The truth behind disgraced tv and radio personality Jimmy Savile’s links with Whitby may never be known.
An investigation has been carried out after a former nurse at the old War Memorial Hospital claimed she had been touched up by Savile during one of his visits at night time to the hospital.
The incident was alleged to have taken place between 1964 and 1968 and has been looked into as part of Operation Yewtree which the Metropolitan Police have been conducting since 2012 after the first allegations were made public.
However, the enquiry found there were no other records or recollections to confirm or deny either the allegation by the staff nurse or the fact that Savile had ever visited the hospital.
Most of the files from the last 50 years have been destroyed as various different organisations took over management of the hospital - which was also demolished in the 1970s to make way for the current Whitby Hospital.
But, the team appointed to look into the Whitby case say there is no reason to doubt the account of the nurse, referred to in the report as W, and they have concluded that the incident did take place.
W told the inquiry that during one of Savile’s occasional visits to the hospital “he put his arm around her and made a comment that she found to be inappropriate”.
She said he would wander around the hospital and that “he knew the place”.
W said that Savile was “touchy feely” and used to “paw you”. She told the investigation she didn’t like his behaviour and told him to stop.
During her interviews W recalled that on another occasion Savile said “Nurseynursey, I’ve made you a cup of tea” but she told him she didn’t drink tea.
She also claimed that younger members of staff used to say they didn’t like Savile’s behaviour towards them but felt unable to say anything because of who he was.
W never reported her concerns before now because sexism was accepted and part of every day life at that time. She told the investigation that it wasn’t unusual for nurses to be “touched” by male patients and that they had asked if they could wear trousers but were told it was not considered appropriate.
The report, prepared by York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, says: “The allegation made by W in relation to Savile’s inappropriate and unwanted behaviour towards her has been investigated as thoroughly as possible. However, the investigation has essentially focused on a primary witness statement.
“The investigation team have been unable to locate any supporting documentation that might corroborate the witness statement, and this is due to the significant time period between the alleged incident having taken place and the incident being reported.
“It is highly likely that any documentation from the period in question has been destroyed.
“We found W to be a reliable and truthful witness and nothing has been found during the course of this investigation which might place her account in doubt. The investigation team therefore conclude that the incident as she described did take place.”
Following the publication of the report Mike Proctor, Deputy Chief Executive for York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Chair of the Trust’s investigation, said: “It is important that the NHS plays its part in investigating allegations relating to Jimmy Savile, and we took our duty to do this seriously.
“Our investigation centred on a single allegation at Whitby Hospital, which was an isolated incident that does not appear to have caused long term harm to the individual concerned.
“Our investigation also highlighted that, fifty years ago, society was very different and we now have much greater awareness of the dangers to vulnerable people, with systems and procesess in place to better protect them.”