- 1 The Yorkshire Ripper
- 2 Overview
- 3 Sonia Sutcliffe
- 4 Victims of the Yorkshire Ripper
- 4.1 Anna Rogulskyj
- 4.2 Olive Smelt
- 4.3 Wilma McCann
- 4.4 Emily Jackson
- 4.5 Marcella Claxton
- 4.6 Irene Richardson
- 4.7 Patricia Atkinson
- 4.8 Jayne MacDonald
- 4.9 Maureen Long
- 4.10 Jean Jordan
- 4.11 Marilyn Moore
- 4.12 Yvonne Pearson
- 4.13 Helen Rytka
- 4.14 Vera Millward
- 4.15 Josephine Whitaker
- 4.16 Barbara Leach
- 4.17 Marguerite Walls
- 4.18 Teresa Sykes
- 4.19 Jacqueline Hill
- 5 Police
- 5.1 Detective Superintendent Perry
- 5.2 Detective Superintendent Holland
- 5.3 Detective Chief Superintendent Hoban
- 5.4 Detective Chief Superintendent Domaille
- 5.5 Assistant Chief Constable Oldfield
- 5.6 Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, Mr. Gregory
- 5.7 Detective Chief Superintendent Hobson
- 5.8 Detective Constable Howard
- 5.9 Detective Chief Superintendent Ridgway
- 5.10 Detective Constable Rayne
- 5.11 Detective Constable Leslie Smith
- 5.12 Detective Chief Superintendent Lapish
- 5.13 Detective Superintendent Slater
- 5.14 Detective Constable Peter Smith
- 5.15 Detective Constable Laptew
- 5.16 Detective Constable Greenwood
- 5.17 Detective Constable Vickerman
- 5.18 Detective Constable Eland
- 5.19 Constable Doran
- 5.20 Constable Melia
- 5.21 Detective Superintendent Newton
- 5.22 Detective Superintendent Hickley
- 5.23 Detective Superintendent Findlay
- 6 Police 'Special Notices'
- 7 Police Stations
- 8 Publicity Campaigns
- 9 Sir Lawrence Byford
- 10 Peter Sutcliffe - Interviews during the Yorkshire Ripper Inquiry
- 11 Persons of Interest
- 12 Cars known to be owned by Peter Sutcliffe
- 13 Inquiries
- 14 Computerisation
- 15 Rewards
- 16 The 'Sunderland Letters'
- 17 The Police National Computer and the Yorkshire Ripper Inquiry
- 18 Police Scientific Development Branch
- 19 Other Possible Victims of the Yorkshire Ripper
- 20 Peter William Sutcliffe
The Yorkshire Ripper
October 2018. Welcome - this is a work in progress - please come back soon!
Peter Sutcliffe was born at Shipley, West Yorkshire, on 2nd June 1946.
During the period in which his admitted crimes were committed he was employed as a tyre fitter, and subsequently, following qualification as a heavy goods vehicle driver, as a lorry driver for the Bradford engineering and transport company, T. & W.H. Clark (Holdings) Ltd.
On the 10th April 1974 he married Sonia Szurma.
Initially Sutcliffe lived in Clayton with Sonia's parents. From September 1977, they moved to a detached house which he bought in the Heaton district of Bradford.
Victims of the Yorkshire Ripper
Anna Rogulskyj was attacked by the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, in Keighley on the 5th July 1975. Sutcliffe attacked his victim with a hammer in an alleyway in Keighley and left her lying on the ground suffering from very severe head injuries. Sutcliffe also inflicted a number of superficial slash wounds to the body. The crime was investigated by Detective Superintendent Perry of West Yorkshire’s Western Crime Area and an incident room was established in the Keighley Division for the purpose of the inquiry. The crime was not linked with any others, neither was it linked with the Ripper series until June 1978 when the West Yorkshire Police issued a “Special Notice” to all police forces about the murders which had, by then, been committed.
On the 15th August 1975, just over a month after the Rogulskyj incident, Sutcliffe, after leaving his friend Trevor Birdsall in his car, attacked Olive Smelt with a hammer in Boothtown, Halifax. Sutcliffe inflicted serious head injuries. Using a knife he also inflicted two slash wounds to her back after first disarranging her clothing. Although the nature of the crime was very similar to the attempted murder of Anna Rogulskyj it was not specifically linked with it in police crime circulations, neither was it linked with the Ripper series until June 1978.
On 30th October 1975 Peter Sutcliffe committed his first known murder. Sutcliffe murdered Wilma McCann, a known prostitute, on the Prince Philip playing fields in Leeds.
In a pattern which was to become all too familiar, Peter Sutcliffe hit Wilma McCann on the head with a hammer. At least one of the blows penetrated the full thickness of the skull.
