Savile 'pawed' Guardian reporter
12:00am Wednesday 17th October 2012 in News
A FORMER South Wales Guardian reporter who fended off the advances of Jimmy Savile during the disgraced TV personality’s visit to Ammanford in 1978, said this week: “I’ve been waiting all my life for these revelations to come out.”
Lesley Tither recalled how she was “pawed” and subjected to “smutty and inappropriate”
behaviour after meeting Savile in a local café – and how the conversation took a menacing twist.
Lesley, 60, is now urging any Amman Valley victims who may have encountered Savile to go to the police.
“People really should speak out,” she said. “It will be an immense comfort to his victims to talk about it and know they’ll be believed.”
Lesley was speaking as Scotland Yard disclosed Savile may have sexually abused 60 people since 1959.
Lesley, now an author and freelance copywriter living in central France, recalled how – as Guardian reporter Lesley Gibbins – she responded to a tipoff that Jimmy Savile was in Cresci’s Café, in Quay Street.
“I was 26, but looked more like a teenager,” she said.
“When I got down there I saw this man with a woollen cap pulled down over his hair.
“I told the owner that his customer looked like Jimmy Savile and he went over.
“There was some chuckling and I heard the man say: ‘Tell the young lady she looks like [wellknown 1970s singer] Lynsey de Paul.’ “It was Jimmy Savile. The guy had all the trademark bling at a time when blokes just did not wear bling.
“I asked him what he was doing in the area and I’m pretty sure he said he was visiting a home – possibly in Brynaman.Myfear nowis that it was a children’s home.
“When I asked for an interview he suggested we go somewhere ‘less public’ so I went with him back to his motorhome which I think was in a car park.
“There was a double bed in there. Savile sat down on it and so did I, although not too close to him. I had no concerns about being there alone. I was a 26-yearold reporter and relatively streetwise, plus he was a celebrity whose reputation was on a par with Mother Teresa. Everyone spoke glowingly of his charity work.”
Lesley, however, says she quickly became uncomfortable when Savile asked if they could go to her home.
“I thought it odd and inappropriate.
I told him I had a large German shepherd at home in Llansadwrn that would attack him on sight.
“That’s when things became a little menacing. He said he had military training and knewhowto kill a dog with his bare hands – and told me how to do it. I found that very distasteful and, looking back, a younger person might have found it quite frightening.
“Savile was sitting very close, his thigh making contact with mine – nothing illegal, but smutty and inappropriate.
“I kept my notebook determinedly between him and me – I would quite happily have pushed my biro into his eye had the need arisen and I think he sensed that.
Had I been a naïve 15-year-old, though, I think things would have ended differently.”
Lesley said Savile’s hand kept appearing on her arm and leg, at one point he slipped his arm around her waist.
“When he knew he was not getting anywhere he became very insistent that I visit him in London so he could show me round the BBC studios.
“I was very relieved to bring that interview to an end. I had no intention of ever seeing that man again. That feeling of revulsion has never left me.
“When I went back to the office I think my first words to my colleages were: ‘Jim’ll grope it!’”
Lesley has reported her experience to Ammanford police as well as to the Met Police. “They asked if I’d be prepared to give an interview if they sent someone out to France,” she said. “That indicates how seriously they’re treating this.
“I feel someone in the Amman Valley can help this investigation.
I know what happened to me and I wasn’t a starstruck 15-year-old.”