The Yorkshire Ripper

If you haven't already watched ''The Yorkshire Ripper Files: A Very British Crime Story'' you cannot call yourself a true crime fan. Compared to the United States, the United Kingdom is not very famous for its serial killers. However, this story has sparked a lot of controversies. There are written books about it, docuseries and documentaries. In 2020 Netflix also released a documentary covering the case called "The Ripper".


Bilboard looking for the Yourkshire Ripper | Source: BBC



Table of Contents:


Who was the Yorkshire Ripper?

Victims

Wilma MacCann

Emily Jackson

Irene Richardson

Tina Atkinson

Jane MacDonald

Jean Jordan

Yvonne Pearson

Helen Rytka

Vera Millward

Josephine Whitaker

Barbara Leach

Marguerite Walls

Jacqueline Hill

Survivors

Map of attacks and murders

Newspapers

Letters and tape

Arrest and Media Sequence of Events

Trial and Evidence

Events after the trial



Who was the Yorkshire Ripper?


Peter William Sutcliffe
Peter Sutcliffe | Source: The Guardian

Peter William Sutcliffe was born on the 2nd of June of 1946 in Bingley, West Yorkshire. Reportedly he was a loner at school and left at the age of 15 to work a series of menial jobs.


Between 1971 and 1973 he worked at a television factory. And in 1975 he worked as a driver for a tire company. However, in 1976 he was dismissed from his job for the theft of used tires.



It is said that as a young man he would often use the services of prostitutes. It is believed that one of those prostitutes stole his money, which later on fueled his hatred of women. Also in his teenage years, it is said that Sutcliffe had an obsession with voyeurism - and he spent his days spying on prostitutes, and the men who used their services.




On the 14th of February, 1967 Peter met Sonia Szurma. She would, later on, become his wife in 1974. The following few years Sonia suffered several miscarriages and doctors informed her that she would never be able to have children.




Sonia Szurma and Peter Sutcliffe | Source: The Daily Mail


Victims


TImetable of The Yorkshire Ripper Victims
Timetable of The Yorkshire Ripper's Victims

Wilma McCann

Wilma used to work as a prostitute in Leeds. She was the first victim of the Ripper to be publically acknowledged. She was knocked over with a blunt object or stone, suffering 3 blows to the head. She was found naked, with a slit throat, with blood and semen all over her. Her body was found with a subsequent amount of stab wounds as well. Initially, the police released minimal information to the public regarding the seriousness of her injuries.


Wilma MacCann
Source: The Yorkshire Ripper

Following his arrest, the Ripper issued a statement, describing the events of the night of 30th October 1975:

That was the incident that started it all off, I was driving through Leeds late at night I’d been to somewhere having a couple of pints, you’ll know the date better than me.
I was in a Ford Capri K registered a lime Green one with a black roof with a sun grill in the back window. I saw this woman thumbing a lift where the Wetherby Road branches to the right but you can carry straight on. She was wearing some white trousers and a jacket. I stopped and asked her how far she was going. She said “NOT FAR THANKS FOR STOPPING” and she jumped in.

WIlma MacCann Murder Scene
The Murder Scene | Source: Yorkshire Evening Post

I was in quite a good mood and we were talking on the way. She said something about just before we stopped about did I want business. To me, I didn’t know what she meant by this. I asked her to explain and straight away a scornful tone came into her voice which took me by surprise because she had been so pleasant. She said, “BLOODY HELL DO I HAVE TO SPELL IT OUT” she said it as though it was a challenge. My reaction was to agree to go with her. She told me where to park the car. It was just off this road we turned left we came to this field which sloped up I parked near the field. We sat there for a minute talking then all of a sudden her tone changed and she said “WELL WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR LET'S GET ON WITH IT.”

The Yorkshire Rippers Car
Peter's Ford Capri GT | Source: Wikipedia

Before we stopped she had said that it would cost a fiver. I was a bit surprised I was expecting it to be a bit romantic. I think she had been drinking because she was being irrational. I couldn’t have intercourse in a split second I had to be aroused. At this point, she opened the car door and got out. She slammed the door and shouted “I’M GOING, IT'S GOING TO TAKE YOU ALL FUCKING DAY.” She shouted something like “YOU’RE FUCKING USELESS.” I suddenly felt myself seething with rage. I got out of the car wanting to hit her to pay her back for the insult. I went to her and said, “HANG ON A MINUTE DON’T GO OFF LIKE THAT.” She was only 3 or 4 strides away she turned and came back to me. She said something like “OH YOU CAN FUCKING MANAGE IT NOW CAN YOU.” She sounded as though she was taunting me. I said, “THERE’S NOT MUCH ROOM IN THE CAR CAN WE DO IT ON THE GRASS?” This was with my idea of hitting her. She said, “I’M NOT GOING TO DO IT HERE BLOODY WELL NEXT TO THE CAR.” With that, she stormed up the hill into the field. I had a toolbox on the back seat of the car and I took a hammer out of the toolbox and I followed her into the field. I took my car coat off and carried it over my arm I had the hammer in my right hand. I put my coat on the grass. She sat down on the coat. She unfastened her trousers. She said “COME ON THEN GET IT OVER WITH.” I said, “DON’T WORRY I WILL.” I then hit her with the hammer on her head. I was stood up at that time behind her. I think I hit her on the top of the head.

