A FORMER York Hospital nurse who claims she saw Sir Jimmy Savile indecently assault a patient at Leeds General Infirmary has backed calls for his corpse to be exhumed.

June Thornton, whose parents are buried near Savile’s grave at Woodlands Cemetery in Scarborough, said: “He wanted to be buried facing the sea. They should dig him up and dump his body out at sea.”

Mrs Thornton, 80, from north York, was speaking after a Scarborough councillor, Colin Haddington, called for Savile’s corpse to be exhumed and then cremated at a nearby crematorium.

The Tory councillor said he had been contacted by a constituent whose granddaughter was buried close to Savile, which had caused her enormous concern and her family a great deal of distress.

Mrs Thornton exclusively told The Press last month how she was lying in a four-bed bay in Leeds General Infirmary’s Brotherton wing after undergoing back surgery in 1972 when she witnessed Savile molesting a woman patient.

She said the woman was sitting in a chair after apparently undergoing neurosurgery and was unable to resist.

Mrs Thornton claimed that when she told a nurse, she took no notice and nothing was done.

Whenever Savile subsequently came on the television, Mrs Thornton would have to turn it over because she could not bear to see him.

Her allegations were subsequently reported by national and international newspapers and broadcasters.

She said yesterday it was upsetting to visit her parents’ grave knowing that he was buried so close by.

Council leaders have rejected exhumation, saying there was no point in even investigating the idea as the decision on his final resting place was a matter for his family and the church authorities.

The council has, however, agreed to strike Savile’s name from the authority’s roll of honour, and Savile’s £4,000 headstone has already been removed and broken up for landfill at the request of his family.

Meanwhile, it was reported last night that Savile was quizzed by detectives investigating the Yorkshire Ripper murders. Former West Yorkshire Police detective John Stainthorpe, who worked on the Ripper inquiry, said the disgraced presenter was a suspect in the notorious case more than 30 years ago.

Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe has jumped to the defence of Savile, whom he claims is innocent. The two became friends during the DJ’s visits to Broadmoor high-security hospital, where Sutcliffe is being held.

Mr Stainthorpe said: “When the Ripper was really active, one of the suspects put forward by the public was, in fact, Jimmy Savile.

“Obviously, it was not he, but he was interviewed along with many others.”

Mr Stainthorpe said the person who gave police the anonymous tip-off was “aiming in the right direction”.

“Child perverts soon become child killers,” he said.

But he said he believed it was coincidence the body of the Ripper's third victim, Irene Richardson, was found near to Savile’s home in Roundhay Park, Leeds.