‘There are none so blind as those that will not see’

Screenshot 2021-11-02 at 09.00.21

This is a piece written for the police whistleblower site, uPSD WYP in 2013, writes Neil Wilby. According to the website log it was last updated on 7th September in that year.

It spawned an article in the Sunday Telegraph and an outside police force investigation, codenamed Operation Vertex, headed up by the then chief constable of Avon and Somerset Police, Nick Gargan. The outcome of which was a devastating blow to the WYP reputation.

Neil Wilby and uPSD also featured in the iconic Dan Davies book, In Plain Sight, published in 2015, which still remains the definitive work on Jimmy Savile’s life and offending.

Monday 8th November, 2021 will mark the tenth anniversary of what was a funeral on a grand scale that brought the city of Leeds to a standstill, and dominated print and broadcast media, regionally and nationally, on the day. With many celebrities, local dignitaries, police officers and politicians flocking to pay their respects in person. His gold coffin had lain ‘In State’ in the Queen’s Hotel in City Square, beforehand.

Unbeknown to them, two BBC reporters, Meirion Jones and Liz MacKean, were already at work on a project that would see him unmasked as a serial and predatory paedophile the following year.

THERE are none so blind as those who will not see (Jeremiah 5:21).

“Or, those that can’t be bothered to look in the right places. Such as West Yorkshire Police, who didn’t find evidence of collusion between, or police protection for, serial rapist and paedophile, Jimmy Savile, in its now thoroughly discredited Operation Newgreen inquiry: Because this Force, more than all others in the country, will go to any lengths to avoid what it terms “reputational damage”.

“It was not just Savile’s fame that kept victims silent. It was the West Yorkshire Police’s prejudice against victims of child sexual abuse and their relentless obsession with concealing a very real problem of paedophilia within its own ranks. It is a fact that they have more convicted or charged child abusers than any other police force over the past ten years [up to 2013].

“The prejudiced nature of the police’s blinkered, unhealthy and very public relationship with Savile – and the impact this had on victims’ ability to come forward – should have been the real focus of a report that has been widely condemned as “pathetic” and a “whitewash”. But it will no doubt be a rung on the promotion ladder for its author, Detective Chief Superintendent Dave Knopwood, who comes from a lengthening line of officers of questionable ability and/or integrity at that rank in WYP.

“Knopwood has made a remarkable rise from detective chief inspector, at the end of 2010, to his current rank. He previously operated as a crime manager for West Yorkshire Police on uPSD’s home patch of Kirklees Division. {Knopwood was dismissed by WYP following a drink driving conviction, less than a year later, in June 2014].

“The biggest omission of all from the Newgreen report is an apology to the 68 victims and the many more who have chosen, or not been able, to come forward. But that is typical of West Yorkshire Police. One victim was very angry and said: “I don’t believe a word of this report. The police knew what was happening and were protecting him. They were always coming and going at his flat. It’s nothing more than a cover-up, a whitewash.” The 52-year-old, who was only 15 when Savile abused him, added: “His cosy relationship with officers is why so many of his victims felt they couldn’t come forward.”

“Another Savile victim, who was 19 when he tried to rape her in 1976, said: “As far as I’m concerned the report is nothing more than a bag of lies. I find it impossible to believe it wasn’t covered up by those he worked with, and by the police.”

“Leading child abuse law specialist, Alan Collins, of Pannone Solicitors in London who represents more than 40 of Savile’s victims said the report “didn’t add up”. He continued: “It is a pathetic document. Absolute rubbish – and hasn’t addressed police officers being influenced by Savile. Their relationship coloured their judgement. There WAS intelligence, but that intelligence wasn’t shared or used, so Savile was able to run rings around police forces. There’s collective myopia.”

“Mr Collins summed up the feelings of many, if not the whole country, by concluding: “It’s all pretty pathetic. The more you scrutinise the document the more the inadequacies come out.”

