SAVILE REPORT: Claire MacAlpine, Tony Blackburn. (updated)

(updated 1st march 2016)

 

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Now Tony Blackburn’s lawyer threatens to sue Tony Hall himself claiming BBC boss misled the public over DJ’s sacking

  • Tony Blackburn was sacked last week with release of Savile abuse inquiry
  • Star threatening to sue Lord Hall over claims he lied to Dame Janet Smith
  • Blackburn’s solicitor Martin Howe also now claims Hall lied about his firm
  • Claims he ‘misled’ public over Blackburn sacking and demanded apology

Tony Blackburn’s lawyer has now threatened to launch his own legal claim against Lord Hall over false claims made about him and his legal firm.

Martin Howe demanded the BBC director general retract statements made about him and his client Tony Blackburn, who has also threatened to sue over the same interview.

The dispute is over comments made by Lord Hall alleging that Mr Blackburn lied to Dame Janet Smith, who led the Savile review, and that Mr Howe advised her not to believe him.

Tony Blackburn (pictured) has threatened to sue Lord Hall, the BBC director general, over claims that he may have lied to Dame Janet Smith, who led the Savile review

Tony Blackburn (pictured) has threatened to sue Lord Hall, the BBC director general, over claims that he may have lied to Dame Janet Smith, who led the Savile review

Now his solicitor, Martin Howe, has also threatened to sue Lord Hall (pictured) unless he makes an 'unequivocal public apology' over false statements made about him and his firm

Now his solicitor, Martin Howe, has also threatened to sue Lord Hall (pictured) unless he makes an ‘unequivocal public apology’ over false statements made about him and his firm

Mr Howe has demanded an ‘unequivocal public apology’ and alleges that Lord Hall ‘misled the public’ over why Mr Blackburn was sacked, reports The Mirror

The Radio 2 star, who was sacked last week, landed in St Lucia on Sunday after giving his bosses a 48-hour time limit to apologise for comments made by Lord Hall over the Savile review.

In an interview, the peer claimed that Dame Janet Smith had not believed Mr Blackburn’s evidence surrounding an alleged incident with 15-year-old Claire McAlpine, who later committed suicide.

The DJ has always strenuously denied seducing Ms McAlpine, a Top Of The Pops dancer from Hertfordshire. But he was sacked by the corporation following the publication of the inquiry because his evidence apparently fell short of BBC standards


Getting away from it all: Sacked DJ Tony Blackburn arrives in St Lucia for a holiday after threatening to sue the BBC over child abuse slur unless he gets an apology today

Sacked DJ Tony Blackburn has arrived in St Lucia for a getaway holiday with his wife as his feud with the BBC over a child abuse inquiry continues.

The Radio 2 star, who was sacked last week, landed in the Caribbean island last night after giving his bosses a 48-hour time limit to apologise for comments made by Lord Hall over the Savile review.

In an interview, the peer claimed that Dame Janet Smith, who led the inquiry, had not believed Mr Blackburn’s evidence surrounding an alleged incident with 15-year-old Claire McAlpine, who later committed suicide.

The DJ has always strenuously denied seducing Ms McAlpine, a Top Of The Pops dancer from Hertfordshire. But he was sacked by the corporation following the publication of the inquiry because his evidence apparently fell short of BBC standards.

Sacked DJ Tony Blackburn has arrived in St Lucia for a getaway holiday with his wife as his feud with the BBC over a child abuse inquiry continues

Sacked DJ Tony Blackburn has arrived in St Lucia for a getaway holiday with his wife as his feud with the BBC over a child abuse inquiry continues

The Radio 2 star, who was sacked last week, landed in the Caribbean island last night after giving his bosses a 48-hour time limit to apologise for comments made by Lord Hall over the Savile review

The Radio 2 star, who was sacked last week, landed in the Caribbean island last night after giving his bosses a 48-hour time limit to apologise for comments made by Lord Hall over the Savile review

Following claims by Lord Hall that Dame Janet ‘rejects’ his evidence, Mr Blackburn reportedly sent a formal defamation warning the boss that he faces legal action unless he apologises.

He and his wife Debbie are now expected to spend some time in St Lucia, waiting for the furore around his sacking to blow over.

A source close to Blackburn reportedly told The Mirror: ‘This will go all the way unless Hall apologises by the end of Monday’.

The issue surrounds claims that Mr Blackburn attended two interviews about the 1971 suicide of Miss McAlpine. The teenager wrote in her diary that Blackburn had seduced her before committing suicide.

But, as well as denying any abuse, Mr Blackburn denies going to any interviews and says he has been made a ‘scapegoat’.

