IN THE NEWS



The following are some of the news items that have appeared since the trial of Peter Sutcliffe and his conviction in May 1981.


May 22 1981
After Peter Sutcliffe is found guilty of murder by a majority verdict of ten to two and is sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum period of thirty years, West Yorkshire Chief Constable Ronald Gregory announces an internal investigation into the handling of the Yorkshire Ripper case.

May 25 1981
It was reported that detectives from several police forces wanted to interview Peter Sutcliffe over unsolved murders and attacks. Included in the list were the murders of Barbara Mayo, Ann Marie Harold and Barbara Young, and the attacks on Tracy Browne and Yvonne Mysliwiec.
(See: OTHER YORKSHIRE RIPPER VICTIMS? for information on these and other attacks and murders.)

January 15 1982
The Leeds County Court ruled that Peter Sutcliffe was liable for damages to Irene MacDonald, mother of victim Jayne MacDonald.

January 19 1982
Release date of the report of the inquiry into the Yorkshire Ripper case conducted by Lawrence Byford.
(See: BYFORD AND SAMPSON REPORTS for more information.)

March 2 1982
Peter Sutcliffe's wife, Sonia, was granted a judicial separation in the London Divorce Court on the grounds of her husband's "unreasonable behaviour".

March 5 1982
A High Court registrar in Leeds awarded Irene MacDonald, mother of victim Jayne MacDonald, damages of 6,722 against Peter Sutcliffe. The figure was set by Mrs. MacDonald's solicitors and approved by Sutcliffe's lawyers.

March 12 1982
In a High Court chambers hearing in Leeds, Marilyn Moore won the right to damages from Peter Sutcliffe. A letter from Sutcliffe's solicitors admitted liability for damages.

March 29 1982
Maureen Long obtained judgment against Peter Sutcliffe at the High Court in Leeds for damages for personal injuries.

April 21 1982
Maureen Long was awarded 8,500 damages by a High Court judge for physical and psychological injuries.

May 4 1982
Marilyn Moore was awarded 10,500 (8,000 for pain, suffering, and loss of amenity, and 2,500 for loss of employment prospects) in damages in the High Court in Leeds.

May 24 - 25 1982
Court of Appeal hearing to appeal against the thirteen murder convictions, and substitute a verdict of manslaughter on the ground of diminished responsibility. The application was denied.

December 13 1982
William Whitelaw, the Home Secretary, ruled that Peter Sutcliffe should stay in Parkhurst prison, despite reports recommending that he be transferred to a mental hospital. Both the prison psychiatrist, Dr. David Cooper, and Professor John Gunn, who was called in by the Home Office, have certified Peter Sutcliffe as being mentally ill under the Mental Health Act.

January 10 1983
Peter Sutcliffe is attacked by James Costello in Parkhurst Prison. After the attack, Sutcliffe's family renewed demands that he should be transferred to a secure mental unit such as Broadmoor.
(See: ATTACKS ON PETER SUTCLIFFE for more information.)

February 4 1983
The Press Council's report "Press Conduct in the Sutcliffe Case" is published.
(See: PRESS COUNCIL REPORT: PART ONE and PRESS COUNCIL REPORT: PART TWO for detailed information.)

April 14 1983
Peter Sutcliffe gave evidence against his attacker, James Costello, at a hearing at Newport Magistrates Court on the Isle of Wight. Costello was committed for trial at Newport Crown Court.
(See ATTACKS ON PETER SUTCLIFFE for more information.)

June 26 1983
The Mail On Sunday begins the first of three installments of the memoirs of recently retired Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, Ronald Gregory, reportedly paid a sum of 40,000. The memoirs bring a storm of protests and claims of chequebook journalism from a variety of sources, including victims' families, politicians, police associations, the Press Council, as well as Sonia Sutcliffe. The articles included little that was new or noteworthy, but did offer Gregory's perspective on the case.
Included among the articles in the first installment, and was noteworthy, was the information that related to the attack on Tracy Browne and the evidence that pointed responsibility for the attack to Peter Sutcliffe.
(See: TRACY BROWNE for more information.)
(See: THE HUNTERS for more information on Ronald Gregory and his memoirs.)

June 30 1983
The report from the internal West Yorkshire police inquiry into the Yorkshire Ripper case conducted by Colin Sampson (former Assistant Chief Constable, and now Chief Constable) is released.
(See: BYFORD AND SAMPSON REPORTS for more information.)

July 28 1983
It was reported that George Oldfield, the assistant Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, was to leave the force the following month.

August 3 1983
In order to try and receive financial damages owed by Peter Sutcliffe, a receiving order, the first step towards making him bankrupt, was made at Bradford County Court against him at the request of solicitors for Irene MacDonald, mother of Jayne MacDonald. Sutcliffe's only know asset is his house in Garden Lane, Bradford.

September 23 1983
Theresa Sykes who was in the process of suing Peter Sutcliffe for damages, withdraws her claim during a brief hearing at the High Court in Leeds after the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board announced she had been awarded compensation of between 20,000 and 30,000.

