Jimmy Savile was suspect in Yorkshire Ripper murder hunt

Former detective says disgraced presenter was called in for questioning over killings 30 years ago

LAST UPDATED AT 10:42 ON Wed 7 Nov 2012

JIMMY SAVILE was a suspect in the Yorkshire Ripper inquiry and was interviewed by police hunting the mass murderer more than 30 years ago, a former detective has revealed.

The late TV presenter, who lived in Leeds, was named as a suspect in the inquiry by former West Yorkshire Police detective John Stainthorpe. He told regional news show Calendar that police had been alerted and spoke to Savile during the hunt for the notorious serial killer.

"When the Ripper was really active, one of the suspects put forward by the public was, in fact, Jimmy Savile, strange as it may seem," said Stainthorpe. "Obviously, it was not he, but he was interviewed along with many others."

The former detective said that although Savile was not implicated in the case the person who gave the tip off was "aiming in the right direction", because "child perverts soon become child killers".

In the end, lorry driver Peter Sutcliffe was convicted of the killings and was jailed for life in 1981. However, Sutcliffe and Savile struck up an unlikely friendship as the former served his sentence at Broadmoor maximum security mental hospital.

"The revelation... raises new questions over whether Savile knew about, or was even involved in, Sutcliffe's slaying of 13 women," says The Sun. "Experts have suggested he was capable of murder to satisfy his sick cravings and relatives of Sutcliffe’s victims want police to probe the possible link."

The Daily Mail calls the revelation "shocking".

The news comes a day after Sutcliffe was reported to have defended Savile against child abuse claims and said his accusers were "jumping on the bandwagon". The mass murderer's comments drew widespread scorn. "It's hard to decide what is more deranged - his views, or the fact that they’re deemed worthy of being aired in the public domain," wrote Andy Dawson for the Daily Mirror.

Meanwhile, the Savile affair continues to snowball. The Sun links Savile to the north Wales child abuse scandal, quoting a victim known only as ‘Ben’ who says that he had his pyjamas pulled down by one of the staff members so that Savile could "ogle" him during a visit.

The Times reports concerns that the BBC probe into the Savile affair could be compromised by the appointment of law firm Reed Smith, which has ties to the broadcaster.

"Journalists who were blocked from revealing sex abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile fear an inquiry into the scandal may lack independence because the law firm working on it has close links with the corporation," reports the paper. · 

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