“In Savile’s home city of Leeds, West Yorkshire Police also continued to use the disgraced TV and radio star for crime prevention publicity campaigns including “Hand in a Handler” (of stolen goods) and the risible anti-burglar “Talking Signs” campaign in 2008, which involved the voice of Savile being triggered as students walked around the Hyde Park area of Leeds. This was in spite of being told by Surrey Police in 2007 that he was the subject of two criminal inquiries into child abuse: Firstly, at Duncroft Approved School and a second inquiry into suspected paedophile offences dating back to 1964.

“The Newgreen report stated that 76 crimes, involving 68 victims, had been committed in the West Yorkshire area by Savile, but none of the offences had been reported before the former DJ’s death in October 2011. 72 of those crimes were in Leeds where the police and political protection appears to have been at its strongest. It was also revealed in the report that the youngest of those victims was five years old, at the time, and eight others were aged nine or younger.

“Yet, the police claimed there was no trace of any offences being reported to them, despite the fact three former officers knew of concerns about him and a previous enquiry found that key intelligence should have been passed on. It was exposed, subsequent to the report’s publication, that there were actually four victims aged five and not just one as the report implied. That startling revelation only came following pressure being applied by the Sunday Telegraph‘s reporter, Claire Duffin, and discredits the Newgreen report even further.

“Operation Newgreen’s detectives also found that Savile’s name was among thousands of men police spoke to during the Yorkshire Ripper investigation, and made reference to Savile’s offer to be ‘an intermediary for the police’. The presenter’s details were on four “index cards” found amongst 196 boxes of archived evidence. Much more material had been destroyed within a year of the serial killer’s trial. Savile later befriended Peter Sutcliffe at Broadmoor Hospital and even funded special facilities to be built for him.

“Two of the Ripper assaults (Marcella Claxton who survived and Irene Richardson who was murdered) were, of course, within several hundred yards of Savile’s Roundhay Park penthouse.

“It was also claimed by the Newgreen investigators that the police officers who joined Savile for a weekly coffee at his Leeds home, a ritual known as the Friday Morning Club had not engaged in any “impropriety or misconduct”. None of the officers visiting the Club are named in the report, including the widely known attendees, Sgt Matthew Appleyard and retired Inspector Mick Starkey, whom Savile described as his “chauffeur and bodyguard.” It is understood that Appleyard was the fulcrum for organising the meeting dates and the composition of the Club, which met at the very same apartment where some of the victims were abused [both strongly deny any knowledge of impropriety and none is implied here].

“uPSD have a greater understanding of the inner workings of West Yorkshire Police than most, if not all, mainstream media journalists – and commentators – and we have identified a number of key areas that have been whitewashed over by ACC Ingrid Lee, whose recent record for sharp-eyed observation wouldn’t bear very close scrutiny.

“Prior to her surprise elevation to Assistant Chief Constable by Temporary Chief Constable John Parkinson, she was Deputy Head, then Head, of the inaptly named West Yorkshire Police Organised Crime Group that managed to “lose” £3.52 million of seized drugs that ended being sold back out on the streets of Leeds.

“A failing that resulted in a recent high profile trial where one of her own “elite” detectives was convicted of the theft of most of it (read more about the Nick McFadden saga here). An explanation is still awaited from ACC Lee concerning which, so far unidentified, police officer stole the £352,000 worth of amphetamines from the police safe store, if McFadden didn’t? He was cleared of that particular charge by the jury at trial.

“Lee’s office in Wakefield was not a long distance away from the premises of a firm, Goldman Vicenti, involved in a string of frauds again connected to one of her own former “elite” detectives, D/Sgt Chris Taylor. A major criminal trial ended in June 2013 at Ipswich Crown Court in which Taylor was accused, along with 4 others, of a £5.7 million advance fee scam. He was found guilty and sentenced to three and a half years in jail. The full Taylor fraud story can be read by clicking here.

“Turning back to Operation Newgreen the below paragraphs are a summary of uPSD’s areas of real concern over the validity of the report, or the quality of the investigative work that preceded its publication.