On this occasion, however, unlike the tentative slashings of the bodies of Anna Rogulskyj and Olive Smelt, Wilma McCann was stabbed once in the neck and 14 times in the chest and abdomen.
The Yorkshire ripper struck again on 20th January 1976 with the brutal murder of Emily Jackson, a known prostitute. Peter Sutcliffe brutally murdered Emily in a factory yard in Leeds.
Once again Sutcliffe had used a hammer to inflict violent blows to Emily. Sutcliffe disarranged her clothing to expose her torso and inflicted multiple stab wounds to her lower neck, upper chest and lower abdomen. Sutcliffe also inflicted wounds to Emily's back using a cross shaped instrument thought to be a “Philips” screwdriver.
On the 9th May 1976 Peter Sutcliffe attacked Marcella Claxton in the Roundhay area of Leeds.
Marcella Claxton sustained severe head injuries as a result of hammer blows.
Irene Richardson, who was believed to be an active prostitute, was murdered on a playing field in Roundhay, Leeds, by Peter Sutcliffe on the 5th February 1977.
She had been struck down by three hammer blows after which her body had been exposed and slashed with a knife. The slash injuries to her abdomen were particularly severe. One apparently coincidental similarity between this crime and the murder of Joan Harrison in Preston was the way in which the dead woman’s boots had been neatly placed over her thighs.
Prostitute Patricia Atkinson operated from a flat in Bradford. It was at this flat on the 23rd April 1977 that Peter Sutcliffe murdered her. Patricia was killed by four blows to her head with a hammer after which her body was exposed and stabbed repeatedly with a knife or chisel
Detective Chief Superintendent Domaille of the Western Crime Area led the investigation into the crime and established an incident room at the area headquarters at Bradford.
Jayne MacDonald was a 16 year old shop assistant who still lived with her family in Leeds. On the 26th June 1977 the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, killed Jayne MacDonald on spare ground in a prostitute area of Leeds. The attack fitted Sutcliffe's usual pattern.
On the l0th July 1977, Peter Sutcliffe attacked Maureen Long on spare ground a short distance from her estranged husband’s home in Bradford. Maureen, who admitted that she had acted as a prostitute, received serious injuries to her head from hammer blows and stab wounds to her abdomen and back, but fortunately recovered.
Jean Jordan was murdered in the Greater Manchester Police area on the 1st October 1977. Jean Jordan was a known prostitute. Her body was found on a disused allotment in Chorlton-cum-Hardy on the 10th October, nine days after her death.
On the 14th December 1977 Peter Sutcliffe viciously attacked Marilyn Moore who was a convicted prostitute. Marilyn was assaulted by Peter Sutcliffe on spare ground in Scott Hall Street, Leeds. The inquiry established that Moore was picked up for prostitution purposes by the driver of a car which, by a process of elimination, was subsequently thought to be of the BMC "Farina" type, driven by a man who said he was called "Dave".
On the 21st January 1978 Yvonne Pearson, a convicted prostitute, was murdered by Peter Sutcliffe in Bradford. Her body was not discovered until the 26th March 1978 when it was found under an overturned settee on wasteland in an area used by prostitutes.
On the 31st January 1978, Helen Rytka, an active prostitute, was murdered by Peter Sutcliffe in Huddersfield. Helen's body was discovered in a timber yard by a police search on the 3rd February and the subsequent post-mortem examination revealed that she had died from hammer blows to the head together with a number of stab wounds to the body which had previously been exposed.
On the 16th May 1978, Vera Millward, a convicted prostitute, was murdered by Peter Sutcliffe in Manchester. Her body was discovered in a compound in the Brunswick area of the city the following day and an examination disclosed the traditional pattern of Ripper injuries.
On the 5th April 1979 [Josephine Whitaker, a Building Society clerk, was murdered by Peter Sutcliffe in Savile Park, Halifax.
The murder was in the established Ripper pattern in that the victim was struck down by two hammer blows to the head and was then stabbed 25 times in the abdomen, breasts, thighs and vagina.
On the 2nd September 1979 Barbara Leach, a 20 year old student, was murdered by Peter Sutcliffe in the University area of Bradford.
A post-mortem examination revealed that she had been struck a single blow to the head with a hammer after which she was stabbed in the abdomen and shoulder blade a total of eight times.
On the 20th August 1980 Marguerite Walls, a 47 year old civil servant, was murdered by Peter Sutcliffe as she walked home in Leeds. She was struck on the head, knocked down and then strangled with a piece of cord. Detective Chief Superintendent Hobson assumed responsibility for the inquiry and set up an incident room at Pudsey Police Station in Leeds.
