The following is the press conference held by the West Yorkshire Police at 9 pm on Sunday, January 4 1981, to announce the arrest of a suspect in the Yorkshire Ripper case, from the book "Press Conduct In The Sutcliffe Case", a report by the Press Council (1983). The Press Council was able to obtain, from the Independent Radio News, a recording made by Pennine Radio of some five minutes of the press conference, and the transcript is provided below.


The recording began with Mr Gregory announcing:
A man was detained in Sheffield by the Sheffield police in connection with a matter which was identified as theft of number plates of a motor car and the number plates had been stolen from the West Yorkshire area. He was brought to West Yorkshire as a result of discussions between the South Yorkshire police and the West Yorkshire police; further inquiries were made and this man is now detained here in West Yorkshire and he is being questioned in relation to the Yorkshire Ripper murders. It is anticipated that he will appear before the court in Dewsbury tomorrow. I cannot say where he is at the moment because a lot of inquiries have to be made. Mr Oldfield and Mr Hobson and other senior investigating officers have to make a number of inquiries tonight but I can tell you that we are absolutely delighted with developments at this stage, absolutely delighted.
Questioning at the conference began:
Q. Can you give us any details at all about the murders?
A. No, not at this stage because a man is being interviewed at this very moment in time. But indications are that there will be a charge later tomorrow.
Q. Can you tell us whether he has a Geordie accent?
A. I cannot tell you that because I've not heard him speak.
Q. Can you give us any details of the arrest, circumstances of, if not actual details?
A. All I can say is that he was detained in Sheffield. He was with a lady... he was detained in relation to an incident in Sheffield and he was detained, let me tell you, by a sergeant, two out standing police officers, a Sergeant Ring of the South Yorkshire police, Robert Ring, and a Constable Robert John Hydes of the South Yorkshire police. They're uniformed officers who have my heartfelt thanks, who made this original detection and as a result of questioning later on by West Yorkshire police we have reached the present stage but it is just the initial stages and I thought you should know now before we go any further.
Q. Are you scaling down the operation with the general hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper from this moment on?
A. Right.
Q. Do you know yet, Sir, what he'll be charged with in the morning. Will it be the motoring offence probably?
A. I can't tell you what the charge will be at this moment but it may be a serious charge.
Q. Can you say whether the two officers were on foot or in a vehicle?
A. The South Yorkshire officers? I think they were on an anti-vice patrol.
Q. Would that imply foot, or vehicle?
A. Vehicle.
Q. Can you say what time?
A. About 11 o'clock on Friday evening.
Q. p.m.?
A. Yes, p.m.
Q. Can you tell us where it was?
A. In Sheffield. I am sorry I am not certain of the area.
Q. Was it near a motorway?
A. Near the centre of Sheffield.
Q. Can you say if there was any violence of any sort?
A. None at all.
Q. Can you tell us whether it was a red light district?
A. I cannot tell you that, I don't know.
Q. What has happened to the lady who was there, you mentioned a lady?
A. She has not come to any harm.
Q. Is she helping with your inquiries?
A. She is, yes.
Q. Does that mean she is under arrest?
A. No, she's not under arrest.
Q. (muffled).
A. He was with a lady, yes.
Q. Was she an acquaintance of long standing?
A. No.
Q. Was this car being sought because there had been some sort of incident earlier?
A. No.
Q. Would the officers first stop him because of the question of number plates or because of the lady?
A. They came upon him in a certain position and they looked at the car, checked on the number plates and found they were false.
Q. Would it be fair to say it was an indelicate position?
A. I can't say whether it was number 4-64, or what, I don't know what the position was at all.
Q. At that stage was the lady injured in any way?
A. None at all.
Q. Was he injured?
A. Not at all, no.
Q. Were they in a state of undress?
A. I don't think so, I can't say, I don't know. I have not seen you see, all the statements have not come through yet.
Q. But the car was at a standstill, it wasn't flagged down?
A. No, it was at a standstill.
Q. Can you tell us what car Mr Gregory?
A. It was a Rover motor car.
Q. Was that the old style or the new style?
A. ... bearing false plates. I don't know.
Q. What colour was it?
A. Dark colour VHS.
Q. Can you, getting down to the really important things, are you able to tell us the man's ... without giving his name?
A. His name will be disclosed tomorrow.
Q. What about his age?
A. His age will be disclosed tomorrow, he's about 30 odd and he comes from Bradford.
Q. Is he married?
A. I think he is a married man.
Q. Had he got a North East accent?
A. I don't know about that, I don't know yet. I've not spoken to him, he's a married man.
Q. Is he a family man?
A. I don't know.
Q. As far as you know Sir is he or has he been observed...to be living with his wife?
A. It's too early to go into too much detail and if I could I would tell you but he's helping police with their inquiries at this very moment in time.

(NOTE: Source (used by permission): The Press Council, "Press Conduct In The Sutcliffe Case" Photo source: Paul Begg & Martin Fido, "Great Crimes And Trials Of The Twentieth Century")