Source: The Yorkshire Post
I hit her once or twice on the head. She fell down flat on her back and started making a horrible noise like a moaning gurgling noise. I thought “God what have I done” I knew I had gone too far. I ran to the car intending to drive off. I sat in the car for a while I could see her arm moving. I was in a numb panic I still had the hammer in my hand. I put it back in my toolbox. I half expected her to get up and realized I would be in serious trouble. I thought the best way out of the mess was to make sure she couldn’t tell anybody. I took a knife out of the toolbox it had a wood handle with one sharp side the blade was about 7″ long about 1/2 – 3/4″ wide. I went to her. She was still lying on her back. I thought that to make certain she was dead I would stab her in places like the lungs and the throat. I stabbed her at least four times once in the throat. Before I stabbed her in the body I pulled her blouse or whatever it was and her bra so I could see where I was stabbing her. I was in a blind panic when I was stabbing her just to make sure she wouldn't tell anyone. What a damn stupid thing to do just to keep somebody quiet. If I was thinking logically at the time I would have stopped and told someone I’d hit her with the hammer. That was the turning point. I realize I overreacted at the time, nothing I have done since then affected me like this. After I’d stabbed her I went back to the car, I remember that I’d taken my coat off the ground after I’d hit her with the hammer and I’d taken my coat back to the car. I started the car and shot off back along the narrow road leading to the road swung the car around and drove away towards Leeds. I drove home as soon as possible.

The Official Police Report | Source: The Yorkshire Ripper

I was then living at my mother-in-law's house at 44 Tanton Crescent, Clayton, Bradford. I was very frightened and don’t even remember driving there. I thought I was bound to get caught. I parked my car outside the house. I’m trying to remember if it was my Mother-in-Law’s house I was living at then I’ve thought it out now it must have been her house. I looked over my clothing before I went into the house. I went straight to the bathroom and washed my hands and went to bed. I don’t have any of the clothes I was wearing that night they are worn out. I cannot honestly remember what I did with the hammer and the knife I don’t remember chucking them away that night. I haven’t got the knife now I may have kept the hammer in the toolbox but I’m not sure of that even. The next day I saw it on the TV news about the murder and I felt sick and I still half expected a knock on the door by the Police. I carried on trying to act as normal living with my wife and in-laws. At that time I worked at Common Road Tyre Services at Okenshaw. After that first time, I developed and built up a hatred for prostitutes in order to justify within me the reason why I had attacked and killed Wilma MacCann"

Wilma's son Richard MacCann, in 2004, wrote and published a book entitled ‘Just a Boy: The True Story of a Stolen Childhood,’ where he detailed everything that happened to him following his mothers' murder.


Emily Jackson

Emily was a part-time prostitute that lived in Churwell. Her husband, Sydney, was a local roofing contractor, and she helped with the paperwork and drove the old Commer van for him from job to job since he did not have a driver's license.


Emily Jackson, 42
Emily Jackson | Source: Yorkshire Live

Emily and her husband would always go around and spend their evenings in pubs. Around Christmas time during 1975, due to financial struggles, she would start charging the men she would meet in those pubs. One of her favorite places for business was the Gaiety pub on Roundhay Road, Leeds.


Gaiety pub on Roundhay Road, Leeds
Gaiety pub on Roundhay Road, Leeds | Source: Leodis

This is where Emily would meet her faith in the same pub that she loved to visit so much. On the night of January 20th, 1976, she would meet with Peter aka "The Ripper" (Even though at the time he still didn't have that nickname). Around 6.45 p.m. Emily left her husband in the pub and went outside to look for customers. At 7.00 p.m. she met with Peter and told him her rate was 5 pounds.

Emily then proceeded to get in the car with the stranger and drive 2 miles away from the pub in the direction of Leeds city center.

Later on, in his confessions, Sutcliffe admitted that her cheap perfume made him hate her even more. After they found a cozy spot, Sutcliffe pretended that the car won't start. Emily offered to hold a lighter so he can see what the problem is. While she was busy providing light, Sutcliffe struck her twice with his hammer.


Sutcliffe then dragged her body into a yard and pushed up her sweater, cardigan, and bra, and pulled down her pants. He then took a screwdriver and stabbed her a total of 52 times in the neck, breasts, lower abdomen, and back. He proceeded by thrusting a big tree branch between her legs. A nearby passing car startled him and he fled the scene.


Emily's body was found at 8.10 a.m. the following morning by a worker passing by. When the police arrived at the scene there wasn't much evidence, they were able to determine that she was dragged to that location. The only evidence they did find was a wellington boot print which was later identified as being from a Dunlop Warwick. The boot size was probably a size 7, and no larger than a size 8. In the nearby sand, they found a similar boot print. From the injuries Emily had sustained, the police linked her murder with the murder of Wilma McCann.


Emily Jacksons' Murder Scene | Source: execulink

Extract from Sutcliffe's confessions:

I stabbed her frenziedly without thought with a Phillips screwdriver all over her body. I had taken the screwdriver with the hammer in the well of the driving seat. I was seething with hate for her. I remember picking up a piece of wood from the yard, about 2-3ft long and 3" x 1", and pushing up against her vagina with it as she lay on her back. I cannot recall taking her knickers down. I threw the wood away in the yard. I left her lying on her back, I never took anything from her. Just as I was about to get into my car, a car came round with its lights on and stopped a few yards from where my car was. I don't know what make of car it was, but it scared me. I put the hammer and screwdriver on the car floor and drove away. I went straight home to my mother-in-law's house. At that time I had a feeling of satisfaction and justification for what I'd done. I found that I didn't have any blood on my clothes which I could see, so I had no need to dispose of them. I am still unable to recall if it was the same hammer I used on Jackson as I did on McCann, but I do recall buying a new hammer from a hardware shop near the roundabout in Clayton. It had a flat head on one side and a nail extractor on the other, which I later used on women. The hammer I used on the first two had a flat head on one end and a ball on the other.