1. Operation Newgreen detectives claim that all relevant serving and retired officers were contacted/interviewed concerning their knowledge of Savile. That is palpably untrue as retired DI Cedric Christie, who worked at Chapeltown police station with Mick Starkey, and was also a friend, was not contacted by Ingrid Lee or any of the detectives working on Newgreen. That may be accounted for by the fact that Lee has been the subject of an outside police force investigation concerning irregularities in the election for Police and Crime Commissioner that almost saw Cedric Christie, on a controversial anti-corruption ticket, beat the established political placemen. Indeed, without Lee’s alleged interference that defeat may well have been a victory. There is, understandably, considerable personal apathy between former colleagues Ms Lee and Mr Christie, but that should not have clouded her judgement and precluded Mr Christie from the Savile enquiry.

2. The report strangely refers to Mick Starkey as Inspector “A” and Matthew Appleyard as Sergeant “B” when the world and his wife knows exactly who “A” and “B” are. It undermines the the rest of report’s credibility and puts the police in the position of regarding the citizens of West Yorkshire as plainly stupid. It totally ignores the well known proposition that Starkey was regarded by Savile as his “personal bodyguard and chauffeur”. Appleyard’s explanation of why he was in the Friday Morning Club also bears little scrutiny. He was a community constable for the Wetherby village of Linton, not the Leeds suburb of Roundhay where Savile’s penthouse flat is located. It also fails to address the issue that, if the management edict and Appleyard’s own rationale was to establish links with the community by “having a cup of tea”, how many others on his beat did Appleyard visit on this basis and why did it take nine (now mysteriously reduced to eight) police officers to establish such links with Savile on a regular basis. The whole explanation by West Yorkshire Police is nonsensical and brings the entire force into disrepute. It would also help the report’s overall credibility if it had identified the police force for whom the ninth officer worked, if it was not West Yorkshire Police.

3a. On the subject of Appleyard, nowhere in the Operation Newgreen report can reference be found to his original claim that he was “off-duty” when visiting Savile. This was broadcast stridently by the police press office in October 2012. It was only when uPSD discovered that officers were on-duty at the Friday Morning Club and publicised the fact on its website that West Yorkshire Police changed their tune. Mick Starkey was also on-duty when visiting the Club, as he was on other occasions in the company of Savile. If Appleyard and Starkey can go unchallenged on something as basic as whether or not they were on duty, or not, the rest of their account isn’t worth tuppence, in the local vernacular. The inquiry is also further massively undermined as it fails completely to mention the fact that Appleyard and Starkey were regularly invited by Savile to attend “posh dinners” and they were described as part of a close group of Savile’s “true friends”.

3b. It is also worth noting that Mick Starkey spent the last few years of his police, and later civilian, career at Killingbeck Police Station. It was here, in the sports and social club on the basement floor of the station, that Savile was invited to inaugurate a new climbing frame in the club’s gymnasium. The very same gym that became nationally famous for the “sex in the sauna” scandal involving DCI Liz Belton and two of her lovers Sgt Chris Beddis and C/Supt Ian Whitehouse. [Sgt Beddis was actually her husband, C/Supt Whitehouse became her long term partner soon afterwards]. Killingbeck Police Station [now closed] itself is also now notorious as the “cesspit” police station as can be read in full detail here. That report includes details of a number of other sex perverts that were based at the police station close to Savile’s home, and a hospital with whom he was strongly affiliated through fund-raising. A startling footnote to this Starkey narrative is a quote from him in the Yorkshire Evening Post in November 2011: “I feel privileged to have known the real Jimmy and learnt such a lot from him.” The reporter who wrote the piece, Alison Bellamy, was also Savile’s authorised biographer and, as a consequence, knew him very well.

