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Janet Smith clashes with DJ ‘A7’ over abuse inquiry at BBC

TOTP DJ’s lawyers threaten ex-judge over report on sexual attacks by Jimmy Savile

By David Hencke and Alex Varley-Winter | 26 January 2016

anet Smith clashes with DJ ‘A7’ over abuse inquiry at BBC
Dance floor: inside the studio of Top of the Pops

Janet Smith clashes with DJ ‘A7’ over abuse inquiry at BBCRetired judge Dame Janet Smith has clashed with an unnamed disc-jockey over her inquiry into BBC star Sir Jimmy Savile, Exaro can reveal.

The unnamed DJ is accused of raping a 15-year-old girl, Claire McAlpine, who committed suicide a month later. Claire was a dancer in the audience of Top of the Pops.

The DJ’s lawyers demanded to see what Smith was planning to write about the case, according to well-placed sources.

One source told Exaro: “Smith promised [the DJ] anonymity as a condition of being interviewed by her.”

The lawyers continued to issue threats to Smith about what she says about the episode in the report even after she promised anonymity.

The DJ told Smith that he cannot remember anything about the allegations.

But she says in her report that she does not believe him.

Smith’s damning draft report on sexual abuse by the late Savile and others at the BBC was leaked to Exaro, and we published 37,500 words of extracts. The DJ appears in the report as “A7”.

Sources say that DJ A7 instructed solicitors, and they are unhappy that the retired judge has re-opened the 45-year-old case even though it is not connected directly to Savile.

Smith is understood to have sent to DJ A7 her section about him and Claire McAlpine around a year ago for any final comments.

The former Court of Appeal judge writes in the report about how Claire’s mother, Vera, complained to the BBC that the DJ “had invited her daughter back to his flat after Top of the Pops and had seduced her.”

As Exaro revealed on Wednesday, Smith writes: “I should make it clear at this stage that I have not attempted to make any judgement about whether A7 did seduce Claire McAlpine. The question does not fall within my terms of reference. My legitimate interest in this matter relates only to what can be inferred about the BBC’s culture and practices from the way in which the matter was investigated.”

The DJ told Smith that:

  • he knew nothing about the complaint against him;
  • denied being interviewed about it as part of an internal investigation;
  • and denied being questioned by an independent barrister who carried out a further investigation for the BBC.

Smith makes clear her finding that A7 was not telling her the truth on each of those counts. She says that A7 denied to both investigations the allegations against him.

The Smith report also says that A7 gave the internal investigation a different account of the day when he allegedly “seduced” the 15-year-old girl from that of his agent.

In addition, Smith slates BBC management over both investigations into the case.

She brands the first “wholly inadequate”, saying that it “prejudged” the case and lacked “any sense of concern about the safety” of such girls.

She says that the internal investigation seems to her to have been “designed to protect” the DJ and the BBC, while fobbing off the teenager’s anguished mother, who has since died.

“It appears that the main concern was to control adverse publicity and to ensure that the BBC’s position was protected,” she writes.

On the second investigation, Smith says that it was not on “safe ground” in saying that the allegation against A7 was “probably an invention”.

Following Claire’s death, the News of the World ran a front-page story that linked her suicide to her association with TOTP.

Her mother told the newspaper that she had found her daughter’s diary, in which Claire had written about her encounters with “A7” and another DJ.

If you have information that might help our investigation, please contact us. Keep re-visiting Exaro for more on this investigation.

Janet Smith’s review leaked to Exaro: the key extracts

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By Exaro News

Exaro News investigates matters of public interest and seeks to uncover the truth.