Predatory paedophile Jimmy Savile could have been prosecuted for offences against at least three victims while he was alive but the complaints were not taken seriously enough, it was admitted today.
The disgraced TV presenter used his celebrity status to "hide in plain sight" and commit hundreds of sexual offences, a joint report by the Metropolitan Police and children's charity NSPCC found.
Legal adviser to the Director of Public Prosecutions Alison Levitt QC said Savile could have been prosecuted in 2009 had police taken his victims' allegations more seriously.
She found that "had the police and prosecutors taken a different approach" prosecutions could have been possible in relation to three victims.
Police and prosecutors treated the claims "with a degree of caution which was neither justified nor required," Ms Levitt said.
Surrey Police received an allegation in May 2007 that Savile had sexually assaulted a teenage girl at Duncroft Children's Home in the late 1970s.
As a result of that investigation, two more allegations emerged.
The first that around 1973 Savile had sexually assaulted a girl aged about 14 outside Stoke Mandeville hospital.
The second, in the '70s and again at Duncroft, Savile had suggested to a girl aged about 17 that she perform oral sex on him.
And separately a complaint was made to Sussex Police in March 2008 alleging that around 1970 Savile had sexually assaulted a woman in her early twenties in a caravan in Sussex.
Ms Levitt found that Surrey Police had not informed the alleged victims that other complaints had been made, while Sussex police told the complainant that corroboration was needed and the prosecutor did not question why victims would not support court action or seek to build a case.
Surrey Police consulted the Crown Prosecution Service about all four allegations and it was decided in October 2009 that no prosecution could be brought because the alleged victims would not support police action.
A total of 450 people have come forward alleging sexual abuse by Savile since October. Among the recorded crimes are 34 rapes and 126 indecent acts.
Of his victims, almost three-quarters were children - the youngest of whom was eight years old at the time.
The earliest reported offence committed by Savile was in Manchester in 1955, and the final reported allegation was in 2009.
Commander Peter Spindler, who is leading the national investigation into Savile's abuse, said: "Savile's offending footprint was vast, predatory and opportunistic.
"He cannot face justice today, but we hope this report gives some comfort to his hundreds of victims.
"They have been listened to and taken seriously."
NSPCC's Peter Watt added: "The sheer scale of Savile's abuse over six decades simply beggars belief.
"He is without doubt one of the most prolific sex offenders we have ever come across," said Mr Watt.
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