September 26 1983
The Daily Star was condemned by the Press Council for grossly misleading it by concealing important information from its inquiry into press conduct in the Yorkshire Ripper case. The Daily Star had been censured for paying a total of 4,000 to Olivia Reivers, when it was fairly obvious that she could expected to be a witness if any trial of the facts took place.
The Press Council re-opened its inquiry after considering reports in the Sunday Times, the Guardian, and a World In Action TV programme. The Daily Star had failed to disclose payments reportedly totalling 26,500 to Sutcliffe's two brothers.
(See: PRESS COUNCIL REPORT: PART ONE and PRESS COUNCIL REPORT: PART TWO for more information.)

October 9 1983
The Press Council condemns The Mail On Sunday's conduct for publishing the memoirs of Ronald Gregory, retired Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, stating it was a deplorable example of chequebook journalism.

October 27 1983
Peter Sutcliffe fails to avoid bankruptcy when a written plea, through his solicitors, to rescind the receiving order, is rejected.

October 31 - November 8 1983
The trial of James Costello, charged with maliciously wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, ends with him being found guilty and sentenced to a further five years.
(See: ATTACKS ON PETER SUTCLIFFE for more information.)

November 18 1983
It was reported that earlier in the week Doreen Hill, mother of Jacqueline Hill, had taken out a writ against West Yorkshire Police accusing them of "negligence and incompetence" in the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper.

November 30 1983
Peter Sutcliffe is declared a bankrupt at Bradford County Court.

February 8 1984
At Bradford County Court, Peter Sutcliffe is granted an automatic discharge from bankruptcy in five years' time. After carrying out investigations, trustees discovered Sutcliffe assets were "as near to nil as possible." As a result, the two victims and the mother of one of his victims will not receive damages awarded against him.
The only asset Sutcliffe was known to have, his half share in the house in Garden Lane, Heaton, Bradford, had been transferred to his wife, Sonia, as part of a maintenance settlement prior to when he was made bankrupt.

March 27 1984
At the direction of Leon Brittan, the Home Secretary, Peter Sutcliffe was moved to Broadmoor Hospital from Parkhurst prison under Section 47 of the Mental Health Act 1983.

May 14 1984
Release date of the book "Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son" by Gordon Burn. Prior to the release of the book, on May 6 1984 and May 13 1984, the Sunday Times Magazine features articles adapted from the book.

November 17 1984
It was reported that Doreen Hill, in her High Court writ, was suing Colin Sampson, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, for nearly 100,000 damages, claiming that her daughter Jacqueline would be alive but for police negligence.

July 4 1985
Former Assistant Chief Constable George Oldfield, 66, dies in Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, after a long illness.

December 19 1985
Doreen Hill's attempt to sue the West Yorkshire police for 100,000 damages for negligence fails after a High Court rules that police officers who fail to stop murderers and rapists attacking innocent people could not be held to owe a duty to all unaccompanied women in the area, who might become victims.

June 1 1986
It was reported that papers had been filed in a Bradford County Court to set aside the transfer of Peter Sutcliffe's half share in his house to his wife, Sonia, in a maintenance agreement before he was declared bankrupt. If the action succeeds, then the house could be sold and the claims of Maureen Long, Marilyn Moore, and Irene MacDonald, could be paid at least in part.

December 18 1986
A Bradford County Court judge rules that Peter Sutcliffe's house in Garden Lane, Heaton, Bradford is to be sold, and half the proceeds will go to helping pay some of the damage claims against Peter Sutcliffe. This will be after 2,500 is repaid to his wife, Sonia, and 6,460 to her parents, which they had paid to discharge the mortgage.
Sonia Sutcliffe would later buy back her house and her and her parents would continue to live in it.

January 12 1987
After claims by a Sunday newspaper that the hoax tape and letters were from a disgruntled police officer, Colin Sampson, Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, announced that Det. Chief Supt. Tony Fitzgerald, from North Yorkshire police, would lead an investigation in the allegation. Reporting in April 1987, the investigation conclusions were that there wasn't any evidence to support the allegations.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

May 24 1989
A High Court jury in London awards Sonia Sutcliffe a record 600,000 in libel damages against the Private Eye magazine. Later, on appeal, this amount is reduced to 60,000.

December 21 1990
After a fifteen day hearing, Sonia Sutcliffe loses her first claim for libel damages against the News Of The World, and co-defendant Barbara Jones (author of the book "Voices From An Evil God" that would be published in October 1992). Costs awarded against Sonia Sutcliffe would eventually total 150,000.

May 17 1992
It was reported that two hacksaw blades had been recovered from a bag belonging to Peter Sutcliffe in his room at Broadmoor Hospital. Hospital officials would state on May 23 1992 that the blades had been placed there by someone else, Sutcliffe was not planning to escape, and that there was no evidence that he knew about the blades.

October 1992
The book "Voices From An Evil God" by Barbara Jones is published.

