Jimmy Savile, allegedly one of Britain’s most prolific sex offenders, was not a Knight of Malta despite media and social network claims to the contrary.
Deceased celebrity DJ Mr Savile, accused of committing 126 “indecent acts” in his lifetime, has been widely described as a “Knight of Malta” on social networks, blogs and even in The Guardian newspaper.
But a spokesman for the Grand Magistry of the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Malta in Rome denied this was the case.
“I have checked in the membership database and Jimmy Savile does not result to have ever been a member of the Sovereign Order of Malta,” the spokesman said.
“There are people or organisations that are making use of our name or variants for commercial purposes selling false membership in the Order of Malta,” the spokesman added.
However, a spokesman for the British Association of the Order said that, although Mr Savile was not a member, he had been given a “decoration” by the British Association in 1977 in recognition of his charitable works.
The BBC reported that this “decoration” was the Cross of Merit.
Mr Savile died in 2011, aged 84.
Reports of the eccentric entertainer’s alleged rampant sex offending came to light last year and are under police investigation.
Last week, the Metropolitan Police issued a report detailing allegations of 214 criminal offences committed by Mr Savile over a 54-year period.
Of these offences, 126 were indecent acts with 34 involving rape or penetration.
The reported victims were aged between eight and 47 at the time of abuse, with 73 per cent aged under 18.
Mr Savile is believed to have exploited his celebrity status and well-known charity works to sexually abuse his victims with impunity throughout his career.
Abuse is alleged to have occurred at BBC headquarters, hospitals, hospices and schools, among other places. A lifelong Catholic, Mr Savile was made a Knight Commander of the Order of St Gregory the Great by Pope John Paul II in 1990. He was also knighted in 1990 by Queen Elizabeth for his service to charities.