Comedian gets bail in Savile abuse probe

2012-11-02 10:00
British comedian and TV personality Freddie Starr and his fiancee Sophie Lee, in December 2011 in London. (File, AP)

British comedian and TV personality Freddie Starr and his fiancee Sophie Lee, in December 2011 in London. (File, AP)

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London - A man named by media as British comedian Freddie Starr was released on bail on Friday after he was arrested by police investigating sexual abuse allegations against the late TV star Jimmy Savile.

Police arrested a man in his 60s on suspicion of sexual offences on Thursday before releasing him in the early hours. The BBC and Sky News named him as Starr, who has previously denied claims that he groped one of Savile's alleged victims.

He becomes the second person arrested in the investigation after former glam rocker Gary Glitter was held and then bailed on Sunday.

Starr, aged 69, found fame as a comedian in the 1970s and is best known as the subject of one of the most memorable headlines in British newspaper history, when The Sun ran the 1986 front-page splash: "Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster".

"Officers working on Operation Yewtree yesterday arrested a man in his 60s in connection with the investigation," a Scotland Yard spokesperson said.

"The man, from Warwickshire [in central England], was arrested at approximately 17:45 on suspicion of sexual offences, and was taken into custody. He has since been bailed."

300 victims

The arrest follows claims by a woman who has publicly accused Savile of abusing her that Starr touched her while they were both in a BBC dressing room in the 1970s, when she was just 14 years old.

The comedian denied this and in a television interview last month said he wanted to speak to police to clear his name.

"I would never, ever, ever touch an underage girl," Starr said, branding Savile "despicable". He urged police to contact him over what he described as "false accusations".

Savile, who died last year aged 84 after a long career in British television and radio, has been accused of abusing around 300 victims over a 40-year period at a number of institutions, including the BBC and three hospitals.

The scandal has snowballed since claims that Savile molested underage girls were aired in a television documentary last month, leading to the arrests of Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, and now Starr.

Read more on:    jimmy savile  |  uk  |  bbc abuse scandal  |  child abuse
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