Last week, Lord Hall said Dame Janet rejected that evidence. He also claimed that Mr Blackburn’s solicitor Martin Howe had advised the judge to believe the documents in front of her, as opposed to Mr Blackburn’s testimony.

Mr Howe is also reportedly bringing a defamation claim against Lord Hall for that allegation.

BBC Radio 2 head Bob Shennan
Sacked: Veteran BBC DJ Tony Blackburn, pictured outside his home on Thursday
 Sacked: Veteran BBC DJ Tony Blackburn, pictured right outside his home on Thursday, was sacked last week because his evidence to the Savile inquiry ‘fell short’ of the standards the BBC demanded. Pictured top is BBC Radio 2 head Bob Shennan

Mr Blackburn denies ever being interviewed about the sexual abuse and subsequent suicide of dancer Claire McAlpine, 15, in 1971, but Lord Hall (pictured) suggested in an interview that Dame Smith ‘rejects his evidence’



Judge who led BBC sex probe insists he DID interview Tony Blackburn over claims DJ seduced 15-year-old… but says he thinks star was not guilty of abuse 

  • Lord Justice Sir Brian Neill QC yesterday said he stood by his 1972 report
  • He rejected the DJ’s claims he was never quizzed over the allegations 
  • Sir Brian’s low-key investigation cleared DJ Tony Blackburn of involvement with 15-year-old Claire McAlpine

The senior judge who led a BBC probe into claims Tony Blackburn seduced a 15-year-old girl has rejected the DJ’s claims he was never quizzed over the allegations.

Retired Lord Justice Sir Brian Neill QC yesterday said he stood by his 1972 report, adding it was ‘quite inconceivable’ he had not personally questioned the Radio 2 presenter.

Speaking from his London home, the 92-year-old told the Mail: ‘Of course I can remember [interviewing Blackburn] … It is written in my report.’

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The senior judge who led a BBC probe into claims Tony Blackburn (pictured) seduced a 15-year-old girl has rejected the DJ's claims he was never quizzed over the allegations

The senior judge who led a BBC probe into claims Tony Blackburn (pictured) seduced a 15-year-old girl has rejected the DJ’s claims he was never quizzed over the allegations

He continued: ‘All I can say is that I was asked by the BBC to investigate various allegations and one of them was an allegation against a man who has now been identified as A7 [Blackburn]. I interviewed him … and said that I didn’t think he was involved.’

Asked if he could have interviewed an agent or manager instead of Blackburn himself, Sir Brian replied: ‘No’.

The former Lord Justice of Appeal continued: ‘It is extremely unlikely as I was asked to see someone called Tony Blackburn, when a very serious allegation was made, and I was investigating it on behalf of the BBC.’

Sir Brian’s low-key investigation cleared Blackburn of involvement with 15-year-old Claire McAlpine, who claimed to have been seduced by the Top Of The Pops presenter – and another unnamed star – in her personal diary.

The keen dancer was regarded by some as a ‘fantasist’ and is thought to have killed herself shortly after the claims became known to her family.

Blackburn, 73, was sacked after refusing to concede he had ever met Sir Brian or Bill Cotton, a senior corporation executive, over the sexual allegations.

Ms Gold said Claire McAlpine slept with a 'world famous' singer after she was picked out by roadies on Top of the Pops

Ms Gold (left) said Miss McAlpine, (right) a Savile victim, slept with a ‘world famous’ singer after being picked out by roadies but became ‘terrified’ at the thought of being pregnant and later killed herself with an overdose

Ms Gold, pictured second left, said she was willing to name the star to help 'Claire's voice be heard'

Ms Gold, pictured second left, said she was willing to name the star to help ‘Claire’s voice be heard’

Blackburn's unequivocal denials about the meeting were also dismissed by Dame Janet Smith, who led the probe into Jimmy Savile's (pictured) reign of terror at the BBC, leading to the termination of his £200,000 per annum contract

Blackburn’s unequivocal denials about the meeting were also dismissed by Dame Janet Smith, who led the probe into Jimmy Savile’s (pictured) reign of terror at the BBC, leading to the termination of his £200,000 per annum contract.

Last night, lawyers representing Blackburn threatened BBC director-general Lord Hall with a defamation suit for his comments over the DJ’s dismissal. In a sign of increasingly fractious relations between Blackburn and his long-time employer, a source warned that Lord Hall had until the end of today to respond to the letter of claim.

‘They are looking for him to go on the Six O’Clock News to make the apology’, the source added. ‘There will be legal action for the wrongful termination of contract as well.’