November 24 1992
It was reported that Peter Sutcliffe had confessed responsibility for two unsolved attacks, one on Tracy Browne in Silsden, and the other on an Irish student in Bradford. Sutcliffe had admitted responsibility for the attacks to Keith Hellawell, Chief Constable of Cleveland, during a visit to Broadmoor.
(See: TRACY BROWNE and IRISH STUDENT for more information.)

April 28 1994
At Reading County Court, Berkshire, Sonia Sutcliffe is granted a divorce from Peter Sutcliffe.

December 9 1994
It was reported that Peter Sutcliffe, along with about twenty other prisoners, would be notified by the Home Secretary within the next six weeks that they will never be released. He had been sentenced to a minimum of thirty years.

February 23 1996
Peter Sutcliffe is attacked by Paul Wilson in Broadmoor Hospital.
(See: ATTACKS ON PETER SUTCLIFFE for more information.)

September 5 1996
It was reported that the Sun newspaper had agreed to pay Broadmoor Hospital 10,000 after publishing a photograph of Peter Sutcliffe, which had in fact been stolen from Broadmoor's medical files.

December 10 1996
The television programme "Silent Victims: The Untold Story of the Yorkshire Ripper" is broadcast. The programme examined attacks and murders that could have been the responsibility of Peter Sutcliffe.
(See: OTHER YORKSHIRE RIPPER VICTIMS? for more information.)

March 10 1997
Peter Sutcliffe is attacked by Ian Kay in Broadmoor Hospital.
(See ATTACKS ON PETER SUTCLIFFE for more information.)

May 2 1997
Peter Sutcliffe's ex-wife, Sonia, marries hairdresser Michael Woodward in Shipley, West Yorkshire.

July 2 1997
At the High Court in London, Peter Sutcliffe's ex-wife, Sonia Sutcliffe wins her ninth libel case. She is awarded undisclosed damages, reportedly to be between 10,000 and 20,000, from Blake Publishing (publisher of the book "Voices From An Evil God" by Barbara Jones).
The book had alleged that she had lied in court during two previous libel cases, had defended Adolph Hitler, and had tried to break out Sutcliffe from Broadmoor Hospital. Blake Publishing agreed that the allegations were "wholly untrue" and promised to destroy all further copies of the book.
Sonia Woodward has won 370,000 in libel damages, lost once (see December 21 1990, News Of The World, with Barbara Jones as a co-defendant) where she had to pay 150,000 in costs.

December 17 1997
It was reported that forensic scientists had visited Peter Sutcliffe at Broadmoor Hospital and obtained a sample of his DNA to compare with DNA found at unsolved crimes.
The Criminal Evidence Amendment Act of 1997 now allows DNA samples to be taken from anyone convicted before April 10 1995 of either sexual, burglary or violent offences (since 1996 anyone convicted of those type of offences had to provide a sample).

January 27 1998
Ian Kay pleads guilty to attempted murder of Peter Sutcliffe on March 10 1997. He was sentenced to be detained without restriction of time under section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983.
(See ATTACKS ON PETER SUTCLIFFE for more information.)

March 31 1999
John Sutcliffe, father of Peter Sutcliffe, appears on the television programme "Killer In The Family", one of four relatives of murderers interviewed about the effect it had on their lives.

June 24 1999
The Sunderland Echo begins a series of articles adapted from the newly released book "Wearside Jack: The Hunt for the Hoaxer of the Century" by Patrick Lavelle, news editor of the paper.
As well, a 30-minute television documentary, "The Hoaxer", based on their research, is shown on Tyne Tees Television the same night.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)
(NOTE: The continuing investigation and news reports about Wearside Jack, and the murder of Joan Harrison, are covered indepth on the above webpage. Only a few of the highlights are mentioned on this IN THE NEWS webpage.)

September 30 1999
The first part of the television programme "Manhunt: The Search for the Yorkshire Ripper" is broadcast. Part two of the programme shown on October 5 1999.

January 26 2000
The first part of the docudrama "This is Personal - The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper" is broadcast. Part two of the programme shown on February 2 2000.

July 12 2000
The television programme "The Hoaxer II", an update to "The Hoaxer" programme shown June 24 1999, is broadcast on Tyne Tees Television.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

September 19 2000
It is reported that John Tomey, a former taxi driver, claims that Peter Sutcliffe attacked him in March 1967 at Hebden Bridge Road, about three miles from Oxenhope.
(See: OTHER YORKSHIRE RIPPER VICTIMS? for more information.)

November 20 2000
At Leeds Crown Court, retired West Yorkshire Police Inspector John Boyle was jailed for six months after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit misconduct in a public office for selling confidential information from the police national computer to private detectives. It was to John Boyle that Peter Sutcliffe confessed to being the Yorkshire Ripper.
(See: THE ARREST AND CONFESSION for more information.)

