An actress yesterday told how she was targeted by Jimmy Savile when she appeared on Jim’ll Fix It in 1988, aged only 14.
Julie Fernandez, who appeared in the BBC’s The Office and Eldorado, said Savile groped her in the studio and described his behaviour as ‘predatory’.Julie Fernandez, who appeared in the BBC’s The Office and Eldorado, said Savile groped her in the Jim’ll Fix It studio and described his behaviour as ‘predatory’
She added: ‘I was in my wheelchair, but I just remember his hands being everywhere and just lingering those two, three, four seconds slightly too long in places they shouldn’t. But it wasn’t particularly obvious either.’
‘It was in a busy room full of people so it was quite discreetly done and you don’t kind of realise what’s happening at the time, especially when you’re 14 and it’s the first time you’ve ever been in a studio and you’re very excited.
‘But I do remember feeling uncomfortable and he had these huge rings on his fingers.’
The 38-year-old said she felt like ‘slapping his hand away’.
‘My classmates, we all made a joke of it afterwards for years, but we didn’t really bring it up to any adult and I don’t know why, actually,’ she added.
Miss Fernandez, now a disability rights campaigner, said people were possibly afraid of speaking out against a prominent figure.
‘He was a great fundraiser and all of these things, so possibly people didn’t want to say negative things about him. Maybe they didn’t think they would be believed.
‘It’s a predatory behaviour and it’s a bad, bad behaviour. And he’s now dead and what can we do?’The 38-year-old said she felt like ‘slapping his hand away’ when the incident happened in 1998
Ms Fernandez is the latest in a string of women to make claims against Savile and it follows the revelation that he was given his own keys to high-security Broadmoor mental hospital.
The police investigation into Jimmy Savile’s abuse of young girls has tripled in scale with officers now following up 340 separate lines of inquiry, Scotland Yard revealed last night.
There are now 40 potential victims and 15 police forces investigating the paedophile BBC presenter’s reign of child abuse.
It triggered the BBC’s Director General George Entwhistle to issue his second grovelling apology of the week – and announce a total of three independent inquiries.
Mr Entwistle gave a ‘profound and heartfelt apology on behalf of the BBC to every victim’.
He added: ‘I have made clear my revulsion at the thought that these criminal assaults were carried out by someone employed by the BBC and that some may have happened on BBC premises as well as, we now discover, in hospitals and other institutions.’
Celebrities and former BBC staff potentially face arrest for alleged sex offences as police hunt accomplices of Savile’s four decades of attacks. He is alleged to have raped and molested children as young as ten.
David Nicolson, 67, who had been a director on Jim’ll Fix It, said he made several attempts to expose Savile to the BBC, but was told: ‘That’s Jimmy’ and ‘that’s the way it goes’.
On Mr Nicolson’s claims, a BBC spokesman said: ‘We have been disturbed to hear these allegations. All staff past and present who have any information relating to allegations of this kind should raise them with the BBC’s internal investigations unit or the police.’
Liz Dux, a partner at Russell Jones & Walker, is representing some of the alleged victims of Jimmy Savile. The personal injury lawyer, who specialises in abuse cases, said ‘a couple’ of women had sought legal advice.
‘They may well have grounds to sue on the principles of vicarious liability,’ Dux said. ‘If Savile was acting as an employee or agent of the BBC or a health organisation, then that organisation with whom he had a close connection can be held vicariously liable.
Dux added that the women were not motivated by compensation. ‘What motivates people is not money,’ she said.