But last night Sir Brian confirmed he had talked to Blackburn ‘in the presence of a man called Cotton’, in another apparent blow to Blackburn’s credibility. Sir Brian said the DJ’s emphatic denial of ever meeting him was particularly peculiar – since he was in fact cleared of any suspicion in the report.

He added: ‘It’s a very odd thing that I in fact came to a favourable result [for him] … and he denies I ever saw him.’

And while he acknowledged his memory of the events had faded, he said: ‘I rely on what is written in my report.’

In it he had recorded the interview with Blackburn, writing that the DJ ‘told me that the girl had come to see him on several occasions and had invented stories for the purpose of getting access to him.

‘He said she seemed to him in a sort of fantasy world but that she had not made any sexual advances of any kind.

Blackburn, 73, was sacked after refusing to concede he had ever met Sir Brian or Bill Cotton, a senior corporation executive, over the sexual allegations

Blackburn, 73, was sacked after refusing to concede he had ever met Sir Brian or Bill Cotton, a senior corporation executive, over the sexual allegations

Last night, lawyers representing Blackburn threatened BBC director-general Lord Hall (pictured) with a defamation suit for his comments over the DJ's dismissal

Last night, lawyers representing Blackburn threatened BBC director-general Lord Hall (pictured) with a defamation suit for his comments over the DJ’s dismissal

A source warned that Lord Hall had until the end of today to respond to the letter of claim

Blackburn’s unequivocal denials about the meeting were also dismissed by Dame Janet Smith, who led the probe into Jimmy Savile’s reign of terror at the BBC, leading to the termination of his £200,000 per annum contract.

BBC director-general Lord Hall explained the decision, saying: ‘Tony Blackburn was interviewed, according to the records, according to her belief, by two people. Dame Janet rejects his evidence to this inquiry. That’s serious.’

On Saturday, Blackburn maintained he ‘had never even met Brian Neill’, before claiming yesterday that he was offered the chance to resign and return to work ‘in a few months’ before he was sacked.

‘I’d no choice but to deny all knowledge of an investigation because there wasn’t one,’ Blackburn said.

Sir Brian added: ‘I don’t know why the BBC did it [sack him], I don’t know why he denies it [being interviewed].’

Last month, Sir Brian said how he had been prevented from filing a full report due to lack of support from the police.

Instead, he issued a short interim report which cleared Blackburn of involvement with Claire McAlpine, but Dame Janet said the probe was ‘substantially hampered by the inadequacy of the internal BBC investigation’.

A representative said Blackburn ‘stands absolutely by what he told Dame Janet’.

Blackburn thanked fans as he introduced his Retro Countdown show on Kent-based KMFM yesterday afternoon, saying: ‘Thank you very much for all your support this week.’

 OTHER RELATED


‘World famous’ singer seduced Savile victim, 15, at centre of Tony Blackburn sacking scandal, says her friend who vows she’ll name him

  • Kelly Gold, 60, claims star singer slept with Claire McAlpine, 15, in 1971

  • Ms Gold said she would name the musician to help police investigate 

  • The teenager alleged she had sex with DJ Tony Blackburn in her diary 

  • She was later found dead at her Watford home after taking an overdose

  • Blackburn was sacked by the BBC last week but denies the allegation 

imageimage

Kelly Gold, pictured left, ringed, and Claire McAlpine, pictured right ringed, with Jimmy Savile, right, dancing on an episode of Top of the Pops in the early 1970s

She said Miss McAlpine was picked out by a roadie on the music show and was taken back to a hotel by the star where she spent the night.

The former nurse decided to speak out after a £6million BBC inquiry did not look into a series of allegations in Miss McAlpine’s diary.

Ms Gold told the Sunday Mirror: ‘Claire’s voice needs to be heard and her death fully investigated. Several people involved in abusing her are still alive.

‘She has been labelled a fantasist in a bid to cover up what happened. She would still be alive today if they had listened to her.’

Ms Gold, who claims she was groped by Savile as a teenager, said girls would be given alcohol in a BBC bar after being picked out by staff, while teenagers were told to dress in hotpants and mini-skirts for live recordings.

 Ms Gold said Claire McAlpine slept with a 'world famous' singer after she was picked out by roadies on Top of the Pops

She said Miss McAlpine became terrified at the thought of being pregnant after the encounter and later killed herself

Ms Gold said Miss McAlpine, pictured, a Savile victim, slept with a ‘world famous’ singer after being picked out by roadies but became ‘terrified’ at the thought of being pregnant and later killed herself with an overdose.

