Paul McCartney has opened up about The Beatles' connection to Jimmy Savile, insisting the band "always thought there was something a little bit suspect" about the British TV star.
Savile, who died last year, became headline news in Britain in September when a number of women came forward alleging he had molested them when they were young girls. He is suspected of abusing more than 300 children over a period of 40 years and police have launched an investigation.
McCartney has now spoken out about his own experience of working with Savile, who was close to The Beatles during their early days in the spotlight and even compered many of their shows.
The veteran musician says his bandmates grew suspicious of Savile after he joined them in their van for a journey home from a gig.
He tells Britain's Independent newspaper, "It's very difficult to talk about it. The thing is we knew Jimmy and we worked with him, he was a DJ, an emcee on some of the shows. We were working in Yorkshire and we were still living in Liverpool. And we were coming back from a gig and he came in our van over the Pennines [English mountain range], we gave him a lift. He told us all these stories... He had all sorts of stuff going on. He was the older hustler guy, and we were very amused by these stories because he was a great entertainer.
"But we dropped him off at his place outside his house and we said 'Can we come in for a coffee,' and he said 'Oh no, not tonight lads'. When he'd gone we thought 'Why doesn't he let us in, what is it?' because most people would have let us in that we gave a lift to. So we always thought there was something a little bit suspect."
McCartney goes on to talk about the different attitudes towards sex in the 1960s and 1970s, but says The Beatles made sure their groupies were not underage.
He explains, "It was a much more open scene, and you know free love, and the pill had just come in... The other aspect of course is that we, though not quite Jimmy, we were of the age of the girls, we were all young. So if you're now talking about a 17, 18-year-old boy with a 15-year-old girl, we all knew that was illegal. We knew it and it was like no... We knew with under-16s it was illegal, so we didn't do it.
"We tried to make sure, we couldn't always be sure. But there was a definite no-no involved in underage kids."