The investigator who exposed Jimmy Savile’s prolific pedophilia has said he is working – and has been working for some time – to expose another well-known living child sex offender.
Mark Williams-Thomas, the former police detective turned TV journalist who exposed Savile, claimed the other man has so far evaded justice because he is ‘untouchable’.
Williams-Thomas was the lead investigator on the ITV Exposure documentary, The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, which revealed how one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers systematically and disturbingly preyed on young and vulnerable girls.
The award-winning film, broadcast just over a decade ago on 3 October 2012 – a year after Savile’s death – prompted hundreds of other unheard victims to come forward with their experiences.
In the documentary, five women stated that they had been sexually abused by Savile as teenagers. This exposure of Savile as a pedophile led to extensive media coverage, including 41 days on the front pages.
Mark Williams-Thomas – who exposed Savile – has said he is working to expose another known living child sex offender.
The film led to the Met Police’s Operation Yewtree investigation, which ultimately resulted in sexual abuse convictions for several celebrities.
By October 2015, 19 people had been arrested by Operation Yewtree; seven of those arrests led to convictions.
But Williams-Thomas, a child protection expert, has expressed his frustration that his pursuit of a high-profile target has so far been thwarted.
“There are still people out there who are untouchable,” the former Surrey Police and family liaison officer told i.
“There is a very significant person that I have done everything to try to prosecute because he is clearly a child sexual abuser.”
Williams-Thomas was the lead investigator on the ITV Exposure documentary, The Other Side of Jimmy Savile, which revealed how one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers systematically and disturbingly preyed on young and vulnerable girls
‘To date the CPS will not prosecute. The police and I have really tried to get there. He will die in time and then the floodgates will open in the same way they did with Savile. That is not correct. But justice takes many different forms.’
He added: ‘The truth is no broadcaster would have made a program about Savile when he was alive. We live in a society where there are some people you cannot accept, and that is really sad.’
Williams-Thomas, who left the police 20 years ago to set up a specialist child protection consultancy, has become a favorite with broadcasters and contributed to a recent Channel 4 film in which Sir Cliff Richard, Paul Gambaccini and DJ Neil Fox told how their lives were ruined by allegations of sexual abuse against them.
The cases against Richard and Gambaccini never went to trial, while Fox was found not guilty in a magistrates’ court.
“There is always collateral damage,” Williams-Thomas told me, “There will always be innocent victims of war, and that is what happened here.”
While he believes the allegations against Sir Cliff were right to be made, he also said the police conducted a “shambolic investigation”.
“What was wrong was the way they did it,” he added.
His experience breaking the Savile story means Williams-Thomas is not accepting Sir Cliff’s plea that sex crime suspects be granted anonymity before charges are brought, according to, among others.
This led to the Met Police’s Operation Yewtree investigation, which ultimately resulted in sexual abuse convictions for several celebrities. By October 2015, 19 people had been arrested by Operation Yewtree; seven of those arrests led to convictions
‘I have seen the value of lifting the anonymity of victims to come forward. It is one of the reasons why the CPS did not have the evidence to prosecute Savile when he was alive.’
The media plays a crucial role in getting victims to come forward by publishing names. But they have to consider the consequences for the accused because there is no more heinous crime than child sexual abuse.’
From police detective to TV journalist: the career of Mark Williams-Thomas
- In 1989 Williams-Thomas joined Surrey Police – becoming a specialist in major crime and child abuse. He was a family liaison officer and left the force in 2000
- From 2003 he began script consulting on various television crime dramas, which included the BBC series Waking The Dead (2007–2011), the BBC series Inspector Lynley Mysteries (2007), the Channel 5 series Murder Prevention (2004), the ITV series Identity and The BBC series The Silence.
- In 2005, Williams-Thomas established WT Associates, an independent child protection consulting firm.
- In 2011 he created and presented a new series on ITV called On the Run. The starting point for the series was to track down and confront offenders on the run from the police. The series ran for three seasons.
- On 3 October 2012, Williams-Thomas presented the documentary The Other Side of Jimmy Savile on ITV, in which five women stated that they had been sexually abused by Savile as teenagers. The exposure of Savile as a pedophile led to extensive media coverage, including 41 days on the front pages.
- In 2014 he covered the sentencing of Oscar Pistorius and was the only British journalist to meet Pistorius during the trial and wrote an exclusive report for the Daily Mirror.
- Williams-Thomas was a reporter for the ITV crime series The Investigator: A British Crime Story, produced by Simon Cowell’s Syco in 2016.
- 2022: He is a regular reporter on This Morning, Channel 4 News and the ITV series Exposure.
When the Savile film was produced, ITV was wary of releasing it, Williams-Thomas said.
The BBC’s Newsnight had also launched an investigation – which Williams-Thomas also worked on – that would have aired the sickening allegations about Savile at the same time as the broadcaster was preparing the Savile tribute program after his death.
‘The ITV lawyers lost their nerve in the final days before transmission. You could see the temperature reaching boiling point,’ Williams-Thomas said in. ‘This was a guy who had enormous power during his TV reign and even after his death people were afraid to take him on.’
‘I knew we had to take the story away from the abuse of the children in the home. Rightly or wrongly, people would say these were the stories of damaged children, can we believe them?’
‘We conducted a properly substantiated, forensic police-style investigation over months. TV is also a visual medium, so we had to get the victims to speak on camera, we couldn’t make everyone anonymous. The program was down to the bravery of the women who told their story.’
Despite being broadcast at 11.10pm at night, the impact of the program was immediate. ‘The NSPCC sent us a letter a week after it was sent saying that as a result they were able to follow up on 1,000 cases of child abuse.’
‘When the lead detectives of Operation Yewtree sat down with us to see what we had, they said they believed there were 30 Savile victims. There was silence in the room when I said that the number was closer to 500. That is approximately the number that the subsequent investigation arrived at.’
‘What our small team achieved gave victims a voice up and down the country. If we hadn’t done Savile, I really don’t think this movement would have gone global,” Williams-Thomas said.
‘It created Harvey Weinstein and Epstein (their exposure). I am honored to have been a catalyst for something that has changed people’s lives.’
Reflecting on Savile, Williams-Thomas told me he understands how even King Charles was taken in by such a manipulative figure.
“I have seen communications between Savile and Prince Charles where there was a conversation about using Savile as a sounding board for his relationship with Diana. Absolutely mad because Savile has never had a real relationship in his life.’
“I don’t blame Charles, Savile sought to ingratiate himself into the royal family. If he saw any advantage in being somewhere, he would exploit it for personal gain. He managed to get his foot in the door. He also did a lot for charity, and it helped create a profile that he built on through his contact with the royal family.’