IT was by mutilating his 13 victims with a screwdriver, hammer and knife that Peter Sutcliffe became known as the Yorkshire Ripper.
Between 1975 and 1980, his slaughter spree plunged police in the North of England into one of the biggest manhunts of the 20th Century.
Sutcliffe believed he was on a “mission from God” to kill prostitutes who were “littering the streets” across West Yorkshire.
Though not all of his victims were sex workers.
Confessing to cops after his eventual arrest, Sutcliffe notoriously claimed he was “a beast” driven on “by a devil” inside him.
His spree began October 30 1975 with the murder of 28-year-old Wilma McCann.
The mum-of-four had kissed her kids goodnight and headed out for drinks in the Chapeltown area of Leeds before stumbling home.
Sutcliffe was driving through in his lime-green Ford Capri GT when he saw Wilma trying to hail a lift, he picked her up and they headed for nearby fields where she offered sex.
Sutcliffe instead struck her twice with a hammer before stabbing her 15 times in the neck, chest and abdomen.
Wilma’s son Richard – whose Eldest sister Sonia killed herself over the nightmare – later said “I absolutely forgive” the killer for his mum’s murder.
“I used to be angry but not any more. It’s not there — I let it go”, he added.
The Ripper’s next murder would be 42-year-old Emily Jackson.
Around Christmas 1975, she and husband Syndey agreed she would start doing sex work to ease financial pressures.
Just a few weeks later on January 20, 1976, she was outside the Gaiety pub in Roundhay Road, Leeds, with her husband inside, when Sutcliffe picked her up.
He drove her to a derelict building where bludgeoned her twice in the head with a hammer before stabbing her 52 times in the neck, breasts, lower abdomen, and back.
Sutcliffe did not just murder sex workers, however.
His youngest victim was Jayne McDonald, a 16-year-old shop assistant, who he killed on June 25, 1977.
She had walked home through Leeds after a night out with pals when Sutcliffe beat her with a hammer before stabbing her at 2am.
Kids found Jayne’s body in a playground the following morning with a broken bottle embedded in her chest.
Sutcliffe also attempted to murder seven others, including 14-year old Tracy Browne, who he mistook for a prostitute as she walked home near Silsden, West Yorkshire.
After around 30 minutes with her, he hit her over the head with a branch, only stopping when a passing motorist spooked him.
He dumped her over a barbed wire fence and fled.
The serial killer was finally caught in 1981 when stopped by cops with prostitute Olivia Reivers.
During questioning, police realised he matched the physical characteristics of the killer they were after.
After returning to the scene of his arrest, detectives found a knife, rope and hammer.
I used to be angry but not any more. It’s not there — I let it go
Victim Wilma McCann’s son Richard
After a trial, Sutcliffe was sentenced to twenty concurrent sentences of life imprisonment, which were converted to a whole life order in 2010
Sutcliffe spent almost 40 years locked up in Broadmoor.
He died in hospital aged 74 in November 2020 of Covid.
The ashes of the Yorkshire Ripper were sent to his brother after his death and he posted these to two of Sutcliffe’s friends.
It is also believed that some of the serial killer’s fans were given portions of the ashes.
Reports suggest that Sutcliffe’s ashes were later buried in Yorkshire.
Neil Jackson, whose mum was killed by Sutcliffe, said of the dead serial killer: “They should take him to a tip.”
YORKSHIRE RIPPER’S VICTIMS
- Wilma McCann, aged 28 and killed in October 1975
- Emily Jackson, aged 42 and killed in January 1976
- Irene Richardson, aged 28 and killed in February 1977
- Patricia Atkinson, aged 32 and killed in April 1977
- Jayne McDonald, aged 16 and killed in June 1977
- Jean Jordan, 21, Manchester, October 1977
- Yvonne Pearson, aged 22 and killed in January 1978
- Helen Rytka, aged 18 and killed in January 1978
- Vera Millward, aged 41 and killed in May 1978
- Josephine Whittaker, aged 19 and killed in May 1979
- Barbara Leach, aged 20 and killed in September 1979
- Marguerite Walls, aged 47 and killed in August 1980
- Jacqueline Hill, aged 20 and killed in November 1980