Scotland Yard attempted to dump news of the their case against Wilfred De’Ath being dropped due to the sole complainant withdrawing her statement very quietly. Unfortunately, amongst the bigger news of widespread legalised theft in Cyprus and ‘Teflon Boris’ vs Eddie Mair it was noticed by a few pesky truth-seekers. And, my, what a tangled little web of intrigue it is.
For a deeper analysis of Wilfred De’Aths contribution to Mark Williams-Thomas’ shallow character assassination of the late Sir Jimmy Savile I will guide readers to this EXPOSITION
For the sake of this article, I will recount some background details. Wilfred De’Ath was one of the ‘Star Witnesses’ on Mark Williams-Thomas’ “Exposure: The Other Side Of Jimmy Savile” aired at the beginning of October last year. Now, Mr De’Ath was a very strange choice for a star witness on a show claiming to shine a light on sexual abuse, and for more than one reason. Firstly, Mr De’Ath is a convicted – and very self-congratulatory – fraudster who has written at length about his deeds in both magazines (particularly ‘The Oldie’) and an autobiography, published in 2008. However, ‘fraud’ is one thing – perhaps former policeman come self-qualified television presenter Mark Williams-Thomas thought he would be still be a credible witness? Given his target was a dead man facing allegations of sexual misconduct, fraud does not make a witness completely unbelievable. Doubly strange, therefore, that in his book “Uncommon Criminal”, Wilfred describes himself as a sex-obsessed voyeur and a sexual predator. Not, one would imagine, a very credible mix for a ‘star witness’ in a supposed “Exposure” of Jimmy Savile?
In common with his own ‘colourful’ past surely Mr De’Ath’s account of Jimmy Savile would not be very convincing? It certainly wasn’t – the fraudster described him meeting up with JS and an unnamed – and still unidentified – “girl” who might have been underage in circa 1964. It certainly wasn’t convincing, for a number of reasons (but again, rather than repeat Moor Larkin’s thoughts on this I’ll simply refer you to the ‘Exposition’ link above). My opinion is that Wilfred wasn’t the only witness on the show clutching at straws, but that is not relevant here. A few voices raised the issue of Mr De’ath’s incredulous account, particularly Private Eye, but the show was made to stir up a hornet’s nest as opposed to convincing intelligent people who knew only too well about ‘background’ and ‘context’.
Exposure’s discredited ‘star witness’ was discredited further on Remembrance Sunday when he was arrested at the break of dawn at his address. As expected, the arrest of this man in his 70’s at his home by a team of several police officers was much publicised. The charge against him was he was alleged to have ‘sexually assaulted’ a teenager in a cinema in 1965. Curiously, this teenager of the 60s was now a well-known actress and presenter with strong links to ITV – the network that had produced and broadcast Mark Williams-Thomas’ “Exposure” on Savile, and already had a ‘follow-up’ show planned. She is said to have seen and recognised Mr De’Ath on the said ITV shocumentary, and felt obligated to call The Metropolitan Police – who by then had embarked on a transparent post-Savile witch hunt against any ageing male they could lump in under Yewtree under a sly strand they named ‘others’, with some of their officers now known in MediaLand as “The Savile Police” – an ironic title for several reasons. A more sinister side of “Operation Yewtree” was the fact that each arrest was highly publicised – each of the accused stated clearly, as their names were dragged through the mud, that they wished to co-operate with police to clear their names. Despite these statements and the low risk entailed, each arrest was made using teams of highly visible police officers and mainstream journalists. In the case of Dave Lee Travis, his arrest in November was tied in to happen on the day one of his monthly stints as presenter of Top Of The Pops 35 years ago was due to be rebroadcast, therby causing maximum publicity for the arrest and maximum embarrassment to both Mr Travis and the BBC. Mr Davidson was swooped in Heathrow Airport as he landed in the UK for a stint on Celebrity Big Brother. These were not coincidences.
For each accused, the result is akin to being paraded through every town centre in the land, holding a banner with “make a complaint about me” written on. In the case of well-known well-established entertainers like Davidson and DLT, this method of trawling has worked a treat. In the case of Wilfred De’Ath it did not, primarily – one presumes – because very few people know who the hell he is anyway.
With no other “victims” coming forward to report our erstwhile fraudster/star character witness, the ITV colleague and friend of Mark Williams-Thomas felt, understandably, uncomfortable. The upshot is she has withdrawn her statement against Wilfred De’Ath, and “The Savile Police” have also dropped the case due to ‘lack of evidence’. The gameplan was to create a pool of complaints with each complainant effectively “verifying” the others, a ploy that may well make scapegoats of the other entertainers caught in this net.
It may also be that the seemingly highly contrived elements of this particular case – ITV star sees her accused on ITV show with the ITV documentary maker having a vested interest in the subsequent Police Operation, all parties very much part of what I’ll term loosely as the “Daytime ITV Family” also combined to influence the decisions to withdraw statement and block the case.
Mr De’Ath is surprisingly eloquent (or perhaps not so surprising given his Oxford background) and has elected to speak out against his treatment and against the reality of ‘Operation Yewtree’. He is also, sadly, still making ill-considered soundbites against the man who he had a couple of dealings with, fifty years ago. Still, there’s no fool like an old fool – as The Metropolitan Police are gleefully wanting to find out.