worked with him must have heard one rumour then another – it would have been enough for something to have been done and investigated. There was a duty of care.
“People shouldn’t have turned a blind eye.”