Key details of how Jimmy Savile was able to gain access to NHS wards, where he abused patients, can be disclosed today.
|Savile was first invited into the Leeds hospital by its chief porter, who went on to become a paid employee of the disc jockey Photo: REX|
Savile used his fame for decades to cover up his activities at three hospitals – Leeds General Infirmary, Stoke Mandeville and Broadmoor.
Until now it has been unclear how he came to be given rooms and keys without questions being asked.
The Telegraph can disclose that Savile was first invited into the Leeds hospital by its chief porter, who went on to become a paid employee of the disc jockey while still working at the hospital.
And his involvement at Broadmoor was rubber-stamped in 1974 by Dr David Owen, now Lord Owen, who was health minister, government papers in the National Archives disclose.
Savile had accommodation at all three hospitals and came to be in charge of Broadmoor for a period in the 1980s when he was put in charge of a task force to run the secure hospital.
Ministers have ordered inquiries into how the NHS came to allow him such access, but key details have now been uncovered that cast new light on his activities.
He was first involved in Leeds General Infirmary in 1961 when he was asked by its chief porter, Charles Hullighan, to help its new hospital radio station, and promptly volunteered as a porter.
|TV Appearance: Charles Hullighan with Savile|
Savile had already been questioned by police over allegations of having sex with under-age girls at dance halls he ran across the north, and had become a pirate radio disc jockey. Before he died in 1995, Mr Hullighan said: "James came to the infirmary as a volunteer porter for a few days in 1961 and he stayed for a long time. He was always available to help.
"Jimmy gave great pleasure to so many patients, and adding the many touches of humour that is so natural to his character."
Mr Hullighan became an extremely close friend of the DJ, to the extent that in 1972 he was made company secretary of the firm that dealt with Savile's earnings, despite having no business background.
It is not known whether he told hospital authorities of the business relationship, but Savile paid him a salary and contributions towards a pension, and Mr Hullighan was able to have homes in Leeds and Scarborough.
Exactly what Mr Hullighan earned is not disclosed, but in 1981, when Savile was at the height of his fame, he shared in directors' pay of £91,500, the equivalent of about £310,000 today.
Last week Mr Hullighan's widow, Beryl, declined to discuss Savile or her husband's involvement.
It can also be disclosed that the disgraced star's unrestricted role at Broadmoor secure hospital, where allegedly he sexually abused vulnerable patients, was approved by ministers at the time.
A Whitehall report signed off by Lord Owen revealed his appointment as honorary entertainments officer.
The confidential hospital advisory service report was sent to ministers in February 1974 and recommended that some patients at the secure hospital be allowed conjugal visits, supervised shopping trips, mixed wards where patients due for release could adjust to a more normal social life and "halfway house" hostels in the community.
The report by civil servants, found in the National Archives, has a section on the BBC star that says: "We were pleased to meet Jimmy Savile for a discussion of his work as Honorary Assistant Entertainments Officer."
Savile used the title and was given an office in the grounds of the hospital, a bedroom, which he called his "cell", and his own set of keys to the wards.
The report, which also went to Barbara Castle, then health secretary, outlined how Savile had raised money for a minibus for patients' families and disco equipment, and said: "Apart from the undoubted pleasure the hospital gains from having him around… he has pioneered outings for patients and has overcome opposition from outside and inside the hospital to these ventures.
"His energy, enthusiasm, sincerity and devotion to Broadmoor and its patients and staff are infectious and he performs the function of an unofficial but very successful public-relations officer outside the hospital, which can only be of great benefit for Broadmoor as a whole."
According to the surviving papers, neither Lord Owen nor officials raised any questions or passed any comment about Savile's role.
The Department of Health is now investigating the background to his appointment in 1988 as head of a task force overseeing the hospital.