UK entertainer arrested in Savile-BBC scandal

Police arrest comedian Freddie Starr as part of inquiry into sex abuse claims against Jimmy Savile.

    Starr has denied allegations he groped a 14-year-old girl while in a room with Savile [GALLO/GETTY]
    Starr has denied allegations he groped a 14-year-old girl while in a room with Savile [GALLO/GETTY]

    British police have arrested comedian Freddie Starr as part of an investigation triggered by allegations that late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile sexually abused hundreds of children, media reported.

    Police said in a statement on Thursday they had arrested a man in his 60s on suspicion of sex offences. The man was identified by Sky News and ITV News as Starr, who earlier had offered to talk to police.

    Starr has denied allegation he groped a 14-year-old girl while in a room with Savile

    The allegations have shaken Britain's state-funded broadcaster with hundreds of people now coming forward to report abuse dating back over several decades by Savile, a household name in Britain.

    Lawyers representing some of the victims have said their clients indicated an organised paedophile ring involving celebrities existed at the BBC during the height of Savile's fame in the 1970s and 1980s.

    On Sunday, police arrested glam rock singer and convicted sex offender Gary Glitter, born Paul Gadd, as part of the Savile investigation. He was released on bail.

    George Entwistle, the BBC director general, and his predecessor Mark Thompson, the incoming Chief Executive Officer of the New York Times Company, have come under heavy criticism for their handling of suspicions about Savile.

    At a recent parliamentary hearing Entwistle rejected claims that BBC bosses tried to hide allegations against Savile or suppressed an inquiry by one of their own news programmes.

    Thompson, who was still director general in late 2011 when BBC's Newsnight shelved a report investigating the allegations against Savile, has said he did not know about the programme's investigation and had no involvement in the decision to axe the report.

    Questions raised

    The scandal has attracted attention in the United States, where Thompson's appointment at The New York Times has been questioned by senior journalists at the newspaper, who have accused him of involvement in a cover-up to protect his former employer's reputation.

    Thompson has said he had approached his new employers to explain his role at the BBC and why he had not dealt with such an issue, despite being the director general and editor-in-chief of the world-renowned organisation.

    Prime Minister David Cameron has said the sex abuse allegations leave the BBC and other institutions with serious questions to answer.

    The revelations have shocked fans of the once highly popular Savile, who died last year at the age of 84, as one of Britain's most prolific sex offenders.

    In a sign of preparation for claims, his $6.93 m estate has been frozen in response to the allegations.


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