Irene Richardson

Irene was 28 at the time she was killed. She was homeless and had absolutely no money. A few days before her death she was seen walking around the streets to earn some money.


Irene RIchardson
Irene Richardson | Source: John Halley

When she met with Sutcliffe on the 5th of February,1975, she was so desperate that she got in the car without even saying a word. Sutcliffe said that initially, he did not want her, but he changed his mind when she said she will give him a good time. Then they drove to Soldier's Field which had apartment blocks nearby.


Soldier's Field | Source: execulink

Near the field there were toilets and Irene got out of the car as she needed to use them. Sutcliffe also got out of the car taking his hammer and knife into his pockets. The toilets were locked so Irene took off her boots and coat and squatted to pee on the grass. It was the perfect moment for Sutcliffe, he struck her three times with the hammer. One of the blows was so hard it drove her skull nearly an inch into her brain. However hard the blows were they were not the cause of death.



The toilets beside the murder scene | Source: John Halley

While she was still conscious he stabbed her with his knife in the neck, throat, and three times in the stomach. The downward strokes caused her intestines to spill out. He ripped her jacket and blouse open. He pulled the right leg of her tights off. He placed her brown boots over her thighs and left her skirt pulled up. Sutcliffe then heard voices nearby and in panic, he covered Irene's body with her coat and fled the scene.


Irene Richardson's body
Irene RIchardson's Body | Source: John Halley

Early the next morning a man jogging saw a body and thought she was maybe ill. When he asked if she was okay there was no reply so he brushed her blood-matted hair away from her face and saw glazed eyes and blood on her neck. Sutcliffe had left a clue. Though the road is wide he'd parked his car on the grass and left behind tire marks. They were a common type though and 100,000 vehicles in West Yorkshire alone would match them. Sutcliffe drove home to Garden Lane but strangely no blood had splashed onto his clothes so he kept them. Later he told police he was out of control and obsessed with prostitutes.


Irene Richardson Crime Scene
The Crime Scene | Source: John Halley

Tina Atkinson

Tina's full name was Patricia Atkinson, aged 32, she was working as a prostitute. She was the first murder victim of the Yorkshire Ripper in 1977. Tina used to spend her nights cruising from pub to pub.


Patricia Atkinson
Patricia Atkinson | Source: IMDb

On the night of 23rd April 1977, her first haul was at the Perseverance, in Lumb Lane, Bradford. She was pretty drunk before moving to the next one, the Carlisle, which was only a short walk back to her flat. The manager at the Carlisle had decided that Tina had enough to drink and around 10.30 p.m. the staff remembered her leaving the pub. She set off to her next destination the International, and up to around 11.00 pm, several people on the street remembered seeing her dangling around (a toxicology report later showed she’d drank about twenty measures of alcohol).

At this time Sutcliffe had murdered three prostitutes in Leeds so they hadn’t started going around in small groups in Bradford. Sutcliffe was cruising around in his Ford Corsair having killed Irene Richardson in Leeds 76 days before. He spotted Patricia who was banging on the roof of a parked car, shouting obscenities. The driver of that car sped off.


Sutcliffe saw his opportunity and pulled up next to her. Patricia got into the car without hesitation. She said she had a flat nearby and they drove there within minutes. Getting out of the car Sutcliffe retrieved a claw-hammer from underneath his seat and hid it under his coat. Within minutes of entering the flat, Patricia closed the curtains and got on the bed.


Patricia Atkinson's buillding
Tina's Flat Building | Source: John Halley

Sutcliffe struck her on the back of the head with four hard blows. After she fell off the bed he hit her again and then dragged her back onto the bed. He pulled down her jeans and pants and exposed her breasts before hitting her repeatedly with the nose end of the hammer and then clawing her with the other end. He stabbed her six times in the stomach with a knife and proceeded to slash her back.


Patricia Atkinsons Flat
TIna's flat | Source: John Halley

He threw the bed linen on top of her and left. On the drive home, he tossed the hammer into the grounds of Harrison's Printers in Cottingley Bridge.) Back at home at the kitchen sink, he rinsed blood of his jeans and boots. The next day a friend of Patricia’s called at her flat at teatime. With no answer, he found the door open and went in to see blood on the floor. In the bedroom, he saw that his friend was dead.


When police arrived on the scene again the only evidence they could find was a bloody footprint on a bottom bed sheet from a size seven Dunlop Warwick wellington boot, which matched the footprints found at the Emily Jackson murder scene. It was clear, that the Yorkshire Ripper had now expanded his territory to include Bradford. As well that he had committed a murder indoors for the first and last time.


