Second suspect questioned again in Savile probe

Story highlights

  • The second suspect, named by British media as comedian Freddie Starr, is quizzed again
  • The suspect is in his 60s and from Warwickshire, British police say
  • Starr denied any allegations against him in media interviews last month
  • A TV documentary has detailed allegations of sex abuse against TV host Jimmy Savile

A suspect named by British media as entertainer Freddie Starr faced further questioning from police Friday in connection with an investigation into sex abuse claims involving late BBC TV host Jimmy Savile.

Starr, a well-known comedian in the United Kingdom, was arrested on suspicion of sexual offenses Thursday, British media reports say.

Police did not release the suspect's name, identifying him only as "Yewtree 2," but said he falls under the "Savile and others" strand of their investigation, dubbed Operation Yewtree.

He was released on bail early Friday but returned to face further questions in the afternoon.

In media interviews last month, Starr denied the allegations against him, which were made in a TV report.

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He told Channel 4 News: "I want a police investigation. I want one. I want them to come and question me -- anything they want to ask."

He was the second UK celebrity to be arrested in connection with the inquiry.

A London man, who British media reported to be 1970s pop star Gary Glitter, was arrested Sunday, also on suspicion of sexual offenses.

Read more: How celebrity child sex scandal has rocked the BBC

A TV documentary a month ago detailed allegations of sexual abuse against Savile, who died last year. Police investigating the scandal are dealing with about 300 apparent victims, Cmdr. Peter Spindler told reporters.

Savile's targets were apparently mostly girls in their mid-teens in what Spindler said was "alleged abuse on an unprecedented scale."

The British TV icon died in October 2011 at age 84. But authorities have said they are preparing an arrest strategy for others, still living, against whom allegations have been made in connection with the Savile case.

Jimmy Savile: National treasure in life, reviled 'sex abuser' in death

Countless Britons who grew up watching Savile on TV's "Top of the Pops" and his children's program "Jim'll Fix It" have been left reeling by the slew of claims against him in the past month.

The reputation of the British Broadcasting Corporation, his former employer, has also been tainted by the scandal amid questions about how his abuse went undetected, and its decision to drop a program investigating allegations against him last year.

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"Now the BBC risks squandering public trust because one of its stars over three decades was apparently a sexual criminal; because he used his programme and popularity as a cover for his wickedness; because he used BBC premises for some of his attacks," BBC Chairman Lord Patten wrote in an editorial published Sunday in the Daily Mail.

Read more: Former BBC chief explains dropped Savile investigation

The BBC has said it is horrified by the revelations and has launched two independent inquiries.

NatWest Bank confirmed this week that the distribution of Savile's estate, most of which he is reported to have left to a charitable trust, "has been put on hold."

It has been suggested the money could be used to pay compensation to some of his alleged victims if they file legal claims.

Last Saturday, Savile's family made its first public statement since the claims of sexual abuse of underage girls destroyed the reputation of a man they had regarded as a hero.

Savile's nephew, Roger Foster, had defended his late uncle -- who hosted shows watched and heard by a generation of young Britons -- in a newspaper interview before the allegations first emerged in the TV documentary a month ago.

Read more: Relatives of disgraced Savile voice their anguish

But as those few claims snowballed into hundreds, the family had to face up to the horrific truth: that the man they were so proud of as a media star and tireless charity fundraiser had a far darker side to his past.

"I watched the program in horror and could not believe that these allegations were about our uncle. This wasn't the man we knew and loved," Foster said. "We began to have doubts as to our own feeling towards our uncle. How could the person we thought we knew and loved do such a thing?

"Why would a man who raised so much money for charity, who gave so much of his own time and energy for others risk it all doing indecent criminal acts? How could anyone live their life doing the 'most good and most evil' at the same time?"