The family of the BBC presenter at the centre of a sex abuse scandal that has rocked the broadcaster offered its deepest sympathy to the late Jimmy Saviles victims on Saturday,saying it felt despair and sadness.
Saviles nephew Roger Foster said in a statement that the family had been unaware of Saviles darker side,and was struggling to reconcile the image of the man they loved with allegations that were becoming overwhelming.
How could the person we thought we knew and loved do such a thing? said the statement. We recognise that even our own despair and sadness does not compare to that felt by the victims.
Savile,a cigar-chomping former DJ who was one of the BBCs top presenters,died last year aged 84.
The scandal has destroyed the reputation of a man who had been widely admired and honoured for his charity work and has raised troubling questions about the BBCs management and its workplace culture in the past.
Police have said Savile was undoubtedly one of Britains most prolific sex offenders,while the head of the BBCs governing body has called the allegations a tsunami of filth.
Our thoughts and our prayers are with those who have suffered from every kind of abuse over so many years and we offer our deepest sympathy in what must have been a terrible time for all of them, the family statement to the Yorkshire Evening Post newspaper read.
Foster said he had watched in horror as British TV channel ITV first aired an expose with allegations of a darker side to him that we knew nothing about.
This wasnt the man we knew and loved, Foster said,adding the allegations are very serious and we began to have doubts as to our own feeling towards our uncle.
Faced with growing public outrage at the allegations, Foster said the family had decided to remove the headstone on Saviles grave and destroy it to avoid it becoming a target for vandals.