January 8 2001
It is reported that Peter Sutcliffe claims that he has been cured and that Broadmoor's consultant psychiatrist Dr Andrew Horne told the Mental Health Review Tribunal that he no longer considers Peter Sutcliffe a danger to anyone. Sutcliffe receives injections of the anti-psychosis drugs Stellazine and Depixol, and claims that for the past six or seven years he has been well and doesn't hear the voices anymore.

May 9 2001
On the "Everyman" television series is broadcast the documentary "Dear Peter - Letters To The Yorkshire Ripper". The programme deals with the phenomenon of women who write to Peter Sutcliffe, and features interviews with some of them and their reasons for writing him. Included are interviews with Olive Curry, who is trying to prove that Peter Sutcliffe visited her with a man who sounded like the voice on the hoax tape at the place where she worked in 1978, and Diane Simpson, the graphologist who was involved in the original investigation of the Ripper letters, who interviewed him in prison and continued to visit and correspond with him after hints from him that he might confess to further attacks and murders. Also included in the programme is the voice of Peter Sutcliffe, broadcast for the first time, from a tape he sent to Diane Simpson.
(See Olive Curry's website APPEAL FOR WITNESSES for more information.)

June 6 2001
Broadcast of the television programme "Real Crime: The Hunt for Wearside Jack".
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

June 15 2001
Leeds University Professor David Gee, the pathologist who was involved in the post-mortem examination of almost all the Yorkshire Ripper victims, was reported to have died at age 69. He had also been involved in the Moors Murders investigation, as well as performing autopsies on some of the 52 people who died in the Bradford fire disaster of 1985.

August 13 2001
It was reported that Peter Sutcliffe had changed his name by deed poll to Peter Coonan (his mother's maiden name).

May 28 2002
The European Court of Human Rights rules that sentencing of prisoners is for the judiciary, and not for politicians. The repercussion could effect the changes in length of sentence by various Home Secretaries applied to murders such as Peter Sutcliffe, where their original minimum sentence was increased. Peter Sutcliffe's original sentence was a minimum of thirty years (after which a judicial body would determine whether he could be safely released), but he was one of about twenty prisoners later given "whole life" tariffs by various Home Secretaries, meaning that they would never be released.

November 25 2002
The Law Lords found against the Home Secretary being able to increase the minimum life sentencing tariff recommended by the judiciary (after which the murderer would have to face a parole board before being considered for release). In the case of Sutcliffe, and many others, it would be extremely unlikely they would ever be released. In an article in the Sunday Telegraph the previous day, it was reported that there was the possibility that police would lay new charges against some murderers to kept them from being considered for release after their original minimum sentencing was completed. It was reported that West Yorkshire detectives were confident they could bring new charges against Sutcliffe in regards to the 1977 murder of Debra Schlesinger and the 1980 attack on a Leeds arts student.
(See: OTHER YORKSHIRE RIPPER VICTIMS? Debra Schlesinger (April 21 1977) and Maureen Lea (October 25 1980).)

January 19 2003
The first installment of three articles adapted from the forthcoming book "Wicked Beyond Belief" by Michael Bilton is published in the Sunday Times, the second and third installments are published on January 26th and February 2nd.

January 31 2003
Patrick Lavelle's book, "Shadow Of The Ripper", about the hunt for Wearside Jack, is released.

February 1 2003
Michael Bilton's book, "Wicked Beyond Belief", about the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper, is released.

February 24 2003
It was reported that Peter Sutcliffe's home-made leggings, a sweater turned upside down with kneepads in the arms, part of a "killing kit" which included a modified coat, worn by Sutcliffe when he was arrested, had not been destroyed as ordered after the end of the Yorkshire Ripper inquiry. The clothing has recently been turned back into the West Yorkshire police by retired Detective Constable Alan Foster who had kept them at his home in Leeds. West Yorkshire police stated that the leggings were now being examined by forensic experts. Detective Constable Alan Foster claimed he kept them in case Sutcliffe was ever released and could be linked to more crimes. Information about the leggings worn by Sutcliffe at the time of his arrest was just recently made public by Michael Bilton in his book "Wicked Beyond Belief".

March 10 2003
A photograph of Sutcliffe's home-made leggings is published in several newspapers, and show that they appear to have been made from the arms of an old green shirt, rather than an upside down sweater as first reported.

April 29 2003
It was reported that forensic scientist Professor Stuart Kind, aged 78, had died. Professor Kind joined the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper after the Jacqueline Hill murder as part of the advisory team dubbed the "Ripper Super Squad" (all of whom would later assist Lawrence Byford in his inquiry into the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper). Before Sutcliffe was caught, Professor Kind, using a "centre of gravity" approach plotting the location and time of attacks, had deduced that the killer lived in or near Bradford, possibly in the Manningham or Shipley area (Sutcliffe lived in the Bradford district of Heaton, between Manningham and Shipley).