3c. One of the two serving officers – Appleyard or Starkey – was approached by a complainant against Savile and he told her he was “a personal friend of Savile’s and that Jimmy gets so many of these type of complaints”. Which would beg the question that if there were so many of these complaints why didn’t Appleyard or Starkey (or both) do something about them, such as recording them and having them properly investigated? It begs the further question that if there were all these complaints made and acknowledged by Appleyard/Starkey, why are West Yorkshire Police claiming they have no records of those complaints. Or, put plainly, were they torn up by police officers as Savile himself has claimed on a number of occasions [There is no suggestion that either Appleyard or Starkey were involved in that class of conduct]? West Yorkshire Police had computerised intelligence systems since 1993 and a specialised Sexual Offences Intelligence Officer from 1998 onwards, so their failure to amass, collate, analyse and disseminate intelligence (all standard investigative functions) is wholly inexplicable. Is it also true that officers closely involved with Savile [not necessarily Appleyard or Starkey who deny any or all impropriety] unlawfully used the PNC computers, or forensic science services, to check out complainants as Savile has also alleged? The report fails to dispose of that public interest aspect as well.

3d. The close call, and a fear of being caught, after an incident with a young girl’s parents in their caravan in Scarborough caused Savile to use his own properties to prey on young girls from then on. He said in his own book: “Eventually it was business as usual but friends will tell you that since that day I never, ever operate outside my own four walls.” Were any police officers who were part of his small, close-knit group of friends, amongst those to whom he confided about this incident and his modus operandi, thereafter. The Newgreen report fails to disclose whether these type of questions were even asked of any of that group.

3e. By his own written account, Savile was close to some of the north’s most nefarious underworld faces, not least members of Manchester’s infamous Quality Street Gang, a close parallel to London’s Kray brothers. He claimed to have taken control of Manchester “below the legal line”. In order words, engaging in criminal activity. There were also accounts of Savile being involved in protection rackets in Leeds and beyond. Whilst those associations may have diminished or ended – or been concealed more carefully as his fame grew – did any of his group of police friends ever stop to consider the type of individual they were associating themselves with as on-duty officers of the law? Did the West Yorkshire Police detectives ask the question? We doubt it. There is certainly no reference to it in the report.

4. The report claims that it cannot find any links between Savile and the Yorkshire Ripper enquiry. uPSD contend the reason for that is they haven’t looked in the right places – and because they don’t want to embarrass themselves further. Check out the uPSD piece on this subject by clicking on this link here. In this context it is also useful to consider that Savile largely fits the profile of a psychopath according to the textbook Hare Psychopathy Checklist. Something that may have escaped the attention of Ripper detectives and, according to their own account, didn’t arouse the suspicions of West Yorkshire Police officers at the Friday Morning Club.

5. Another link that Ingrid Lee and her team would rather not make is that the Leeds Community Safety Officer connected with Savile in the promotion of their Talking Signs campaign, and at the ensuing award ceremony, was none other than subsequently convicted sex offender, Sergeant Ian Poskitt. It doesn’t require great detective skills as Googling the names of the two produces a photograph of them together. West Yorkshire Police went to remarkable lengths to conceal previous indecent exposure offences committed by Poskitt, before he was finally prosecuted after the third offence. Read more here. The victim of those flashings was very upset with the way the police handled the entire matter. That will not be helped by the publication of the Operation Newgreen investigation.

6. The question of the gift to Savile by West Yorkshire Police officers, an inscribed ornamental lighter is simply not addressed by Operation Newgreen and we will ascribe that to the collective amnesia that has afflicted so many of their fellow officers, and former colleagues. It was allegedly the same detectives that investigated allegations that Savile assaulted two young girls in the 1980’s. The Force said there was no record of an investigation taking place, but have referred the matter to the IPCC (for another coat of whitewash) as “the information has come from a retired police officer who was clear in his assertion that an investigation was conducted into Savile“.

7. A separate IPCC referral relates to an anonymous letter sent to Scotland Yard in 1998, which was forwarded to West Yorkshire Police. It claimed Savile had a “secret life” and was a “deeply committed paedophile”. The Operation Newgreen team spoke to the Metropolitan police officer who is believed to have sent the letter to West Yorkshire Police by fax. He told them he had sent a number of other letters “of a similar nature” to the force, but the report said searches by West Yorkshire and the Metropolitan Police (MPS) did not manage to locate them. uPSD can assist here as West Yorkshire Police has a shocking record at “losing evidence” – possibly the worst in the country – and we only need cite the similar fact instance of three faxed letters going missing from an ex Notts Constabulary officer who was complaining about the vexed question of phone hacking in May 2010. It took until September 2011 for the Force to admit in writing it had “lost” those faxes despite absolute proof, via a forensic trail, they had been received [the chief inspector who lost them is now a chief constable with a force in the North West]. uPSD could also write a book on other West Yorkshire Police missing or doctored evidence as witnessed by the fact that this website now runs to 109 pages.

