Mark Williams-Thomas is a former Surrey Police officer who specialised in child protection issues, and was responsible for the October 2012 ITV documentary Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile.
On 16 February 2014 he gave an interview to the Sunday Times (hidden behind their paywall I'm afraid) for the regular 'Fame and Fortune' column in the Money supplement. Amongst the usual questions about shares versus property or best and worse investments, was this fascinating indication into how the influential ITV documentary came about:
"I was doing some work for Newsnight and somebody working in television came up to me and said, "Have you ever heard that Savile was a paedophile?" He told me to have a look online and it really started then. When the BBC decided not to run the Newsnight programme about him, I picked it up and carried on."
That is a very curious line.
Firstly because we know that Newsnight and the BBC had been investigating Savile's crimes and that even though they eventually pulled a programme about him, they had amassed a significant amount of evidence. Secondly because Mark Williams-Thomas' alma mater, Surrey Police, had the opportunity in 2009 to address offences Jimmy Savile committed in their jurisdiction, but did not progress. Other police forces, and indeed other media outlets also held information on Savile, which they had not deployed.
And yet a former specialist investigator into paedophiles had to go online to see if there was anything to the Savile story? That is bizarre, especially as much of what was online before Savile's death was dominated by the hardly reliable David Icke, posts on Icke's forum, or related websites. You would hardly hang a man on that evidence. It is surely more likely that Williams-Thomas had a better 'nod' than being told to go and google Jimmy Savile's name?
If so, was that 'nod' from within the police, Newsnight, another department in the BBC or elsewhere in the media?
Thanks to Heidi Svenson and TC for the original cutting and background information for this post.