The High Court has heard how Jimmy Savile victim Karin Ward has been left to “twist in the wind” by the BBC has she fights Freddie Starr’s £300,000 defamation claim.
Ward is being sued over comments she gave to BBC Newsnight in 2011 for a story which was controversially spiked by the broadcaster. The BBC instead broadcast Christmas tributes to the deceased DJ.
The Ward BBC interview was later used by Panorama.
Ward is also being sued over comments she made to ITV News and over a self-published eBook.
Court News UK reports that the High Court heard yesterday that Ward, 56, was wrongly reassured that Starr, 72, “would not be identified” in an interview she gave to the broadcaster.
The BBC then allegedly used footage without Ward's permission and failed to offer any “meaningful help” in her libel battle.
Starr is suing Ward for £300,000 over her claim he touched her and called her a “titless wonder” in Savile's dressing room during the filming of the TV show Clunk Click in 1974.
Press Gazette understands that Ward is being represented by David Price Solicitors on a no win, no fee basis.
The BBC declined to comment when asked about reports that it has refused to back Ward in her libel battle.
Ward earlier told the High Court she felt sorry for Starr as he thought she was calling him a paedophile.
"I am not. I never called him a paedophile. He behaved in exactly the same way that would be expected of any red-blooded man in 1974, anyone surrounded by pretty girls all clamouring around him.
"He didn't do anything wrong. I am not objecting to the fact that he goosed me. That is fine. I couldn't number the amount of men who have done that to me."
Ward said she had no idea that what she had written about her life was going to be spread all over the globe.
"I wrote the books for my own self and got people to comment on my writing style, because writing is one of the things on my bucket list – I want to be an author.
"Had I ever, ever anticipated that anything like this might possibly happen…I am very, very naive, I am very silly, I am a complete technophobe."
In her witness statement, Ward said that when she was contacted by the BBC in 2011 for a Newsnight interview about Savile, she thought he deserved to be exposed but was reluctant as she had advanced bowel cancer and was having treatment.
She felt pressured to do the interview – in which she included the words complained of by Starr but did not identify him by name – but was convinced that the BBC would never air it and, as she felt she would not survive, she did not think she was exposing herself to a great risk.
When the Newsnight programme did not go ahead she had no control over the use the BBC made of the interview and never imagined that other programme makers would take the footage.
She said that when she spoke about Starr to a journalist for the ITV interview about Savile, who said he was building up a dossier, she did not know or intend that her words would be broadcast.
"I am not prepared to apologise to the claimant or retract what I have said, because I have told the truth about him."