Ms Gold, pictured second left, said she was willing to name the star to help 'Claire's voice be heard'   Ms Gold, pictured second left, said she was willing to name the star to help ‘Claire’s voice be heard’

She appeared with Miss McAlpine on an episode of Top of the Pops in the early 1970s and was pictured dancing near to presenter Savile.

Ms Gold said she gave an alibi to her friend the night she went back to a West London hotel with the superstar singer.

She said she initially felt ‘jealous’ when the teenager returned from Savile’s room and announced she was going for a drink with the unnamed star.

Nevertheless she told Miss McAlpine’s mother Vera that they would be staying together at her home in Clapham, South London.  Ex-BBC DJ Tony Blackburn, pictured, denies having 'seduced' Miss McAlpine in 1971 as claimed in her diary    Ex-BBC DJ Tony Blackburn, pictured, denies having ‘seduced’ Miss McAlpine in 1971 as claimed in her diary.   Blackburn, top row second left, and Savile, bottom row third right, pictured on Top of the Pops  Blackburn, top row second left, and Savile, bottom row third right, pictured on Top of the Pops

Watch 1st Vid Here

Ms Gold told the Mirror: ‘Over the years I’ve thought about the alibi I gave her for that night and I wish I hadn’t. Within a couple of weeks, she was dead.’

Weeks later she saw the diary which details allegations against Blackburn among others, and said she read her friend’s account of the evening.

Ms Gold read her friend had dinner with the star before sleeping with him, and then became ‘terrified at the thought of being pregnant’.

She believes that fear may be what led Miss McAlpine to take a fatal pills overdose at her home in Watford.

Ms Gold also described her alleged groping at the hands of Savile, claiming he ‘dragged her down onto his knee’ before putting his hand up her dress.

 Blackburn pictured at the BBC in the 1970s shortly before his wedding to Tessa WyattTony Blackburn pictured at his Hertfordshire home after his BBC sacking

 Blackburn, pictured left in the 1970s, and right in the present day, said he had slept with ‘500 women’ but it was ‘always consensual’ and he had never inappropriately touched anyone

Watch 2nd Vid here

She said she managed to pull herself away before there was a call for everyone to go back to the set.

Ex-BBC DJ Blackburn was sacked by the BBC after 50 years with the company last week, shortly before Dame Janet Smith’s review was published.

He has admitted sleeping with hundreds of women during his lifetime but strongly denies ever seducing Miss McAlpine.

He said every woman he slept with was a ‘consenting adult’ and he had never inappropriately touched or hurt anyone.  Dame Janet Smith, pictured, presented her review into the Savile sexual abuse scandal last week    Dame Janet Smith, pictured, presented her review into the Savile sexual abuse scandal last week

Blackburn contends that he was never so much as questioned about the allegation by his bosses.

However, Dame Janet chose to believe that his evidence was flawed and the BBC accepted her view.

A BBC memo, which emerged into the public domain last week, recorded that Blackburn was interviewed by Bill Cotton, Head of Light Entertainment, over the allegation and ‘flatly denied’ the accusation that he had slept with the girl.

Claire McAlpine subsequently withdrew her allegation against Blackburn.

THE STORY SO FAR:

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SCANDAL

  • Fifteen-year-old Claire McAlpine’s four visits to live recordings of Top Of The Pops were chronicled in a diary, found by her mother, Vera, in early 1971. In it was a disturbing claim that after a show, the teenager said she’d met Tony Blackburn, who invited her back to his flat in West London and seduced her.
  • The claim prompted Mrs McAlpine to call the BBC, saying ‘something had to be done’.
  • Ten days after the complaint, a BBC memo, which emerged yesterday, records that Blackburn was interviewed by Bill Cotton, then the Head of Light Entertainment, and ‘flatly denied’ the accusation that he had slept with the girl.
  • A few weeks after Mrs McAlpine’s complaint, Claire withdrew her allegation.
  • On March 30, 1971, Claire was found dead on the floor of her bedroom. Inside her diary was a suicide note, which read: ‘Don’t laugh at me for being dramatic, but I just can’t take it any more.’
  • Claire’s mother passed the diary to Scotland Yard, who did not question or identify the DJ or other celebrities she named, dismissing the contents as the work of a young woman unconnected with reality.
  • An inquest, days after Claire’s death, also ignored the diary, and concluded her ‘mind was disturbed’.
  • Between 1971 and 1972, lawyer Brian Neill was instructed to investigate a string of scandals surrounding Top Of The Pops. He interviewed 15 people connected with the BBC including, it is claimed, Tony Blackburn. Blackburn insists he never met Brian Neill.
  • In 2013, Blackburn gave a formal interview to the Savile inquiry. When asked by Dame Janet Smith whether he was ever made aware of Mrs McAlpine’s complaint against him, he said he was not. He also denied ever being interviewed by Bill Cotton.
  • Dame Janet concluded Blackburn ‘could offer no explanation’ for the existence of the memo. She said Blackburn later accepted: ‘I might prefer the documentary evidence to his recollection.’