September 17 2003
It was reported that the hunt for the Ripper tape and letters hoaxer, known as Wearside Jack, has officially been closed by the West Yorkshire police. Due to the time that has expired, over 25 years, the hoaxer could no longer be charged with the offence of wasting police time.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

February 19 2004
It was reported that John Parker and Alan Royle, former common-law husband of victim Jean Jordan, had written a script for a film about her murder and Alan Royle's personal life. The pair have formed a production company to carry the project forward and are seeking financial backing from American sources. The script is based on Alan Royle's autobiography "Living In The Shadow Of The Ripper" which is being considered by British publishers.

April 6 2004
Several newspapers reported the speculation that Peter Sutcliffe may apply for permission to be escorted from Broadmoor to West Yorkshire to visit his father, John, who has bladder cancer, heart disease, and emphysema. While the Home Office refused to confirm or deny the speculation, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported that they understood that no request from Sutcliffe had been made at this time.

May 5 2004
It is reported in the Mirror that, according to an informed source, Peter Sutcliffe wants to be closer to his dying father and has asked to be moved to a high-security prison, with Wakefield Prison being named as a possible destination. Apparently, Sutcliffe's request to be escorted to West Yorkshire to visit his father has been sent in to the Home Office, and that Broadmoor security managers have expressed grave concerns about the feasibility of such a visit.

May 7 2004
It was reported that former High Court judge Sir Leslie Boreham, who presided over the trial of Peter Sutcliffe in 1981, had died on May 2 2004 at the age 85.

June 29 2004
It was reported that Peter Sutcliffe's father had died at age 81 on Friday, June 25 2004. Peter Sutcliffe's request to the Home Office that he be escorted to attend the funeral was denied, and the funeral of John Sutcliffe took place on June 29th.

June 30 2004
Several newspapers reported that Peter Sutcliffe had been placed on a precautionary suicide watch at Broadmoor due to his depression from his father's death and the refusal of his request to be escorted to attend the funeral.
Meanwhile, the Yorkshire Post reported that a Prison Service spokeswoman stated that Peter Sutcliffe had not made any request for compassionate leave to attend the funeral of his father.

July 15 2004
Release date of the book, "Just A Boy: The true story of a stolen childhood", by Richard McCann, the son of murder victim Wilma McCann. The book deals with the devastating effects on the family of a murder victim of the Yorkshire Ripper.

January 20 2005
It was reported, and confirmed by the Home Office, that on Monday, January 17 2005, Peter Sutcliffe was escorted in a high-security van from Broadmoor to the coastal town of Arnside, Cumbria, to visit the place where the ashes of Sutcliffe's father had been scattered by the family. John Sutcliffe died in June 2004.

February 3 2005
The Yorkshire Evening Post reports that after Peter Sutcliffe's arrest a list of 47 crimes that he could have been responsible for was drawn up by Ripper Squad detectives on an official TIC (taken into consideration) form. The cases reported in the newspaper as being on the list were the murder of Fred Craven, the attack on John Tomey, and the murder of an unidentified young woman, believed to be a prostitute, in Hemel Hempstead, Hertsfordshire (no date given for the murder).
(See: OTHER YORKSHIRE RIPPER VICTIMS? Fred Craven (April 22 1966) and John Tomey (March 22 1967).)

February 6 2005
The News Of The World publishes the allegation that Peter Sutcliffe is planning to write an autobiography and sell the publishing rights for 500,000. The article also alleges that Sutcliffe will claim he did not commit all of the 13 murders and 7 attacks he confessed to and was convicted of in 1981, and in the book will detail which victims are his responsibility. (NOTE: No confirmation of the article's veracity is available. However, no other news source reports or comments on the story, which would be extremely uncharacteristic for the media if the story was indeed accurate. UPDATE: See October 10 2005 for further information about the autobiography, which does not mention Sutcliffe denying responsibility for some of his attacks and murders.)

February 8 2005
It was reported that Richard McCann, son of murder victim Wilma McCann, and author of the book "Just A Boy: The true story of a stolen childhood", was working to set up a support group in Yorkshire for the relatives of other victims of Peter Sutcliffe.

February 10 2005
West Yorkshire police re-iterate the old news (see above: November 24 1992) that Sutcliffe had confessed to two other attacks after being jailed in 1981. The only new information was that a West Yorkshire Police spokesman said there was currently no evidence linking him to any other offences. This was in response to the February 3 2005 report by the Yorkshire Evening Post that a list of 47 attacks and murders possibly the responsibility of Sutcliffe had been drawn up after his arrest and conviction.

March 27 2005
It is claimed by the Sunday Mirror that Peter Sutcliffe received a 196,000 out-of-court settlement for compensation for the March 10 1997 attack by fellow Broadmoor inmate Ian Kay. Sutcliffe was stabbed with a Parker roller-ball pen in both eyes, and was left completely blind in his left eye, and with diminished sight and restricted movement in his right eye. It had been originally thought that the legal action, in which Broadmoor authorities were blamed for negligence, had collapsed. There has been no confirmation of the Sunday Mirror claim.
(See ATTACKS ON PETER SUTCLIFFE for more information on the attack on Sutcliffe.)

