In harm’s way

editorial image

This picture of notorious paedophile Jimmy Savile with a group of Derry kids was taken when the disgraced TV star visited the city for a charity event in the early 1970s.

A ‘Derry Journal’ photographer took the snap when the children met the celebrity at St Columb’s Park in the summer of 1974.

We have blurred the faces of those pictured with Savile to protect their identities.

There is no suggestion that any alleged crime in relation to this visit ever took place.

No-one, however, was aware of Savile’s sordid sex crimes at that time. It was only after he died last year that the shocking story began to unfold.

Savile’s visit to Derry in July 1974 was one of a number he made to the city during his lengthy career as a DJ and showbiz personality.

The ‘Journal’ can also reveal that, in 1977, a group of children from the city travelled to London to meet Savile while he was filming his popular ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ TV programme.

It was in December 1977 that the schoolkids - all aged under 15 - met Saville at the BBC studios at Shepherd’s Bush in west London.

Again, there is nothing to suggest that anything inappropriate took place during this visit.

Meanwhile, a local counselling service for victims of sexual abuse - which earlier this week reported a surge in inquiries since the Savile claims emerged - has suggested there’s no reason why any police investigation into his crimes should not be extended to Northern Ireland.

Helena Bracken, of Nexus, says that, given the number of times Savile visited the North - allied to his “opportunistic and predatory” tendencies - “no-one, at the minute, can say for certain he did not have opportunities to prey on young people here.”

“There may be people in Northern Ireland who were victims of this man and, if there are, they should not suffer in silence but should come forward and seek help,” she said.

Scotland Yard is leading a national investigation into the television and radio star’s activities. He is now believed to have been one of the UK’s most prolific abusers, with about 300 possible victims.