The headstone of a suspected paedophile, and good friend of shamed TV star Jimmy Savile, has mysteriously been removed.

Peter Jaconelli, the disgraced former mayor of Scarborough, North Yorkshire, is buried just yards away from Savile whose own headstone was removed several years ago.

Savile’s headstone, which includes the epitaph “It was good while it lasted”, was removed from Woodlands Cemetary, in Scarborough, in 2012.

The tombstone, which was adorned with the disgraced star's face, was removed under the cover of darkness to protect the "dignity and sanctity” of the cemetery.

Jaconelli's stone disappeared from the graveyard after North Yorkshire Police confirmed that had Jaconelli still been alive, he and Savile would have been arrested for abusing dozens of children between them.

It’s not yet known when or why the grave was removed, or who was behind the decision.

Earlier this week, in light of what police claim is “overwhelming” evidence against Jaconelli, his nephew Denis said the family were now beginning to doubt his innocence.

In previous years, the Jaconelli family has either said the allegations were not true or that they did not know anything about it.

But speaking for the family, Denis, 63, said "a lot of water had passed under the bridge" since those statements.

“Peter Jaconelli is not here to defend himself. But we have to have confidence in what the police are saying. It is shocking and traumatic.

“We are family people ourselves and abhor anything like this. If he did do anything like this it would be despicable. But it was certainly not obvious to us.

“We thought he was a very generous man who used to help others. So if it did happen, it was well covered up. But the police have not taken this lightly. They have spent time on an investigation and interviewed a lot of people."

Even before the conclusion on the 10-month long police investigation which exposed an apparent sordid lust for boys, Scarborough Council already started the process of removing him from the town’s memory.

Councillors agreed to posthumously strip Jaconelli of his honorary Alderman status in 2013.

Glasgow-born Jaconelli was laid to rest in the plot which overlooks a school in 1999 after his death at the age of 73. It is also the resting place of his wife Anna.