Thursday, 4 Mar 2021

Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe’s link to four unsolved murders

The country remembers the 13 women slaughtered by evil serial killer Peter Sutcliffe.

The monster, who died in prison earlier this year, is the subject of a new true crime Netflix documentary entitled The Ripper.

Sutcliffe brutally murdered more than a dozen innocent victims – mothers, wives and daughters – for his own entertainment.

The twisted killer’s reign of terror frightened a generation of women in the north of England, many of whom feared to leave their homes.

For five years Sutcliffe escaped justice, carrying out a sick rampage between 1975 and 1980.

Despite interviewing him several times, police let Sutcliffe roam free, whilst he stalked red light districts for victims.

He was convicted in 1981 and, after a long spell in Broadmoor Hospital in Berkshire, he was transferred to HMP Frankland in 2016 after being deemed stable enough to serve time in prison.

Sutcliffe was only brought to justice after he was pulled over for driving a car with fake licence plates.

It would be the next day that police would return to the scene to find a knife and rope that Britain’s most wanted man had dumped.

Wilma McCann, Emily Jackson, Irene Richardson, Patricia Atkinson, Jayne MacDonald, Jean Jordan, Yvonne Pearson, Helen Rytka, Vera Millward, Josephine Whitaker, Barbara Leach, Marguerite Walls and Jacqueline Hill are Sutcliffe's 13 known victims, although he is believed to be responsible for other deaths.

Speaking in 2014, retired detective and cold case expert Chris Clark, a former intelligence officer with Norfolk Police, said he believed five Midland women were victims during Sutcliffe's vicious killing spree of the 1970s.

He studied the Ripper’s movements and crime scene analysis, and believed at least another 20 women were either attacked or murdered by him, and as reported by Birmingham Mail, believed the spree started far earlier than thought.

He listed the murders of Barbara Mayo at Chesterfield, Judith Roberts at Tamworth, Wendy Sewell at Bakewell, and the killings of Rosina Hilliard and Caroline Allen in Leicestershire as potentially linked to the Ripper.

Student teacher Barbara Mayo, 24, was found strangled in woods at Ault Hucknall by a group of friends from Mansfield on October 20, 1970.

Her murder sparked the biggest manhunt Britain had ever seen at that time. She had been raped, battered and strangled.

It was thought Barbara was murdered while hitch-hiking to Catterick, North Yorkshire, to fetch her boyfriend’s car. Her killer has never been brought to justice.

Fourteen-year-old schoolgirl Judith Roberts from Wigginton, near Tamworth, was dragged from her bicycle and battered to death on June 7, 1972.

Her body was discovered later the same day under a pile of hedge clippings and plastic fertiliser bags in a field next to the road.

Police launched a murder investigation involving 200 detectives, who collected more than 15,400 sets of fingerprints and in excess of 11,000 statements.

  • Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe dead: Serial killer dies of Covid 'after lungs collapse'

Staffordshire soldier Andrew Evans was jailed after turning up at a local police station, asking to see a photo of the victim. But his conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal in 1997, and he was released from prison.

Sarah Clark, whose mother was a friend of the murdered girl, spent years attempting to unlock the truth. And her groundwork identified Sutcliffe, who preyed on prostitutes and innocent women during a five-year reign of terror, as a prime suspect.

Sarah sifted through endless yellowed newspaper cuttings in her search for hard evidence and has come to a chilling conclusion. Sutcliffe, from Bingley, Yorkshire, had more blood on his hands than the public and justice system believed.

Sarah, from Tamworth, said before his death: “I am convinced Sutcliffe did it, and I think the police should interview him about it. Everything fits in. There are so many tiny pieces that come together to create the same outcome.

“At first, I was convinced a local man carried out the murder, a man had been seen poaching in the field in the days before. But the more I looked into the case, the stronger the links with Sutcliffe became.”

  • Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe's 'final moments' with 'no tears shed' before death

Legal secretary Wendy Sewell , 32, was attacked in Bakewell Cemetery in Derbyshire at lunchtime on September 12, 1973.

She had been beaten about the head with the handle of a pickaxe and sexually assaulted. Parts of her clothing had been removed.

Seventeen-year-old cemetery groundsman Stephen Downing was jailed for her murder but his conviction was overturned in 2002, after Downing had served 27 years in prison.

The body of prostitute Rosina Hilliard was found on February 22, 1974, at a building site near Humberstone Road, Leicester.

The 24-year-old had been hit by a car and suffered extensive head injuries and fractures to her spine and collar bone.

But a post-mortem examination confirmed someone had also attempted to strangle her. Police said it is not known which injury caused her death.

The Hilliard case has remained unsolved despite being re-investigated by cold case’ teams in the past.

Records show Sutcliffe worked for Bradford-based T & WH Clark (Holdings) Ltd as a lorry driver delivering goods to and from a number of Black Country destinations throughout this period.

The probability of Sutcliffe committing other attacks and murders was also noted by the Byford Inquiry into the conduct of West Yorkshire Police in 1981, and later by the force’s former chief constable, Keith Hellawell.

The top cop spent 14 years investigating the Ripper’s activities. He checked Sutcliffe’s logbook and delivery routes as an HGV lorry driver, and agreed the killer may have committed another 22 other linked attacks nationwide.

He highlighted additional victims such as nurses and students, who were not linked to the Ripper at the time because it was originally thought Sutcliffe was only targeting prostitutes

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