ARREST AND MEDIA SEQUENCE OF EVENTS

The following chronology of arrest and media events was compiled by the Press Council and published in "Press Conduct In The Sutcliffe Case"


SEQUENCE OF EVENTS 2-7 JANUARY 1981

hrsFriday 2 January 1981
2250 Peter William Sutcliffe arrested in Melbourne Avenue, Sheffield, by Pc Robert Hydes, accompanied by Sgt Robert Ring, of South Yorkshire police. He was with prostitute Miss Olivia Reivers. Both taken to Hammerton Road police for questioning.
hrsSaturday 3 January 1981
0750 Mr Sutcliffe collected by West Yorkshire police. Taken to Dewsbury police station for questioning.
2305 Sgt Ring returns to Melbourne Avenue, finds engineer's ball pein hammer and wooden handled knife. Both handed to West Yorkshire police.
hrsSunday 4 January 1981
1230-1330 Mr Sutcliffe admits to police he is the Yorkshire Ripper.
1450 Mr Sutcliffe begins making voluntary statement.
1200-1800 The Star, Sheffield, knows of Mr Sutcliffe's arrest.
1735 West Yorkshire police announce arrest, telephone calls having been made by Mr Robin Baxter, chief press officer for West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police.
1800 Radio Four and ITN publish news of arrest. Both expand coverage as evening goes on.
1809 The Press Association puts out the news "a man being questioned" by Ripper team.
1814 The Press Association uses the word "arrest", attributed to Mr George Oldfield, West Yorkshire's assistant chief constable (crime).
1815 Radio Leeds announces "a man is helping police with their inquiries".
1820 Radio Pennine puts out news of arrest.
1830 IRN begins running story of arrest.
1845 The Press Assocation begins putting out background material to the Ripper story.
1910 The Press Association gives list of Ripper's victims.
1958 The Press Association puts out final background item for night.
2000 Prostitutes Miss Olivia Reivers and Miss Denise Hall taken into protective custody at Hammerton Road police station.
South Yorkshire police receive congratutory telex from West Yorkshire chief constable, Mr Ronald Gregory.
2030 BBC2 carries news of arrest together with background material.
2041 The Press Association gives notice of press conference by the West Yorkshire Police.
2100 West Yorkshire chief constable, Mr Gregory, holds conference.
See "ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED" for transcript of part of the press conference.
2124 The Press Association puts out report on West Yorkshire conference. Mr Gregory says a "man" will appear, probably before Dewsbury magistrates on Monday.
2100-2200 IRN knows (but does not broadcast) Mr Sutcliffe's name and address.
2200-0000 Radio Hallam knows Mr Sutcliffe's name and address.
2200 IRM and Radio Four give report of West Yorkshire Police conference.
2210 BBC1 carries news of arrest, together with material from police conference.
2220 Mr James Brownlow, South Yorkshire chief constable, authorises a press conference at Snig Hill headquarters, Sheffield, with Sgt Ring and Pc Hydes present.
2245 The Press Association gives notice of South Yorkshire police conference. Mr Sutcliffe's name and address carried in the Daily Star, The Sun, Daily Express and Yorkshire Post newspapers for Monday morning.
2300
(approx)
ITN gives West Yorkshire conference report with live clips.
2300-0000 The Press Association says Mr Sutcliffe's name and address known. BBC regional television knows Mr Sutcliffe's name and address.
0000 Sgt Ring and Pc Hydes give interviews, first to radio and then to independent television.
hrsMonday 5 January 1981
0010 The Press Association puts out Mr Sutcliffe's name, correctly, but with wrong street address in Bradford.
0020 The Press Association puts out warning to hold name.
0035 The Press Association gives report of South Yorkshire press conference by Sgt Ring and Pc Hydes.
0050 The Press Association cancels its 0010 hrs report of Mr Sutcliffe's name and address, saying police unable to confirm.
0100 Sgt Ring and Pc Hydes give further television interview, for BBC 'Look North' programme, with national newspaper journalists present.
0112 Mr Sutcliffe concludes his voluntary statement begun at 1450 hrs Sunday 4 January. These 55 hand-written pages admitted 15 of the 20 offences he was ultimately charged with.
0300 Miss Reivers and Miss Hall stay at Hallam Tower hotel.
0325 The Press Association gives Mr Sutcliffe's name and correct address in a general story which includes interviews with neighbours.
