Former pal says Savile was an arch-manipulator with a ‘very calculating mind’

Mike Mackenzie
Mike Mackenzie
  • Mike Mackenzie met Savile after breaking his back in Bosnia. Describes Savile as a highly intelligent manipulator who had very different public and private faces Says he had no idea of the horrors Savile was committing. Hopes the spinal injuries centre’s reputation is not tarnished

A former friend of Jimmy Savile says the DJ was a highly intelligent manipulator whose persona could change instantly depending on who he was with.

Mike Mackenzie, the former executive officer of The Jimmy Savile Stoke Mandeville Hospital Trust, said neither he or anyone he knew ‘had any reason to be suspicious of the horrors being perpetrated’ by the TV star.

What Savile did to raise the money for the building and many other facilities of NSIC was heroic but it was public money and not his.

Mike Mackenzie

He met him at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at the hospital in 1993 after his back was broken while working for an aid agency in Bosnia.

He said: “He immediately gave me funds towards our work. After my time in the NSIC I returned to my home in Scotland but moved to be within reach of Stoke after 3 years.

“Savile demonstrated his astonishing memory by asking me on our first re-acquaintance how the money had been used. I got to know him; I thought well; through my charities and his and we collaborated on numerous things.”

Mr Mackenzie, who is the current chairman of the Poppa Guttmann Trust, said that Savile appeared at the time to be ‘two different people’.

“There was the public face and the private business man. There now seems there was a hidden third version.

“The public face was an over the top eccentric who would flirt outrageously with any woman but without any apparent sinister implications.

“Nurses would usually try to avoid meeting him as they could be embarrassed by his jokey attentions.

“There was no suggestion of anything more ominous than that.

“The private face was one of a serious and very competent business man.

“He never wrote anything down as notes but could and did rely on his exceptional memory. When meeting with him in his office he was serious and astute but if there was a knock on the door he would leave his desk and, as he opened the door, he changed like a light being switched on and instantly became the public face. “When he closed it, the switch was immediate as he returned to the serious businessman.”

Mr Mackenzie, who attended Savile’s funeral, said the DJ had a ‘very calculating mind’.

“With an IQ high enough to give him membership of MENSA he had the ability to manipulate and persuade people and organisations to his advantage.

“When I became an executive officer of The Jimmy Savile Stoke Mandeville Hospital Trust he suggested that he would give me the use of a large budget and would make sure that the hospital managers knew that.

“He told me that it was not for me to spend but the main point was that I would be in a strong position to negotiate with persuade the management team to do what was needed.

“To Savile money was power whether he spent it or not. This made people aware of what he could do for them if they were almost subservient to him.

“He openly threatened to withdraw funding unless they complied with his wishes or crossed him in some way. I experienced this myself in one of my charities.”

Mr Mackenzie said the paedophile’s ‘shocking crimes’ must not be allowed to tarnish the image of the National Spinal Injuries Centre.

“What Savile did to raise the money for the building and many other facilities of NSIC was heroic but it was public money and not his.

“At no time in my 21 years of involvement with The NSIC, I or anyone I met had never had any reason to be suspicious of the horrors being perpetrated by Savile and it came as a complete shock out of the blue when revealed.

“The most important thing about this revelation is that the excellence of The NSIC and Stoke Mandeville hospital was never compromised by Savile’s misdemeanours. “He had no influence on clinician’s decisions and, if anything, was an asset by his publicly funded charity improving the facilities such as the building of the paediatric spinal ward.

“His motives for his charitable fundraising may or may not have been for genuine good, an entrée to vulnerable people or atonement for his secret life.

“Whatever the reason, the funds raised in his name have made a fundamental and positive difference to the lives of spinal injured people and has not altered the reputation of Stoke Mandeville as a centre of excellence.

“Nobody would try to excuse or condone his shocking crimes but the money raised should not be seen as tainted by these revelations and was given in good faith by individuals for the benefit of spinal injured men and women.”