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Savile family expresses ‘deepest sympathies’ to abuse victims

Savile,a cigar-chomping former DJ who was one of the BBC’s top presenters,died last year aged 84.

Written by Reuters | London | Published: October 28, 2012 12:53:14 am

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 Savile’s victims on Saturday,saying it felt despair and sadness.

Savile’s nephew Roger Foster said in a statement that the family had been unaware of Savile’s 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 BBC’s 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 BBC’s management and its workplace culture in the past.

Police have said Savile was undoubtedly one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders,while the head of the BBC’s 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 wasn’t 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 Savile’s grave and destroy it to avoid it becoming a target for vandals.”

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