On the 5th November 1980 Teresa Sykes was attacked on a footpath in Huddersfield by Sutcliffe who hit her over the head with a hammer. This crime was investigated by Detective Superintendent Hickley from an incident room at Huddersfield
On the 17th November 1980 the final murder in the series was committed when Jacqueline Hill was killed by Sutcliffe near the Arndale Centre in Leeds. After being disabled by a number of violent hammer blows to the head she was dragged onto waste ground and her exposed body was stabbed.
Detective Superintendent Findlay took charge of the inquiry and established an incident room at Belle Vue, Leeds.
Detective Superintendent Perry
Detective Superintendent Holland
On the 2nd September 1979 Barbara Leach, a 20 year old student, was murdered by Peter Sutcliffe in the University area of Bradford. Detective Superintendent Holland who, on hearing of the murder, had immediately returned to West Yorkshire from leave in Scotland.
Detective Chief Superintendent Hoban
Detective Chief Superintendent Domaille
Assistant Chief Constable Oldfield
Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, Mr. Gregory
11th July 1977 - The Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, Mr. Gregory, wrote to the Director of the Police Scientific Development Branch asking whether the Branch was able to offer any assistance in connection with the Yorkshire Ripper inquiry. Read More
Detective Chief Superintendent Hobson
The attack on Marilyn Moore was investigated by Detective Chief Superintendent Hobson from the Eastern Crime area but it was not linked with the series crimes until the 12th May 1978 when it was circulated to other forces in a West Yorkshire Police circulation.
On the 20th August 1980 Marguerite Walls, a 47 year old civil servant, was murdered by Peter Sutcliffe as she walked home in Leeds. This murder was not initially attributed to Peter Sutcliffe and Detective Chief Superintendent Hobson assumed responsibility for the inquiry and set up an incident room at Pudsey Police Station in Leeds.
On 25th November 1980 amid increasing criticism of the West Yorkshire Police for having failed to detect this series of horrific crimes, a number of changes were made in the control of the inquiry. Detective Chief Superintendent Hobson was appointed temporary Assistant Chief Constable and put in charge of the series inquiry in place of Assistant Chief Constable Oldfield.
Detective Constable Howard
On the 2nd November 1977, as part of the Jean Jordan £5 Bank of England note investigation, Detective Constable Howard of the Greater Manchester Police together with a Detective Constable of the West Yorkshire Police interviewed Peter William Sutcliffe at his home. Sutcliffe’s employers had collected money from the Shipley branch of the Midland Bank to pay their employees.
Detective Chief Superintendent Ridgway
Chief Superintendent Ridgway of the Greater Manchester Police took charge of the Jean Jordan murder investigation and recognised immediately the possibility of a link with the crimes in West Yorkshire.
Detective Constable Rayne
On 8th November 1977, as part of the Jean Jordan and £5 Bank of England note investigation, Peter Sutcliffe was re-interviewed by Detective Constable Leslie Smith of West Yorkshire and Detective Constable Rayne of the Greater Manchester Police.
Detective Constable Leslie Smith
Detective Chief Superintendent Lapish
Detective Superintendent Slater
Detective Constable Peter Smith
Detective Constable Laptew
On the 29th July 1979 Sutcliffe was again interviewed after his black Sunbeam Rapier had been printed out, first as a “Double Area Sighting” and later as a “Triple Area Sighting”, having been seen in the "red light" areas of Leeds, Bradford and Manchester.
Detective Constable Greenwood
Detective Constable Vickerman
Detective Constable Eland
Detective Superintendent Newton
Detective Superintendent Hickley
Following the 5th November 1980 attack on Teresa Sykes Detective Superintendent Hickley oversaw the investigation from an incident room at Huddersfield.
Detective Superintendent Findlay
On the 17th November 1980 Peter Sutcliffe murdered again when Jacqueline Hill was killed near the Arndale Centre in Leeds.
Detective Superintendent Findlay took charge of the inquiry and established an incident room at Belle Vue, Leeds.
Police 'Special Notices'
Special Notice - 19th September 1979
On the 13th September 1979 a "Special Notice" was issued by the West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police to all forces in the country giving details of 16 murders and attempted murders then linked together in the series together with details of the tyre tracks from the Richardson, Moore and Millward incidents and also details of the 'Sunderland” letters and tape. Read the Special Notice here
2nd October 1979
On the 2nd October 1979 a massive publicity campaign aimed at detecting the series of crimes by identifying the author of the "Sunderland" tape and letters was launched throughout the North and the North East of England. Read more
Sir Lawrence Byford
Sir Lawrence Byford report into the police handling of the Yorkshire Ripper case.
Peter Sutcliffe - Interviews during the Yorkshire Ripper Inquiry
Peter William Sutcliffe was interviewed several times during the investigation.
Persons of Interest
Cars known to be owned by Peter Sutcliffe
Ford Capri - EUA 831K
EUA 831K - At the time of his marriage to Sonia Szurma Peter Sutcliffe owned a lime green Ford Capri with the registered number EUA 831K.
