PAEDOPHILE DJ and TV presenter Jimmy Savile ­committed "truly awful" abuse against patients at hospitals across the country and even boasted about having sex with corpses, a series of chilling reports have revealed.

Branded an "opportunistic sexual predator" by investigators, the Radio 1 and Top of the Pops presenter used the NHS and his celebrity status to "exploit and abuse" patients and staff.

Among the most disturbing findings are "macabre accounts" of claims the late TV and radio presenter performed sex acts on dead bodies in the mortuary at Leeds General Infirmary (LGI) and at least one other hospital.

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Investigations were carried out into 28 hospitals, including high-security Broadmoor, where Savile sexually abused at least five individuals, including two patients who were subjected to repeated assaults.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt apologised to victims and the NHS on behalf of the Government, telling MPs: "We let them down badly and however long ago it may have been, many of them are still reliving the pain they went through."

Labour called for a code of conduct to be set up outlining the "appropriate relationship" between the NHS and celebrities or business backers.

Julian Hartley, chief executive of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said the report "paints a grim picture of an individual with a very dark side who used his role as a volunteer and fundraiser, combined with his national fame, to mask a range of dreadful acts he perpetrated on children and adults alike over a prolonged period of time."

Among the 28 hospitals ­investigated were Moss Side in Liverpool, which is now one of three top-security mental hospitals in England, along with Rampton and Broadmoor.

Two female former patients accused Savile of sexually abusing them in a ward and a third allegation came from a male former patient who claimed he witnessed Savile stroke a patient's breast at a hospital social event.

Investigators found that Savile, who owned a holiday cottage at Glencoe, raped a woman in a motor home at Digby Hospital, a mental hospital in Exeter in 1970. A former patient at the mental health unit at High Royds Hospital in Leeds claimed Savile inappropriately touched people during a fancy dress fun run in the 1980s.

Investigators heard the entertainer claimed to have "interfered with the bodies of deceased patients" at the LGI mortuary, while a patient of Barnet General Hospital overheard nurses discussing how they had seen Savile have sex with a dead body at another hospital.

While the Leeds team said there was no way of proving Savile did this, they concluded "it is evident his interest in the mortuary was not within accepted boundaries".

Dr Sue Proctor, who led the investigation into Savile's abuse at the LGI, told a press conference Savile claimed large rings he wore were "made from the glass eyes of dead bodies at the mortuary".

While she said the allegations cannot be verified now, Dr Proctor said controls around access to the mortuary in the 1980s were "lax".

Savile's other victims at the LGI ranged from five-year-olds to pensioners and included men, women, boys and girls.

Investigators discovered members of staff at the LGI failed to pass on complaints of abuse to senior managers, who could have acted to stop it happening.

The inquiry into Savile's ­activities at LGI from 1960 included the testimonies of 60 people who gave accounts of their experiences to investigators - 33 of whom were patients. Three of these incidents were rapes, the investigators said.

Investigators also found "clear failings" in the way access to wards in Broadmoor was controlled, as Savile had keys allowing him unrestricted access to ward areas within the security perimeter.

Investigator Dr Bill Kirkup said the report's findings were "likely to represent an underestimate of the true picture".

A joint statement from NHS chiefs described the findings of the investigations as "truly awful" Details about Savile's sex attacks emerged in an ITV documentary a year after his death, aged 84, in 2011. A further report on Savile's activities at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshare has been delayed.