May 8 2005
In an article published in the Sunday Sun, retired Det Supt Dick Holland stated that a serving police officer was suspected of being Wearside Jack, author of the hoax letters and tape, and was the best suspect they had. However, when the handwriting in the police officer's old notebooks were compared to the handwriting in the hoax letters, matches could not be made for three or four of the written alphabet characters. It was also reported that the West Yorkshire police were looking into the claim.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

May 10 2005
Broadcast date of the television documentary in the "ONE life" series entitled "The Ripper Murdered My Mum", an interview with Richard McCann (author of the book "Just A Boy") and his sister Sonia Newlands.

May 23 2005
It was reported in the Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough) that a West Yorkshire police spokesman stated that: "All the material in relation to the letters and tape concerning people who were nominated as suspects has been destroyed." In September of 2003 the police search for the hoaxer was reported to be officially closed.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

July 1 2005
It was confirmed by a West Yorkshire spokeswoman that an ongoing audit, which has been under way for the past 12 months, has discovered that the original hoax letters and cassette tape have gone missing. The spokeswoman stated that all storage locations would be checked to find the items, or to determine whether they have been lost.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

July 5 2005
In an interview in the Sun newspaper with Tracy Browne, who was attacked by Sutcliffe in August 1975, it was reported that she is writing a book about Sutcliffe, his victims, and her life as a survivor. Sutcliffe did not admit responsibility for the attack on Tracy Browne until 1992.

July 27 2005
It is reported that Peter Sutcliffe's sister, Anne Sumner, aged 56, died on July 7th after an eight month battle with cancer.

October 10 2005
It is reported in the Mirror that Peter Sutcliffe has been writing an autobiography and has for years been sending individual chapters to a solicitor. According to the article, the autobiography is almost finished and he "wants to go into detail about every aspect of what he did." It is also reported that if the book is published Sutcliffe plans to give all the royalties from it to the families of his victims.

October 18 2005
It is reported that a suspect in the Wearside Jack hoax letters and tape has been arrested. A West Yorkshire Police spokesman stated: "Officers from West Yorkshire this afternoon travelled to the Sunderland area where they arrested a 49-year-old local man on suspicion of attempting to pervert the course of justice. This relates to the hoax letters and tape that was sent to police during the Yorkshire Ripper murder investigation. He is currently being transported to a West Yorkshire police station for interview."
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

October 19 2005
It is reported that the man arrested in the Wearside Jack hoax is 49-year-old John Humble of the Ford area of Sunderland. The man, believed to be separated from his wife, lived with a brother.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

October 20 2005
John Humble, aged 49, of Flodden Road, on the Ford Estate in Sunderland, appeared in Leeds Magistrates' Court and was charged with perverting the course of justice.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

October 26 2005
John Humble appeared, via video link-up, in Leeds Crown Court where his application for bail was rejected and he was remanded in custody. He is scheduled to next appear in court on January 9 2006 to make a plea, with a provisional trial date of February 20 2006.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

January 9 2006
John Humble, appearing in Leeds Crown Court, pleads not guilty to four counts of perverting the course of justice in relation to the Wearside Jack hoax letters and tape. No application for bail was made and he was remanded in custody. Trial date was set for March 20 2006.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

January 19 2006
It is reported that James Chadwin QC, who defended Peter Sutcliffe during his 1981 trial, died at age 75 after a long illness.

February 16 2006
Release date of the book, "Into The Light: From an abusive past to a healing future", by Richard McCann, the son of murder victim Wilma McCann. The book continues the story begun in his book "Just A Boy".

February 23 2006
In Leeds Crown Court, John Humble's defence counsel, David Taylor, told the court that his client admits to being Wearside Jack, author of the hoax letters and tape, but denies intending to pervert the course of justice. The trial will begin on March 20 2006.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

March 20 2006
In Leeds Crown Court, John Humble changed his plea to guilty to the four counts of perverting the course of justice in relation to the Wearside Jack hoax letters and tape. Sentencing will take place on March 21 2006.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

March 21 2006
In Leeds Crown Court, Judge Norman Jones QC, sentences John Humble to six years for each of three letters he sent, and eight years for the infamous hoax tape, all sentences are to run concurrently.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

March 22 2006
Release date of the book, "Wearside Jack: The hunt for the Ripper Hoaxer", by Patrick Lavelle, updating his previous books, with information on John Humble and his arrest and court appearances.

April 3 2006
It is reported in several newspapers that Peter Sutcliffe has written two letters to John Humble. In his second letter Sutcliffe is said to have written: "You have had your 15 minutes of fame and you have reopened old wounds again and put me back in the media spotlight. I do not need this now or ever again. The same thing will happen when you are released. You could have saved those three women, John. You have blood on your hands. I was under the influence of voices, what was your excuse, John? Drink and drugs, I hear." He also wrote: "I want you to write back, John, so that we may exchange letters and maybe then organise a visit here. We have loads to talk about. I want you to say sorry for your crimes and interfering in the police investigation." Sutcliffe also inquires whether Humble was responsible for other killings at the time. His letter was signed: "your friend Peter".

