Savile's estate frozen

Jimmy Savile Photo: Press Association

The estate of Leeds-born Jimmy Savile has been frozen in response to the mounting sexual abuse claims against the late television and radio star.

NatWest Bank, which is acting as the Jim'll Fix It presenter's will executor and trustee, said the distribution of his assets had been put on hold because of the allegations. Savile's estate is reportedly worth £4.3 million.

NatWest said in a statement:

Given the claims raised, distribution of the estate has been put on hold.

– NatWest

Savile's will was written in 2006 and bequeaths his savings and other assets to 26 separate beneficiaries, according to the Financial Times (FT).

The newspaper said it had obtained a copy of the document which instructs that £20,000 in cash was to be shared between 20 of the celebrity's friends, family and neighbours.

It says a further £600,000 was to be put into a trust fund, with the interest shared between eight people. The remainder - just under £3.7 million before expenses - was to be held by NatWest on behalf of The Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust.

Savile's intended individual beneficiaries include the trustees of both his charities and existing and former employees of Leeds General Infirmary and Broadmoor Hospital.

Police are investigating claims that the star, who died in October last year, sexually assaulted individuals at both NHS sites.

A solicitor representing alleged victims of Savile said lawyers are also looking into the late presenter's overseas assets, thought to be administered from tax haven the Channel Islands.

Alan Collins from legal company Pannone welcomed NatWest's decision to freeze the estate and said:

This is good news for those victims of Savile who are taking legal action, as it means that they will be able to pursue claims against the estate.

If NatWest had not put the estate on hold, it would have meant legal action against Savile's estate to prevent the assets from being distributed amongst the beneficiaries of his will.

– Alan Collins, Pannone Law

He added:

Pannone are also actively pursuing inquiries into Savile's overseas assets, which we believe are being administered in Guernsey.

– Alan Collins, Pannone Law

Savile's estate was previously put on hold in July after a woman claimed to be his illegitimate daughter, the FT said. It is believed the latest freeze may be in anticipation of legal claims for damages by Savile's alleged victims.

Savile's charities, the Leeds-based Jimmy Savile Charitable Trust and Jimmy Savile Stoke Mandeville Hospital Trust, have already announced they are to close after their trustees decided that keeping them open could be "damaging" to the causes they support.

Trustees of both organisations said they "could not see a future for either _charity"_ because the organisations would "always be linked in the public's mind with the late Jimmy Savile".

Scotland Yard is leading a national investigation into the television and radio star's activities. He is now believed to have been one of the UK's most prolific abusers, with about 300 possible victims.

Detectives are following 400 lines of inquiry as part of the investigation while the BBC has launched an inquiry into the culture and practices at the corporation in the era of Savile's alleged sexual abuse. It is also looking at the decision-making process that saw a Newsnight investigation into Savile's activities shelved.