Extract from Sutcliffe's Confessions:

I followed her into the flat, she closed the curtains, and I hung my coat on the hook on the back of the door. She took her coat off and sat on the bed, her back was slightly towards me. I went up to her and hit her on the back of the head with the hammer. She fell off the bed onto the floor. I picked her up and put her back on the bed. That was the first time I had noticed the red blood, before it had always been dark, but this time in the light I saw lots of blood on the bed and on the floor. When she was on the floor I hit her another twice, or three times, before I put her on the bed. I pulled the bedclothes back before I put her on the bed. She had already pulled her jeans down before I hit her. I pulled her clothes up and I hit her several times on her stomach and back with the claw part of the hammer and I saw that I was making marks on her body doing this. I then covered her up the bedclothes. I think she was lying face down or on her side when I left her. When I first hit her she was making a horrible gurgling sound, and she carried on making this noise even though I'd hit her a few times. She was still making a gurgling noise when I left, but I knew she would not be in a state to tell anybody.

Jayne MacDonald


Jayne MacDonald
Jayne MacDonald | Source: execulink

Jayne was a 16-year-old shop assistant. She is the first victim who was not a prostitute, also dubbed as "The Innocent Victim". Jayne had left school to focus on work.


On the night of June 25, 1977, Jayne had gone to the city center of Leeds to meet up with friends. The group went into a nearby pub "The Hofbrauhaus". There Jayne met with an 18-year-old boy named Mark.


They had danced together and around 10.30 p.m. they had left the pub alone. Jayne had suggested that they go and grab some fish and chips. By the time their order was ready Jayne had already missed the last bus.





Jayne MacDonald
Jayne MacDonals | Source: Execulink

Mark then suggested that the couple goes to his place, and if his sister is home she can give Jayne a ride. When they arrived his sisters' car was not out front so that opportunity passed them by.


Then they decide that they would walk towards Jayne's house. They ended up laying in a field up until 1.00 a.m.


At around 1.30 a.m. they parted ways with an agreement to see each other later that week. Jayne went to a nearby kiosk to call a taxi but she received no reply. She proceeded to walk home all by herself. She passed near the Grandways supermarket where she worked.


She continued past the Gaiety, where Emily Jackson was last seen and was walking along Chapeltown Road in the direction of Reginald Street, and her home at 77 Scott Hall Avenue, just six doors away from the home of the first Yorkshire Ripper murder victim, Wilma McCann.


At around 2.00 a.m. Peter Sutcliffe saw Jayne walking around. He parked his car and observed her for a few minutes. He then got out of the car carrying his two favorite weapons in his pocket, the hammer, and the kitchen knife. He was certain that she was a prostitute because of the area she was in and the time it was. He also said that he saw her talking with a couple of girls on a street corner.




Sutcliffe then followed her for a while and Jayne had no idea she was being followed as she never turned around. On Reginal Street near an adventure playground, Sutcliffe struck Jayne on the back of her head 3 times with his hammer. He then proceeded to drag her body face down around 20 yards. He dropped her body in a corner of the playground, took her blouse up, and stabbed her around 20 times in the chest and back.


Jayne MacDonald murder scene
The crime scene | Source: TheCrimeMag

At around 10 a.m. on July 26th, 1997 two small children found her body near a wall at the playground. When the police arrived at the scene her body was facing down and upon close look, they saw that she was stabbed multiple times in the chest and back in the same spot. Another thing they found was a broken bottle with the top still attached embedded into her chest.


Later on in his confessions, Sutcliffe claimed that he did not deliberately embed the bottle into her chest and that it must have happened as he dragged her through the playground. An examination showed she was not drunk at the time of death. She had only had soft drinks that night. Because Jayne was "The Innocent Victim" not a mere prostitute slaying, her case gathered a lot of national attention. The police were forced to take serious measures and expand the search and forces to catch the Yorkshire Ripper.


Extract from Sutcliffe's confessions:

The next one I did I still feel terrible about, it was the young girl Jayne MacDonald. I read recently about her father dying of a broken heart and it brought it all back to me. I realized what sort of a monster I had become." I believed at the time I did it that she was a prostitute. This was on a Saturday night. I drove to Leeds in my Corsair, I think it was the red one, but I'm not 100% sure. At this time the urge to kill prostitutes was very strong and I had gone out of my mind.
"When I saw in the papers that MacDonald was so young and not a prostitute, I felt like someone inhuman and I realized that it was a devil driving me against my will and that I was a beast. When the Ripper came up in conversation at work or in a pub I was able to detach my mind from the fact that it was me they were talking about, and I was able to discuss it normally. This amazed me at times that I was able to do this."


Jean Jordan

Sutcliffe then followed her for a while and Jayne had no idea she was being followed as she never turned around. On Reginal Street near an adventure playground, Sutcliffe struck Jayne on the back of her head 3 times with his hammer. He then proceeded to drag her body face down around 20 yards. He dropped her body in a corner of the playground, took her blouse up, and stabbed her around 20 times in the chest and back.s house. They moved to a house in Bradford in September of 1977. Sutcliffe had also bought a new car at the time, selling the old one as it was used with all of the previous victims. Chances are he was getting a bit nervous that he might get caught. He had bought a red Ford Corsair, and he was working on it in the driveway of his new house on October 1st, 1977.


Jean Jordan
Jean Jordan | Source: Execulink

On October 1st, 1977, Jean's husband had gone out with a few of his friends. When he returned home the children were sleeping but there was no sign of Jean. Jean would usually go on trips to Scotland to visit relatives and that is what her husband thought she did that day. Little did he know that she was out to catch some paying customers.


Sutcliffe had familiarized himself with the Manchester area, especially the locations of prostitutes. Shortly after 9.00 pm, he went out to those areas to hunt his next victim. He saw a few prostitutes there and picked out one that according to him looked "slim and not bad looking". His target was Jean. He asked her if she is "open for business" and she replied that she will meet him down the road. She had another customer waiting for her but unfortunately, she decided to go with Sutcliffe instead.