0700 Radio Sheffield and Radio Leeds give Mr Sutcliffe's name.
0723 The Press Association gives "confirmation" of Mr Peter Sutcliffe's name and address with a police comment "... we cannot deny that the man being questioned is ...".
0930 Sgt Ring and Pc Hydes attend at police headquarters press office for photo call. Many newspaper journalists present seeking whereabouts of Miss Reivers and Miss Hall. At the end of photocall press told Mr Brownlow would congratulate officers publicly at 1600 hours that day, and possibly the two prostitutes would be available for interview during early part of evening.
1042 The Press Association gives further interviews with people associated with Mr Sutcliffe.
1222 The Press Association reports press conference with Ripper squad press liaison officer, Supt Frank Morritt, stating delays in Mr Sutcliffe's court appearance.
1240 The New Standard publishes full front page picture of Mr Sutcliffe.
1245 BBC1 gives Mr Sutcliffe's name.
1400 South Yorkshire police see Miss Reivers and Miss Hall at Hallam Tower hotel. Mention is made of 5,000 offers for story.
Supt Morritt holds press conference stating Mr Sutcliffe to appear before Dewsbury magistrates, the locality from which the false number plates originated.
1424 The Press Association reports Mr Sutcliffe to appear before Dewsbury magistrates around 1630 hrs with one charge in connection with the Ripper murders.
1435 The Press Assocation in a further story states Mrs Sonia Sutcliffe, Mr Sutcliffe's wife, was being questioned as a "material witness", that Miss Reivers was a "a material witness", and that in respect of pictures of Mr Sutcliffe, his "facial features" will also form part of the prosecution case.
1533 Supt Morritt tells South Yorkshire police Miss Reivers and Miss Hall can be released from protective custody.
1653 Mr Sutcliffe appears in court. He is unrepresented.
1700 South Yorkshire police receive confirmation Mr Sutcliffe has appeared in court.
1705 South Yorkshire chief constable Mr Brownlow congratulates Sgt Ring and Pc Hydes publicly. He says Miss Reivers and Miss Hall likely to be available for conference at 1830 hrs.
1715 The Press Association reports Mr Sutcliffe's court appearance including a warning by the prosecution (Mr Maurice Shaffner) to the press "not to exceed restrictions laid down in 1967 Criminal Justice Act".
1750 South Yorkshire police go to Hallam Tower hotel to find press awaiting, having found Miss Reivers and Miss Hall there.
1750 Miss Reivers and Miss Hall agree to see press. South Yorkshire police approached by Daily Mail with request to pass on 5,000 offer for Miss Reiver's story.
1800
(approx)
South Yorkshire police given note by Mr Will Price, Daily Mail, for Miss Reivers with 5,000 offer.
1840 Miss Reivers and Miss Hall give press conference.
1909 The Press Association puts out Mr Shaffner's warning in full for morning papers.
1940 The Press Association puts out provisions of Criminal Justice Act 1967.
2214 The Press Association reports Mr Tom McNally MP protesting at, and writing to Home Secretary on, press behaviour on coverage of Mr Sutcliffe's arrest.
2230 Mr Kerry Macgill approached to represent Mr Sutcliffe.
hrsTuesday 6 January 1981
0900-1200 Mr Macgill sees Mr Sutcliffe for the first time.
1230
(approx)
The Press Association puts out the Solicitor General's warning to editors that their coverage of Mr Sutcliffe's case should be with proper regard to his right to a fair trial.
hrsWednesday 7 January 1981
1315 The Press Association story tells of continuing attempts by journalists to get background material on Mr Sutcliffe.
1520 The Press Association reports Attorney General, Sir Michael Havers, and the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Thomas Hetherington, to meet the following week to decide whether any prosecutions should be brought for contempt of court.
1605 The Press Association reports the National Union of Journalists' criticism of police handling of arrest and its consequent publicity.
1710 The Press Association reports Mr Gregory's defence of police press conferences.
1832 The Press Association reports the Press Council will hold an inquiry into coverage of events leading up to and concerning Mr Sutcliffe's appearance before magistrates at Dewsbury.


(NOTE: Source (used by permission): The Press Council, "Press Conduct In The Sutcliffe Case")



"ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED"

BACK TO MENU