May 2 2006
Release date of the updated version of Michael Bilton's book, "Wicked Beyond Belief" which includes a new chapter of the capture of Wearside Jack, John Humble.

June 1 2006
Under the Freedom Of Information Act 2000 the Byford Report is released to the public, as well as the Home Office file relating to investigations into the Yorkshire Ripper Inquiry. Available for viewing at:
Report by Sir Lawrence Byford into the police handling of the Yorkshire Ripper case
Home Office file relating to investigations into the Yorkshire Ripper Inquiry

July 13 2006
John Humble has been granted the right to appeal the length of his eight year sentence for the Wearside Jack hoax. No date was set for the hearing before the Court of Appeal criminal division.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

October 24 2006
John Humble loses his appeal against the length of his eight-year sentence for perverting the course of justice. The Appeal Court ruled that "although the sentence was indeed severe, it cannot be said it was wrong in principle or excessive."
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

February 17 2007
Former Ripper Detective Dick Holland, aged 74, dies after a long battle with cancer at his Huddersfield home.

December 12 2007
Former Scotland Yard Commander Jim Nevill dies at age 80. Nevill and Detective Chief Superintendent Joe Bolton conducted a month long inquiry into the handling of the Ripper case in 1979. Most of the recommendations they made to improve the handling of the Ripper case inquiry were never implimented.

December 22 2007
For the fourth time since being imprisoned, and for the third time at Broadmoor, Peter Sutcliffe is attacked by a fellow inmate. Murderer Patrick Sureda, aged 41, lunged at Sutcliffe with a metal cutlery knife during lunch at the dining hall. While aiming for Sutcliffe's eye, Sureda stabbed Sutcliffe in the cheek a half inch below his right eye as Sutcliffe flung himself back in his chair away from his attacker. Sureda was then restrained by four nurses before any further attack could be made.
(See ATTACKS ON PETER SUTCLIFFE for more information on the attack on Sutcliffe.)

March 11 2008
It was reported that Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Gregg of West Yorkshire Police, was awarded libel damages of 50,000 against Noel O'Gara (author of the Real Yorkshire Ripper website). Mr Justice King entered "summary" judgment against Mr O'Gara after ruling he had no real prospect of successfully defending the libel case. He said that O'Gara had put forward no evidence to back up his claims that Detective Chief Superintendent Chris Gregg had deliberately caused the conviction of an innocent man (Ripper hoaxer John Humble), been a party to tampering with DNA evidence, and the mistreatment of Humble in his interviews. Mr Justice King stated that O'Gara had "no sources, other than his own imagination".

April 19 2008
It was reported that victim Anna Rogulskyj, aged 75, had died.
(See: ANNA ROGULSKYJ for more information.)

May 17 2008
It was reported that Patrick Sureda, the man who had attacked Peter Sutcliffe with a metal cutlery knife on December 22 2007, had been charged with attempted wounding with intent. While it was stated that he was charged on February 28th, news of the charge has only just been made public.
(See ATTACKS ON PETER SUTCLIFFE for more information on the attack on Sutcliffe.)

June 2 2008
A judge ruled that Patrick Sureda, a paranoid schizophrenic, who has been charged with attempted wounding with intent after an attack on Peter Sutcliffe, was again ruled not fit to be tried in the murder of his mother in 2000. While it had been believed Sureda might be well enough to stand trial, unfortunately his mental condition had again deteriorated.
(See ATTACKS ON PETER SUTCLIFFE for more information on the attack on Sutcliffe.)

July 17 2009
Gordon Burn, author of the book "Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son", dies at the age of 61.

September 4 2009
It is reported that there may be preparations taking place for a possible release of Ripper hoaxer John Humble. It is speculated that he may be released some time in October. If true, Humble will have served roughly half (including time on remand) of the 8 year sentence he received in March of 2006.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

October 31 2009
Stanley Ellis, who with colleague Jack Windsor Lewis examined the Ripper Hoax tape and determined that the voice was from the Castletown district of Wearside, dies at age 83.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

November 11 2009
Sir Andrew Sloan, who was part of the "Ripper Super Squad" that was brought in as part of the shake-up of the investigative team after the Jacqueline Hill murder, dies at age 78.

November 19 2009
Patrick Sureda, who had been ruled unfit to plead, was found guilty by a jury of wounding with intent and assault in an attack on Peter Sutcliffe on December 22 2007. He will be sentenced at a later date.
(See ATTACKS ON PETER SUTCLIFFE for more information on the attack on Sutcliffe.)

March 1 2010
After reporting restrictions were lifted, it was reported that Peter Sutcliffe is asking the High Court to determine a finite minimum sentence. A directions hearing in London in front of Mr Justice Mitting will decide the form that tariff-setting hearing will take, including what evidence will be allowed to be admitted. The judge at that hearing will have the power to impose a finite number of years that must be served by Sutcliffe before he can apply for release. The judge could also rule that Sutcliffe must spent his entire life behind bars. Regardless of whatever minimum tariff is set, he would only be freed when authorities decide he no longer poses a serious danger to the public.