At the end of April / beginning of May 1976 Peter Sutcliffe disposed of his Ford Capri.
Ford Corsair - KWT 721D
KWT 721D - During May 1976 Sutcliffe acquired a white Ford Corsair saloon registered number KWT 721D.
Records show that Peter Sutcliffe sold his white Ford Corsair, KWT 721D, on 3rd September 1977. It was established by police that although he had sold the car he kept possession of it for several weeks.
Ford Corsair - PHE 355G
On the 26th September 1977 he bought a red Corsair with the registered number PHE 355G.
Peter Sutcliffe sold the red Corsair on 7th August 1978.
Sunbeam Rapier - NKU 888H
On the 14th May 1978 Peter Sutcliffe bought a black Sunbeam Rapier, registered number NKU 888H.
On the 4th June 1979 Sutcliffe disposed of his Sunbeam Rapier car
Rover 3.5 - FHY 400K
On the 4th June 1979 Sutcliffe acquired a brown Rover 3.5 saloon registered number FHY 400K.
Mini saloon - 372 SRR
On the 23rd March 1980 Sutcliffe bought a red Mini saloon 372 SRR which he used occasionally although he did not dispose of his other car, the brown Rover saloon.
- It is worth noting that the red Corsair was sold almost 3 months after Sutcliffe obtained the black Sunbeam Rapier - so for that period he had access to both cars.
£5 Bank of England note Inquiry
Jean Jordan was murdered in the Greater Manchester Police area on the 1st October 1977. An unusual and curious feature of this case was that there was evidence that the killer had returned to the scene some eight days after the murder, stripped the body and inflicted further injuries including an attempt to decapitate it. On the 15th October, Jean Jordan’s handbag was found 189 ft away from the body. It contained a new £5 Bank of England note which was thought to have been paid to the victim by the murderer. The recovery of this note some two weeks after the death marked a significant new stage in the series inquiry. Read more about this investigation
The 'Tracking Inquiry'
On the 6th February 1977 an exercise, known subsequently as the “Tracking Inquiry” was mounted to identify the vehicle which had left the tyre marks at the Irene Richardson murder scene. In the preliminary stage it was thought that any one of 100 different types of vehicle could have been involved. This number was determined on the basis of the "track width" indicated by the distance between the tyre marks at the scene. Read More
The hunt for the White Mark II Ford Cortina
Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell and the Yorkshire Ripper Investigation
On 11th July 1977 the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, Mr. Gregory, wrote to the Director of the Police Scientific Development Branch asking whether the Branch was able to offer any assistance in connection with the Yorkshire Ripper inquiry. Read More
March 1978 - West Yorkshire Police Authority
West Yorkshire Police Authority offered a reward of £10,000.
November 1978 - West Yorkshire Police Authority
On the 28th November 1978 the West Yorkshire Police Authority increased the reward being offered for information leading to the killer to £20,000.
November 1980 - Newspaper Offices add £30,000 to the reward
In response to brutal murder of Jacqueline Hill a number of newspaper offices in the area agreed to add £30,000 to the reward being offered by the Police Authority for information, bringing the total amount to £50,000.
The 'Sunderland Letters'
8th March 1978
13th March 1978
The second letter was received by the Chief Editor of the "Daily Mirror” newspaper in Manchester. This letter was postmarked "Sunderland 10am on 13th March 1978".
23rd March 1979
18th June 1979
The Police National Computer and the Yorkshire Ripper Inquiry
Following a request from Detective Chief Superintendent Domaille on On the 26th April 1978 it was agreed to arrange for the results of the vehicle observations in "red light" areas to be processed on the Police National Computer.
Police Scientific Development Branch
11th July 1977 - Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, Mr. Gregory's request for help
26th April 1978 - Detective Chief Superintendent Domaille's request for help
Other Possible Victims of the Yorkshire Ripper
Was Barbara Mayo a Peter Sutcliffe Victim?
Barbara Mayo, 24, was a student teacher from Mansfield. Barbara Mayo left home on the morning of Monday, October 12, 1970, but never returned to the flat she shared in London with David Pollard.
Did the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, kill Fred Craven?
Did the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, attack Taxi Driver John Tomey?
John Tomey, a taxi driver, was attacked by a passenger with a hammer in 1967.
Peter William Sutcliffe
Peter Sutcliffe's Arrest
On 2nd January 1981 Peter Sutcliffe was seen by the police whilst in the company of a prostitute in the "red light" area of Sheffield. Sutcliffe was arrested for theft of car number plates. The number plates on his car did not match those on the Police National Computer.
Peter Sutcliffe's Conviction
On Friday, 22nd May 1981, Peter William Sutcliffe was convicted at the Central Criminal Court of 13 cases of murder and 7 cases of attempted murder.