8. The allegations that Savile “bribed” West Yorkshire Police officers, which have been aired on BBC Radio 5 and other media outlets, have not been addressed by the report. If there is no foundation to the claims, or nobody is owning up to receiving gifts, money or hospitality from Savile, then this should have been dealt with accordingly. The other form of perceived bribery engaged in by Savile would concern him bragging that he would “take police officers down with him” if he was charged with offences. It is a further indication of the highly selective nature of the entire “investigation” that reference to this key aspect has been omitted.

9. Another crucial and, uPSD believe, deliberate omission in the Report is any reference whatsoever to the paedophile ring in Leeds that was uncovered in Leeds in 1985, and involved 120 girls in a child sex vice ring. This is acknowledged in a press report and the matter was investigated by Leeds City Council’s Bernard Atha, who was Social Services Chairman of the Council at the time. It also caused the late Merlyn Rees the MP for Leeds South at the time to write to the Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, such was his concern (read more here). This is what Labour Cllr Atha had to say about Savile, his friend over several decades, a week after his death: “A number of us (Councillors) will consider what we ought to do to commemorate a person who was an outstanding personality, a very nice, decent person who had an enormous impact on our cultural life, including the world of pop music. He was quite exceptional, yet he was a local Leeds lad and always insisted on that.” uPSD can trace no outcome of Cllr Atha’s enquiries into the paedophile ring and neither have West Yorkshire Police. It is also worth noting that Cllr Les Carter, also of Leeds and a 40 year colleague of Mr Atha, was Vice Chair, and then Chair, of a West Yorkshire Police Authority that was in total denial about police paedophilia within the force’s ranks. Cllr Carter was also the Chair of the Safer Leeds Board that engaged Savile to promote the Talking Signs campaign referred to above. [No wrongdoing by either Mr Carter or Mr Atha is asserted or implied]

10. Savile, in his 1974 autobiography writes of an incident at the Mecca Locarno ballroom in County Arcade, central Leeds, where he worked as a DJ during the 1950s, when a female police officer came in with a photograph of “an attractive girl who had run away from a remand home”. Savile gloats: “‘Ah,’ says I all serious, ‘if she comes in I’ll bring her back tomorrow but I’ll keep her all night first as my reward’.” He then writes that the girl did go into the club and “agreed that I hand her over if she could stay at the dance, and come home with me”. He wrote that he did then hand her over to the “lady of the law…who was dissuaded from bringing charges against me by her colleagues, for it was well known that were I to go I would probably take half the station with me”. This rates not a word of mention in the Operation Newgreen inquiry, nor do the allegations that Savile used to tie people up and hand out punishment beatings in the boiler room of the same dance hall, in full knowledge of the police. In Savile’s own written words he was “judge, jury and executioner”.

11. ACC Ingrid Lee is a long standing company director of a property management operation registered in Leeds called Oree Activite Ltd. Its activities appear to be connected to letting of properties in Southern Spain. uPSD have identified a number of retired senior West Yorkshire Police officers amongst the list of other Directors. They mainly operated in the Leeds area during their time in service, which may have brought them into contact with Savile either directly, or indirectly. The contention is that Lee should have declared her position in this context, otherwise the suspicion remains that a thorough warts and all investigation has not been carried out under her remit.

12. Another glaring omission from Operation Newgreen is the word Freemason. Savile was allegedly a Freemason. According to a BBC photograph which we have seen, a significant number who attended his funeral did so in what appears to be full Lodge regalia (it has also been suggested that this may be Catholic Church regalia) and had prominent roles in the proceedings. We also have viewed photographs of Savile delivering the famous Masonic “funny handshake” to both Frank Bruno and HRH Prince Charles. How many of the Newgreen investigating officers are Freemasons and how many of the officers attending the Friday Morning Club are/were Freemasons. Simple enough stuff and it is what the victims and the wider public really need to understand about the police protection Savile received in his lifetime – and is that now still in operation after his death?