Jean Jordan Crime Scene
Jean Jordans' Crime Scene | Source: execulink

They negotiated the price would be the standard 5 pounds in advance. Sutcliffe paid and Jean went out of the car into an alley. While working on his car earlier that day Sutcliffe had found a hammer left in the garage by the previous owner of the house. That hammer is what he used to hit Jean 11 times in the head. He soon realized that they were not the only "couple" to use that spot, and he saw a car stopping with the lights on.




Sutcliffe in a state of panic pushed Jeans' body into some bushes and kneeled near his car. The car soon drove off but another one came in its spot. Seeing that apparently, the location is quite used he decided that the risk is too high. So he got into his car and drove home.

During his drive back home Sutcliffe realized that he had left some incriminating evidence behind. The £5 note he had given her was one included in his pay packet at Clark's only two days previously and was a newly minted note. He had two options, go back to the scene and risk being seen there, or just go back home and hope that the police will not be able to trace the note back to him. He decided to not go back and wait for the newspapers to report the murder.


A week went by and there was no news for a new victim of the Ripper. So Sutcliffe figured that he hid the body so well it was still where he left it. On Sunday, October 9th, he went back to the crime scene. When he located Jeans' body he searched her purse and looked under the body, but the note was nowhere to be found. Uptook by rage he dragged her body out of the bushes and started taking off her clothes, searching each piece for the note. He was down to her boots, the last thing left on her, and yet he still couldn't find the note even there.


With despair coming over him he turned his anger to her body. He started stabbing the body with a knife, slashing it with vengeance. He blew her stomach open and vomited due to the stench. However, that did not stop him, he took a piece of glass and slashed her throat.

Sutcliffe had the brilliant idea that he will mutilate the body to such an extent that the police would think this murder does not have the same pattern as the previous ones. He decided to cut off the head and make it seem like a "mystery". Considering that the Rippers trademark was hammer wounds and cuts, surely the police would think they have another criminal on their hands. That, and also, it was not in his usual area of killing. However, the glass was not able to cut off her head, and full of failure Sutcliffe got into his car and fled the scene.


On the next day at around 10.30 am (October 10th) two men found Jean's body. The injuries she received made her unrecognizable. The police issued a report in the newspaper and that is when her husband Alan, recognized her clothing from that night. Police found Jean's purse on October 15th around 60 meters (200 feet) away from her body. The purse had been searched through but they were able to find the 5-pound note in a side pocket. Unfortunately, because a lot of time had passed from the time of death, the search for the owner of the note had widened. Sutcliffe was interviewed about the note on November 2nd, but he had a strong alibi, his wife told police that he was at home during that night. He was able to escape any suspicion that he was the Yorkshire Ripper.


Extract from Sutcliffe's Confessions:

I realized that she hadn't got the £5 note in her clothes, and that it must have been in her handbag. I roamed about all over the allotments frantically searching for the bag, but I couldn't find it. I was cursing the girl and my luck all the time." Having not found the £5 note, I gave vent to my frustrations by picking up a piece of broken pane of glass and slashing it across her stomach. When I did this there was a nauseating smell which made me reel back and immediately vomit, it was horrendous."
I forgot to say that before I did this it was my intention to create a mystery about the body, I felt sure this was the end for me anyway. I had taken a hacksaw out of my car intending to remove her head. I started sawing through her neck, the blade might have been blunt because I was getting nowhere at all, so I gave it up. If I had cut the head off I was going to leave it somewhere else to make a big mystery out of it. The glass I used was about 3/4 of a pane with the corner missing." I was very frustrated not having found the £5 note, and thinking that my time was up. I remember I kicked her a few times, and I rolled her over before I left her. I then drove away realising I should stay looking for the fiver, but I thought I had been there long enough."

Yvonne Pearson


Yvonne Pearson
Yvonne Pearson | Source: IMDb

Yvonne was a 21-year-old prostitute, killed by the Ripper on January 21st, 1978. Her body was found two months after the murder. On the night of January 21st Yvonne was at her favorite local pub " The Flying Dutchman". She left the pub around 9.30 pm telling her friend she is going to make some money. Yvonne was supposed to appear at a court hearing five days later (January 26th) on a charge of soliciting.

That same night Sutcliffe had helped his in-laws to move to a new house. After he helped them he went on a night drive to find his next victim. He saw Yvonne when he was backing up on a street and almost got caught in an accident with another car. He rolled down his window and asked her where she had come from, and she said, "Just good timing. You can put it down to fate."




They agreed on the regular price of £5 and soon they were on their way to a waste ground at the back of Drummond's mill, where Sutcliffe's father worked. After Yvonne got out of the car he immediately hit her with a hammer he had hidden under his car seat. Unfortunately for him, another car pulled up beside him so he took Yvonne's body near an old sofa. In an attempt to shut Yvonne up, he started to stuff her throat with a handful of horsehair he had found near the sofa while holding her nose. Finally, he the body by throwing soil, rubble, and turf on it, and then covering the makeshift grave with the old sofa.


