17: Zeros and nones

“The day before ‘Exposure’ (and before Ward’s first broadcast interview), Dee Coles became the first woman to be shown on television identifying Savile as a rapist. Coles contacted ITN after she heard news reports about the allegations against Savile. Coles was 14 years old and on holiday in Jersey when Savile raped her.”
– Karen Boyle

Karen Boyle is Professor of Feminist Media Studies at the University of Strathclyde, the institution that in 2018 published ‘Television and/as testimony in the Jimmy Savile case’ from where the quote is taken.

(The previous year Boyle had also produced ‘Hiding in Plain Sight: Gender, Sexism and Press Coverage of the Jimmy Savile Case’.)

The Ward to whom Boyle refers is, of course, Karin ‘Kat’ Ward, a prolific author of books about the sexual abuse of children aimed at people who enjoy reading about that kind of thing.

While Boyle raises some interesting points about the repeated use of ‘victim’ stories in the media, it is difficult to take any of it too seriously owing to numerous grammatical errors – suggesting it wasn’t proof-read prior to publication – and howling factual embarrassments (hinting at no one having read it post-publication either):

“Here, he shown [sic] on an elevated stage at an outdoor function, surrounded by an apparently appreciative audience. Although Coles is not in this footage, it nevertheless serves a similar evidentiary function to the Clunk Click clips: it places Savile at the scene of the crime (Jersey in the 1960s) whilst also supporting Coles’ reasoning for not coming forward, the low camera angle emphasising Savile’s power…” – Prof Boyle

The ‘scene of the crime’ was the 1970s and not the 1960s. And the camera angle?
God give me strength.

(As an aside, Coles’ evidence does not actually place either herself or Savile in Jersey  in the 1960s, 1970s or at any other time: the location is not obvious from her photographs and only by accepting Coles’ unchallenged word will we ‘know’ the location. But that’s for another day…)

Nevertheless, Boyle inadvertently strikes gold:

 “… reinforced through the repeated use of Ward and Coles – the two women who can, in different ways, lay claim to being ‘victim zero’ in the Savile case…”
– Prof Boyle

Indeed they can!

And there are some startling coincidences when we compare how the two zeros of Coles and Ward were used by the media, and what it all adds up to.

Firstly, although neither appeared in ‘Exposure’ both were unmistakeably said to be about to do so and were instrumental in supporting the media campaign behind it.
From The Sun:

“Dee Coles will go public on tonight’s ITV1 Documentary, Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile to encourage others to come forward. Savile was accused of an attack at Jersey’s Haut de la Garenne children’s home in the 1970s.”
– 2nd October 2012

And from the Daily Mail:

 “Karin Ward appears in the documentary ‘Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile’, which airs on ITV tonight” – 3rd Oct 2012

(Ward in particular is still believed by many to have appeared in that dreadful programme & as the media told them that that had happened we shouldn’t be too surprised: “Ten months later Ward appeared in the ITV documentary Exposure” said The Guardian while The Telegraph claimed that “In Exposure: The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, broadcast on Wednesday, Karin Ward waived her anonymity to recount how she saw rock star Gary Glitter”.)

Secondly, they have lied repeatedly about their ages, both falsely claiming to having been 14 years old.

(It was revealed during the Freddie Starr/Karin Ward court case that Ward had been a few days short of her 16th birthday; shortly after the case concluded she was back on the television screen agreeing with the interviewer that she had been 14.)

Thirdly, both Ward & Coles were linked implicitly and explicitly by the media to Jersey’s ‘Hell House’ – the fabled Haut de la Garenne. And we might want to ask why.

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9 thoughts on “17: Zeros and nones

  1. In the Smith Report some gals reported that Jimmy went to Brighton “every year”. It appears to relate back to a regular Charity Walk that would take place annually in the early 1970s. Never heard of this being mentioned by Dee, which seems odd given that she must have been aware of Jimmy’s taking part in it, in her local town at much the same time that she claimed to have met him in Jersey.

          1. Well spotted Bandini, but crumbs, it’s going to be a long trial. By the end Savile will have abused ‘Nick’ about a million times. He did groom a nation, after all.

            1. TDF, just realised I may be able to give you a nudge here (rather than on unrelated & old article over at Barth’s Notes as is usual!).

              Do you remember that Sun article re Savile at HdlG that you tracked down? I think the follow-up articles – Sun and, I think, NOTW too – were at one time in your sights. Er, any chance you might get around to this at some point?

              (About 1% of time spent on this subject is visible on Twitter timeline, and much more in DM conversation threads. If you get a chance to return to those archives, please do!)

              1. Sorry but I still haven’t gotten around to getting those records from the National Library.

                Incidentally, from your twitter account regarding the current trial, Bramall’s reported comment about Savile “I always thought he was the most dreadful man” is interesting. Seems to imply Bramall, definitely a gilt-edged member of the establishment by any reasonable standards, did not regard Savile as “one of us”.

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