THE family of a disgraced former mayor implicated in the Jimmy Savile abuse scandal have spoken of their shock at the revelations.

Relatives of the late Peter Jaconelli broke their silence following a ten-month police investigation into allegations against the former mayor of Scarborough, a local ice-cream magnate.

Following that inquiry police revealed last month that, if alive today, both Jaconelli and Savile would have faced prosecution over allegations from 35 individual victims in the resort.

Those allegations included indecent assault, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, gross indecency and rape.

Previously the Jaconelli family has either said the accusations were not true or that they did not know anything about it.

But speaking for the family, nephew Denis Jaconelli, 63, said that since those statements were made last year "a lot of water had passed under the bridge.”

He said: “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.

“Peter was always a bit of a joke figure because of his size and weight. The staff would laugh at him but he would take it well because he had a good sense of humour.

“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."

He added: “There were always rumours. When we were young boys going to school we had to put up with them and it was difficult to cope with.

“But at the time, it was all innuendo. There was never any proof. We were aware he was friends with Jimmy Savile. But we thought it was very much on a showbiz level.”

He stressed the ice-cream business today had no connection with Peter Jaconelli. It is a now a wholesale business built up after his death and the shop which bears the Jaconelli name on Scarborough seafront is separately owned.

Mr Jaconelli, who died in 1999 at the age of 73, was mayor of Scarborough in the early 1970s and also served on the county council. He was stripped of his civic honours by the borough council last year.