Yvinne Pearson crime scene
Yvonne's crime scene | Source: execulink


Extract from Sutcliffe's Confessions:

When the car had gone I was seething with rage. Her jeans were nearly off, because she had undone them at the car, and when I was pulling her by the feet I nearly pulled them off. I pulled her jeans right off. I think I kicked her hard to the head and body. I was senseless with rage and I was kicking away furiously at her. After this, I remember acting very strangely, I talked to her and apologised for what I had done, but she was dead. I put the settee on top of her. I was very distraught and I was in tears when I left her. This was the first time I had apologised to someone I had killed. I drove home, I cannot recall the time, but it was after 9.00 pm. I can't remember if Sonja was in the house or not.

Helen Rytka

Helen Rytka was 18 years old when she was killed. Helen and her sister Rita Rytka were both working as prostitutes and they shared a flat. Though the twin sisters were quite new to the prostitute trade.


Helen Rytka
Helen Rytka | Source: Yorkshire Live

On January 31st, 1978, at around 8.30 pm, Helen and Rita left their flat to look for customers in the prostitute's area of Huddersfield. At around 9.00 pm, Helen already had a customer, and a little while later Rita also got one. Helen was the first one to get back and then she was spotted by Sutcliffe. He convinced Helen there was time for a quick one in a timber yard nearby. As he drove to the yard he thought about using his usual method, getting the girl to go in the back of the car and hitting them while they are with their backs turned. Helen had another plan, as soon as the engine was off she had already unbuttoned her jeans and was ready to begin. Surprisingly, Sutcliffe got aroused from that, but he used the excuse he had to pee to get out of the car.

When he got back, Helen agreed to go to the back of the car so they can have sex. While trying to get into the back, Sutcliffe swung his hammer, but it got caught up in the roof of the car and Helen assumed he just struck her with his hand. She told him that there was no need for that and that he does not even have to pay. But he then hit her hard with the hammer and she called to the ground making moaning noises. Sutcliffe realized that two taxi drivers could see them, but they were oblivious to the situation.


Helen Rytka Murder Place
The Timber Yard | Source: John Halley

Sutcliffe then grabbed her by the hair and dragged her to the end of the wood yard. She was still not dead, her eyes were still open and she was using her hands to protect herself from the next hit. He told her to keep quiet and she would be all right. As she had got him aroused moments earlier, he went ahead with the sex act "as the only means to keep her quiet". She was the only victim that he had sex with.


After the taxi drivers had left, Sutcliffe got his hammer, and as Helen was heading towards the car, he hit her with heavy blows to the back of the head. He then dragged her to the front of the car and proceeded to throw her belongings away. It was obvious to Sutcliffe that she was still alive, so he went to his car and grabbed a knife, and then stabbed her several times through the heart and lungs. Before leaving, he hid her body behind a stack of timber.


Helen Rytka murder scene
Crime Scene | Source: Execulink

Rita Rytka waited 20 minutes for her sister to return, but there was no sign of Helen, so Rita went home. Rita was afraid to call the police because of their profession. After three days she got the courage and contacted them. A police dog was able to find the body quickly.

Ten minutes after the search of the timber yard began on February 3rd, her body had been located in a narrow space behind a pile of timber and a disused garage. She was found covered with a sheet of asbestos. Her clothes were scattered over a wide area, one of her shoes was found twenty yards away. Her bra and black polo-neck jumper were pushed up above her breasts, but other than her socks, all other clothing had been removed. There were three stab wounds to the chest, including indications of multiple stabs through the same wounds, and scratch marks on her chest.


Forensic Officers Search for Clues | Source: TheCrimeMag

Extract from Sutcliffe's Confessions:

I told her not to make any more noise, and she would be all right. By this time, I was aroused sexually, so I had intercourse with her. I just undid my fly, I spread her legs out and did it. It only took a few minutes before I ejaculated inside her. Her eyes appeared to be focusing on me when I was doing it, but she just laid there limp, she didn't put anything into it.

When I'd finished, I got up, and she began moaning once again and started to move as well. We were out of sight of the taxi drivers, but I knew they could quite possibly have heard the sounds. I couldn't drive away for obvious reasons, one being that she was still showing signs of life. I was worried sick that I was about to be discovered, and was furious that she could not keep quiet. I took my knife from my pocket, I think it was the one with the rosewood handle, which is probably still at home in my knife drawer. I plunged the knife into her ribs and again into her heart, I did this five or six times. Before I did this I had taken all her clothes off, apart from her jumper. I threw these over the wall.

Vera Millward

Vera was a 40-year-old prostitute with serious health issues, she had only one lung and three major operations behind her back in 1976 and 1977. Also, she had severe stomach pains. She had a pretty hard life, she had 3 children but when her husband died they were taken into the system.


Vera Millward
Vera Millward | Source: Manchester Evening News

Vera was the ninth victim and the last victim to be a prostitute, she was murdered in Manchester. On the night of May 16, 1978, at around 10.00 pm, Vera left her apartment and told her boyfriend that she is going to get some medication for her stomach cramps. Her boyfriend knew what that meant and he didn't expect to see her for at least a few hours.

Usually, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Vera had regular customers, but that night they didn't show up. That is when Sutcliffe pulled up and they drove around two miles to the Manchester Royal Infirmary. Sutcliffe took her down with his usual pattern, when she got out of the car, he hit her three times to the head with a hammer. Then he dragged her around 4 meters (12 feet) to a fence.


When Vera's body was found the following morning, she was lying on her right side, face down, arms folded beneath her, and her legs straight. Her body was covered by her coat, her boots were placed on top of her body, and a piece of paper covered her head. Her dress was raised and she was slashed so viciously across the stomach that her intestines had spilled out the wounds. She was also repeatedly stabbed through the same wound in her back, just below the lower left ribs. Her right eyelid was punctured and the eye was bruised.


