Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020

Peter Sutcliffe likely killed MORE women as file unmasks Yorkshire Ripper case failings

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Sutcliffe, 74, has died in prison. He had contracted coronavirus at HMP Frankland and was being treated at the University Hospital of North Durham. The murderous monster, who is said to have refused treatment, is infamous for the rampage that killed at least 13 women across the north of England. But a damning police report suggests this figure could be horrifyingly higher. 

He was known to be active as a murderer from 1975 ‒ but his reign of terror only came to an end six years later in 1981, when he was arrested initially for committing a traffic offence.

Later that year, the Byford Report detailed a catalogue of errors on the part of the investigating police forces that meant chances to identify Sutcliffe as the culprit were missed. 

The report, released to the public in 2006, found that: ”It is highly improbable that the crimes in respect of which Sutcliffe has been charged and convicted are the only ones attributable to him.”

It also detailed a period that Sutcliffe remained unaccounted for between 1969 and 1975.

It stated: “There is a curious and unexplained lull in Sutcliffe’s criminal activities and there is the possibility that he carried out other attacks on prostitutes and unaccompanied women during that period.”

In September 1969, he became known to police after he attacked a sex worker in Bradford, hitting her on the back of the head with a stone in a sock.

Police apprehended him over the assault, however the victim did not want to press charges.

Later that month, he was again apprehended by police and charged with “going equipped for theft”, when he was discovered hiding in a garden in the red-light district of Manningham, Bradford, holding a hammer.

He later told investigators he was hiding a long-bladed knife that evening. Police never found it.

In the summer of 1975 this pattern of assault was repeated when he attacked women on two separate occasions in Keighley and Halifax using a hammer and a knife.

Sutcliffe was interrupted in both attacks, leaving both women severely injured.

The first killing known to police was the murder of Wilma McCann in Chapeltown, Leeds, in 1975.

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The report continues: “This is reinforced by examining the details of a number of assaults on women since 1969 which, in some ways, clearly fall into the established pattern of Sutcliffe’s overall modus-operandi.”

Sutcliffe was never charged with any further crimes. 

After his trial in 1981, Sutcliffe admitted two further attacks ‒ but it was decided at the time that prosecution for these offences was “not in the public interest”. 

West Yorkshire Police also made it clear that the female victims wished to remain anonymous.

Author and retired police officer Chris Clark believes that in addition to these further unsolved assaults on women, Sutcliffe killed another 23 women and one man.

As recently as 2017, Operation Painthall, the cold case investigation into unsolved murders and assaults that may have been committed by the Yorkshire Ripper, interviewed Sutcliffe on crimes stretching as far back as 1964.

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