Dame Janet concluded

Blackburn “could offer no explanation” for the existence of the memo and he later told her through his solicitor that she “might well prefer” the documentary evidence.

BBC director-general Lord Hall said after Blackburn’s sacking: “My interpretation is that Tony fell short of the standards of evidence that such an inquiry demanded.”

But in an interview aired on BBC Radio 4 today, the DJ said: “I can only say that I told the truth. The whole thing baffles me.”

Furious wife Deborah added in a separate interview: “They’ve tainted his character and it’s grossly unfair. The whole thing stinks.”

Tony Blackburn: My disgust at ‘despicable’ Savile

14 Oct 2012

BBC DJ Tony Blackburn has described former colleague Jimmy Savile as “vile and despicable” as it emerged that his alleged catalogue of abuse could have spanned six decades and included around 60 victims.

Blackburn, who presented shows on Radio 1 during Savile’s time at the station and still has a Radio 2 show, said he was “disgusted beyond words” at his former colleague’s alleged actions, and said it would be to his “eternal regret” that he was allowed to get away with his behaviour.

In a statement Mr Blackburn said:

“I am disgusted beyond words at the vile, despicable actions of Jimmy Savile. As the father of a 15-year-old daughter myself, I can only imagine the pain that the young women, men and their families have lived with over the decadesI have nothing but admiration for the bravery they have shown in living with this pain and with which they are now able to come forward and speak about what went on. Whilst it is a tragedy that Jimmy Savile is not alive to face the justice that he deserves to face, I only hope that the victims are able to get some comfort from the fact that their stories are now being heard and believed.”

Mr Blackburn said he had never viewed Savile as a friend, saying: “He was not a nice man, despite how the public viewed him at the peak of his success. There were always rumours circulating about him, the problem at the time was that rumour was always hard to translate in to fact. Jimmy Savile was a master manipulator of the press and would do what he could to keep his image held high in the public conscience. It will be to the eternal regret of me and, I’m sure, so many of my BBC colleagues that he was allowed to get away with these monstrous acts. All of us who worked at the BBC during the time of these heinous crimes owe it to the victims to speak to the police and the BBC Investigations Unit and help them in any way we can.”

A senior member of staff at the BBC has revealed he questioned Savile over rumours about his private life more than 20 years ago.

Derek Chinnery, who as Radio 1 controller from 1978 to 1985 was Savile’s boss, admitted that he quizzed the presenter directly about the rumours of suspected abuse.

Mr Chinnery told BBC Radio 4: “I asked, ‘what’s all this, these rumours we hear about you Jimmy?’ And he said, ‘that’s all nonsense’. There was no reason to disbelieve (Savile).”

Savile worked at Radio 1 from 1969 to 1989 presenting a show of chart songs from previous decades.

Speaking about his acceptance of Savile’s denial, Mr Chinnery told the BBC: “It’s easy now to say how could you just believe him just like that.”
He added: “He was the sort of man that attracted rumours, after all, because he was single, he was always on the move, he was always going around the country.”

The scandal has mushroomed since ITV screened a documentary in which five women alleged they were abused by the late DJ and broadcaster, and now Scotland Yard says there are allegations stretching between 1959 and 2006.

Commander Peter Spindler, head of Scotland Yard’s specialist crime investigations, said last night:

“We can now confirm that we have received information from the public that suggest allegations against Jimmy Savile span six decades with reports starting in 1959 up to and including 2006. Having now had the opportunity to review progress one week on I have revised my estimate of the number of likely victims to be about 60. Once again I want to thank those who have come forward and reassure them, and anyone else who contacts us, they will be listened to.”

Scotland Yard is pursuing 340 lines of inquiry in the Savile abuse case and so far 12 allegations of sexual offences have been officially recorded but this number is increasing, police said.
Metropolitan Police detectives are in contact with 14 other forces as the number of allegations against the former DJ continues to rise.
Police investigated allegations about Savile’s behaviour as far back as 1958, The Sunday Telegraph claimed.

Savile paid officers to drop a case against him for “interfering with young girls” when he was a nightclub manager in Leeds, his former bodyguard told the newspaper.       Read in full here

W i l d C a t

 

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