Vera Millward Crime Scene
Vera Millward Crime Scene | Source: TheCrimeMag

Extract from Sutcliffe's Confessions

She got out of my car and went to the back door. I picked my hammer up from under the seat and walked round the back of the car. As she was opening the rear door I hit her on the head with the hammer, and she dived backwards past where I was stood. She was on her hands and knees when I hit her again at least once. She fell flat on her face. I pulled her by her wrists over to the edge of the area where there was either a fence or bushes.

I took out my knife I was carrying, I think it may have been the same one I used on Rytka, but I'm not sure. I pulled her clothes up and slashed her stomach either vertical or diagonal. It opened up her stomach. Then I rolled her over onto her stomach and left her lying there. I drove away. I think I had to reverse out to get back again.

Josephine Whitaker

Josephine was a 19-year-old woman working as a society clerk. She was the first non-prostitute victim. This led to a panic in West Yorkshire, as now the Ripper was no longer targeting only prostitutes, but all women were considered as prey.


Josephine Witaker
Josephine Witaker | Source: Yorkshire Live

On the night of April 4th, 1979, Josephine was visiting her grandparents, Tom and Mary Priestley, showing them the new silver watch she had just bought. Her grandmother was at a church party across the road and had not returned home until late. She was invited to stay the night, but as her case for storing her contact lenses was at home, and she had a shift the next day, she insisted on walking home by herself. She left at about 11:40 pm.


That same night Sutcliffe was cruising the area around Halifax until he spotted Josephine walking all by herself in the middle of the night.



Sutcliffe quickly parked his car and took the usual tools with him and hid them in his pocket. He started walking behind Josephine and after a few minutes he had caught up with her. He asked her if she was far away from home, and she replied that she was at her grandmother's house and that it was quite a walk back to her house.

They walked towards Savile Park, they were passed by a man walking his dog. The man would, later on, report to police that he had seen a woman, whose description and clothing were similar to Josephine's. She was walking with a man he described as aged nineteen to twenty-two, five foot eight inches in height, of medium build, wearing jeans and a three-quarter length dark-colored coat, who appeared to have not shaved for three or four days, and had mousy-colored, slightly wavy greasy hair.

When they got to the entrance of the park, Josephine told Sutcliffe that she usually takes a shortcut across the field. As they were walking across the field around 35 meters (40 yards) from the main road Sutcliffe struck her with his hammer once as she fell to the ground and a second time to cancel out her moaning. In the meantime, people were walking on the road and in a panic, Sutcliffe dragged the body into a more secluded area. He then proceeded to stab her 21 times with his screwdriver in the chest and stomach, and six times in the right leg, and also thrust the screwdriver into her vagina. Her skull had been fractured from ear to ear. At one point he even bit her breast leaving teeth marks behind.


Josephine Whitaker's body
Josephine's Body | Source: TheCrimeMag

Around 5.40 am on April 5th, a bus driver saw what he thought was a pile of rugs and he reported it to his office. Police were not involved as the incident did not seem to be of importance. At around 6.30 am, a woman was at the bus stop and she also saw the "pile of rugs" but she also saw a shoe nearby, so she went to look and found Josephine's body.


Josephine's Shoe Crime Scene
Josephine's shoe | Source: Youtube

Josephine's 13-year-old brother worked as a newspaper boy, and his route was close to the park. When he was doing his usual route that morning he saw all the activity near the crime scene and recognized the shoe as one of his sisters'. He called his parents, they checked Josephine's room and after they couldn't find her there, they called the police.

When the police arrived at the scene they first thought it was a hit-and-run accident, but upon further investigation, considering the extent of her injuries, they ruled as the Yorkshire Ripper's deed. In her wounds, they found milling oil and metal particles.

Another important clue was that boot prints had been found beside the body that was consistent with those found at the Emily Jackson and Tina Atkinson murders. The sole impressions indicated size seven, but the police established that persons with a shoe size of up to 8 1/2 could comfortably wear the boots. The right shoe showed some wearing and twisting in the center, possibly from the wearer regularly pressing some sort of pedal with his right foot. This suggested the possibility that the killer could be a lorry driver, and coupled with the above, have engineering or mechanical connections.


Extract from Sutcliffe's Confessions:


We both started to walk diagonally across the grass field. We were still talking when we were about 30 - 40 yards from the main road. I asked her what time it was on the clock tower, which was to our right. She looked at the clock and told me what time it was. I forget the time she said. I said to her she must have good eyesight and I lagged behind her pretending to look at the clock. I took my hammer out of my pocket and hit her on the back of the head twice. She fell down and she made a loud groaning sound. To my horror, I saw a figure walking along the main road from my right.

Josephine Whitakers crime scene
The Crime Scene | Source: TheCrimeMag
I took hold of her by the ankles and dragged her face down away from the road further into the field. She was still moaning as I did this. When I thought I was a safe distance from the road, I stopped. Then I heard voices from somewhere behind me to my left. I saw at least two figures walking along the path across the field toward the Huddersfield Road.

Barbara Leach

Barbara was a 20-year-old student in university, about to start her third year in social psychology. She was murdered by the Ripper on September 2nd, 1979. That night she was at the Manville Arms in Bradford with a group of friends.


