A former West Yorkshire police detective has revealed that Jimmy Savile was once questioned in relation to an allegation that he may have been the Yorkshire Ripper.

Though the claims turned out not to be true (Peter Sutcliffe was famously convicted in 1981 of the string of murders in and around Leeds). John Stainthorpe, now 80, told how the now-disgraced and deceased BBC TV presenter Savile was brought in for questioning over the murders, after a member of the public telephoned the police and suggested him as a suspect.

“Obviously it was not him, but he was interviewed along with many others, as you can appreciate,” Stainthorpe told the Daily Record,  adding “He was interviewed along with thousands of others and gave an explanation for where he had been at the time of the murders. Knowing what is known now, the person putting forward Savile was aiming in the right direction because child perverts soon become child killers.” One of Sutclife’s victims, Irene Richardson, had been murdered a short way from Savile’s penthouse in Leeds.

Savile and Sutcliffe later became friends, allegedly, when Savile worked at Broadmoor, where Peter Sutcliffe was being detained. Yesterday, Peter Sutcliffe spoke in defense of Jimmy Savile, accusing his victims of “jumping on the bandwagon” for making allegations about his abuse of underage children. Stainthorpe commented “Sutcliffe and Savile were big buddies so I’m not surprised Sutcliffe has taken his side.”