13. Lastly, but very definitely most importantly, the report is completely silent on the issue of paedophiles operating within West Yorkshire Police. The uPSD toll is now up to ten and we have had to work hard to chisel out a lot of the details from a Force in complete denial on the subject. Our own report into their child abusers known, so far, can be viewed by clicking here. More chillingly, uPSD is currently sitting on reports that a police paedophile/pornography ring operated unchecked in a West Yorkshire market town for many years and that the infrastructure may still be in place. Our informant had to leave the area for his own safety some years ago.

“No-one has summarised the failings of West Yorkshire Police over Operation Newgreen, or the feelings of the wider public, better than the redoubtable and often magnificent Fleet Street Fox, Susie Boniface, who says in a viperous piece for the Daily Mirror:-

“’All it takes, when justice bends its blindfolded eyes on the thin blue line, is for those that uphold it to do the same as decent people everywhere when caught out – to hold up their hands, to say sorry, to empathise with their victims rather than cover their arses. Too often the boys in blue cover their arses, deny quite obvious guilt and do all they can to ensure the public lose faith in them, criminals laugh at them, and people who want to abuse children learn just how they can get away with it.

‘But let’s not be too down on them. It takes a great deal of PR skill and cunning to make Jimmy Savile look like an honest man. Somehow, West Yorkshire Police have managed it. At least he admitted some of his crimes and corruption in his book, while the coppers insist it was not their fault those 68 victims didn’t trust them. Well done them. They’re almost as disgraceful as he was”.

“The full text of the West Yorkshire Police Operation Newgreen Inquiry Report can be read by clicking here. The police have now clearly weathered the short-lived mainstream media storm – and its back to cover-up business as usual”.

The perennial business of covering up by WYP that spawned two new articles as recently as over the past weekend. Read more here and here.

Page last updated at 0945hrs on Tuesday 2nd November, 2021

Corrections: Please let me know if there is a mistake in this article. I will endeavour to correct it as soon as possible.

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Photo credit: BBC – Howard Silverman

© Neil Wilby 2015-2021. Unauthorised use, or reproduction, of the material contained in this article, without permission from the author, is strictly prohibited. Extracts from, and links to, the article (or blog) may be used, provided that credit is given to Neil Wilby, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Published by Neil Wilby

Former Johnston Press area managing director. Justice campaigner. Freelance investigative journalist.

One thought on “‘There are none so blind as those that will not see’

  1. From my own standpoint, I can fully understand that if West Yorkshire Police want to protect some people that are criminals and convict other people that are not criminals, that is their operational choice.

    My younger brother, Cedric, was an honest Cop which is a problem in West Yorkshire Police and he suffered as a result. So have I.

    In August 2008, Supt (as she was then) Ingrid Lee investigated DI Cedric Christie regarding spurious allegations of falsifying overtime accounts of Cedric’s team, conduct of Cedric’s investigations in Operation Fern, and having an investment with me in a development called Zakros, in Crete, of £100,000, at that time, with three businessmen. None of those complaints investigated by Supt Lee were upheld against Cedric and he retired with an exemplary record certificate

    As in that misconduct investigation, the disclosure of the truth about keeping Jimmy Savile at large, and surrounding the £3.5 million of drugs back on the street, there appears to be flaws in her thinking, methods and oversight.

    The worst ever UK Police fraud investigation into a single offender is mine, it’s called Operation Laggan. Retired DI Christie drew alleged high level corruption in West Yorkshire Police to the attention of Mr Tempest-Mitchell and CC Parkinson in 2012 and they both agreed there was merit in what he said, but Cedric reports that they also told him that they could not do anything about it.

    So West Yorkshire Police are where they are and I am where I am in a law abiding country (Greece) with a first class police service that cleared me of the same crimes as Operation Laggan here in Crete in a criminal trial in 2013.


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