Barbara Leach
Barbara Leach | Source: The Sun

The Manvill Arms, Bradford
The Manvill Arms, Bradford | Source: Telegraph

The closing time of "The Manville Arms" was around 11.00 pm, and Barbara and her friends helped the landlord to tidy the place up. The landlord rewarded them with a drink. The group had left at around 12.45 pm, and Barbara had decided to go for a walk but none of her friends wanted to go along with her.


At that time Sutcliffe was driving through the area when he saw Barbara leaving her group of friends and walking off all alone. He quickly drove past her and parked into a nearby street. He opened the car door while she walked by his car. He waited for her back to be turned away from his car and he struck her with his hammer.


He then proceeded to drag her into a nearby backyard, rearranged her clothing the usual way, and stabbed her with the same screwdriver he had used on Josephine Whitaker 5 months ago. He then placed her body in a distorted jack-knife position behind a low wall into an area where dustbins were usually kept. He covered her body with an old piece of carpet and placed some stones on top of it.


Police searching for clues at Barbara's crime scene
Police searching for clues at Barbara's crime scene | Source: TheCrimeMag

Barbara's roommates were getting worried as she had not come home after her evening walk. They called the police which at the time were searching the same area for another missing student. They found Barbara's body and didn't need long to realize that the Ripper had struck once more, again not in a prostitute's area.


Extract from Sutcliffe's Confessions:


I drove past her and turned left into a side street. I just drove a few yards and stopped on the nearside. I was just going to get out of the car when Miss Leach turned the corner and walked towards the car. She was walking at a very slow pace. She was wearing jeans. She carried on walking past the car. I left the car and followed her for several yards. I had my hammer out and I think I had my big screwdriver with me. When she reached an entrance yard to a house, I hit her on the head with the hammer, she fell down. She was moaning.

I took hold of her by the wrists, or was it by the ankles, and dragged her up this entrance to the back of the house. She kept making loud moaning noises. There was like a dustbin area at the rear of the house. I remember that I stabbed Barbara with the screwdriver, the same one as Whitaker, and I remember that I put her in the dustbin area and covered her up with something, but I was acting like an automaton and I can't seem to remember the sequence of actions.

Marguerite Walls

Margo was 47-year-old, she worked as a civil servant in Leeds, in the Department of Education and Science. On August 20th, 1980, she was working extra hours as she was going on a holiday the following day. She left the office between 9.30 -10.30 am to walk half a mile to Farsley where she lived.


Marguerite Walls
Marguerite Walls | Source: Getty Images

Meanwhile, Sutcliffe was driving through Farsley when he spotted Margo walking towards him. Sutcliffe parked his car and proceeded to quickly catch up and overtake her over a distance of about 360 meters (400 yards).


Near a driveway with high stone pillars, he hit her with a hammer to the back of the head, shouting "filthy prostitute" as he struck further blows to her head. He then looped a length of rope around her neck, tightening it as he half-carried, half-dragged her about 30 meters (20 yards) from the driveway and into a garden with high walls. There, while kneeling on her chest, he strangled her.




After she was dead, he stripped her leaving only her tights on. He left her body partially covered with grass cuttings and leaves. Her body was discovered the next day by two gardeners. Her shoes were found in the driveway, her skirt, shopping bad and checkbook were found close to the garden.


The garden where Margo Walls was murdered
The garden where Margo was murdered | Source: Daily Mail

Police thought that this was not a murder committed by the Yorkshire Ripper. The pattern was broken, there were no stab wounds, and the victim was strangled. Sutcliffe decided to change his method to mislead the police. This led to the murder being downplayed in the press as it was not considered as a Ripper's attack.


Extract from Sutcliffe's Confessions:


There was nobody else about, but as she was on the pavement, I dragged her inside a gateway quite a few yards, in what appeared to be someone's garden. Right about this time somebody walked past the entrance, I don't know whether they had seen me or not, because they appeared to look in.

I didn't have a knife on me this time, but I had a length of cord which I strangled her with. I removed her clothes and I was going to leave her in an obvious position for people to see, but round about this time the road outside started to be quite busy with pedestrians going back and forth. I changed my mind and covered her up with some straw instead.

Jacqueline Hill

Jacqueline was 20-years-old, she was a third-year student majoring in English. On November 17th, 1980, she was returning home from her student's hall in Leeds. She had caught a bus at 9.00 pm, and got off along the main Leeds-Otley road across from the Arndale Shopping Centre at around 9.23 pm. She had crossed the road to walk to her residence which was approximately 90 meters (100 yards) away.


Jacqueline Hill
Jacqueline Hill | Source: The Sun

Meanwhile, Peter Sutcliffe was sitting in his car parked outside the Arndale Shopping Centre eating KFC and chips.

As he watched Jacqueline cross the street, Sutcliffe quickly switched on the ignition and turned up Alma Road, overtaking her.


He stopped his car and waited for her to walk past. After she did, he got out of the car and began to follow her for a short distance before delivering a blow to her head as she was passing an opening.


Statement from a witness of Jacqueline Hills murder
Statement from witness | Source: The Yorkshire Ripper



Seconds later, another woman began walking down the same road and Sutcliffe quickly hoisted his victim into a standing position before dragging her approximately 27 meters (30 yards) onto some spare land behind the Arndale. He then took her clothes off and stabbed her with his screwdriver repeatedly in the chest and once in the eye.


At the scene of the initial attack, at around 10:00 pm, a