Savile estate frozen due to potential abuse claims

November 1, 2012 - 9:33 AM

LONDON (AP) — The bank handling the estate of late British entertainer Jimmy Savile's said Thursday it has frozen his assets to make it easier for possible sex abuse victims to make financial claims.

National Westminster Bank, acting as Savile's executor, confirmed that the estate has been frozen but gave few other details, citing confidentiality regulations.

The move was welcomed by a British lawyer representing women claiming they were abused by the entertainer, who died last year at the age of 84 without ever being charged with sex crimes.

"It's what they needed to do," lawyer Alan Collins said. "Obviously it's welcome news, otherwise you would have to go to court to get a freezing order. This makes it easier."

He said that under British law it will be possible for Savile's alleged victims to seek financial compensation based on pain and suffering even though he has died.

Savile was a popular television host of children's programs and the long-running "Top of the Pops" music show. His reputation has been shattered in the last month as dozens of women have come forward to assert he had abused them over several decades.

Police say Savile and his associates may have abused 300 victims and call him one of Britain's most prolific sex offenders.

His main employer, the BBC, has also been criticized for failing to act against Savile despite persistent rumors of misbehavior on BBC premises.

A number of inquiries are underway, and financial claims against Savile's estate are likely to multiply.

Collins said the number of alleged victims he represents is "12 and rising."

Savile's estate is reportedly worth 4.3 million pounds ($6.9 million).