March 22 2010
Patrick Lavelle, aged 50, and the author of "Wearside Jack: The Hunt For The Ripper Hoaxer", dies after a battle with cancer.

April 9 2010
Ronald Gregory, former Chief Constable of West Yorkshire during the Ripper series of attacks and murders, dies at age 88.

May 6 2010
It is reported that Peter Sutcliffe's application for a tariff-setting hearing is to be heard on July 16 2010 at the High Court on London.

July 16 2010
At the High Court on London, Mr. Justice Mitting ruled that Peter Sutcliffe must serve a whole life tariff, stating that he had no doubt that the "appropriate minimum term is a whole life term".
Mr. Justice Mitting's ruling can be found at: R v Peter Coonan (formerly Sutcliffe)

August 4 2010
It was confirmed that Peter Sutcliffe has started appeal moves to challenge the recent High Court judge's decision that Sutcliffe must serve a whole life tariff. A Judicial Communications Office spokeswoman stated: "I can now confirm that an application for leave to appeal the whole life order by Mr Justice Mitting has been lodged with the Court of Appeal."

November 16 2010
It was reported that Lancashire Police's cold case review team investigating the murder of Joan Harrison may be close to a major breakthrough on the case due to advances in DNA technology. A sample, believed to have been taken off Joan Harrison's body, has been sent out for further DNA examination. Detective Chief Superintendent Graham Gardner stated: "We are investigating new, exciting and interesting lines of inquiry which, in the next few weeks, we are hopeful may progress the case." Both Peter Sutcliffe and John Humble have been eliminated from the inquiry.

January 14 2011
At the Court of Appeal, Peter Sutcliffe's application to challenge the High Court ruling, that he must serve a whole life tariff, was rejected by the three judges. Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, with Mr Justice Calvert-Smith, and Mr Justice Griffith, ruled that a whole life tariff was "the only available punishment proportionate to these crimes." Appeal Court Ruling can be found at: R v Peter William Coonan (formerly Sutcliffe)

February 9 2011
The Lancashire Constabulary announced that the advances in DNA technology had revealed sufficient evidence that would have led to the murder charge against Christopher Smith of Leeds for the murder of Joan Harrison. Smith had died in 2008, at aged 60, from a terminal illness.
The head of crime for Lancashire Constabulary, Detective Chief Superintendent Graham Gardner, stated: "This has been a long running and complex homicide enquiry for the Constabulary. Joan lost her life in a most brutal way and despite the enormous efforts of all those originally involved, no charges were ever brought.
"Advances in DNA interpretation over the years has finally allowed us to identify Smith as the man at the scene of Joan's murder. That fact, coupled with other evidence we have gathered over recent months, has been sufficient to convince the Crown Prosecution Service that Smith would have been charged with her murder, had he been alive today."
Detective Chief Superintendent Gardner also said: "It is with some regret that Smith is not still alive to stand trial for his crime. One can only try to imagine the sadness endured by Joan's family over the years and I truly hope this development will finally bring some closure surrounding their tragic loss."
The head of CPS Lancashire and Cumbria Complex Casework Unit, John Dilworth, stated: "In considering cases, the CPS has to decide if there is a realistic prospect of conviction and whether it is in the public interest for a prosecution to begin. Only after trial does a jury decide whether a person is guilty or not, on a higher standard of proof - beyond reasonable doubt.
"I have reviewed the evidence carefully and I have advised Lancashire Police that this recent development in their investigation has now revealed evidence that would have been sufficient to prosecute Christopher Smith, if he were alive. We cannot prejudge the outcome of a trial. However, had Mr Smith lived, my decision would have authorised the police to begin the legal process by charging him.
"The CPS agreed to look at the evidence on a deceased suspect because of the very exceptional circumstances of this case."
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

March 9 2011
The Court of Appeal rejects Peter Sutcliffe's application to appeal to the Supreme Court the decision by the High Court where Sutcliffe was given a whole-life tariff. In January 2011, the Court of Appeal had upheld the decision by the High Court.

April 8 2011
It is reported that Olive Smelt, 82, died on Wednesday, April 6 2011, after contracting pneumonia. She died at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, where she had been after collapsing and fracturing her hip.
(See: OLIVE SMELT for more information.)

July 14 2013
Wearside Jack hoaxer John Humble gives an exclusive interview with The Mirror. It is also reported that Humble was released on license after serving half of the eight year sentence he received in 2006.
(See: THE HUNT FOR WEARSIDE JACK for more information.)

April 29 2016
West Yorkshire police confirmed that they were conducting a review of unsolved cases dating back more than thirty years. It is believed that the investigation is focusing on cases that were identified in the Byford and Sampson inquiries which identified possible additional victims of Sutcliffe in the West Yorkshire area.
(See: OTHER YORKSHIRE RIPPER VICTIMS? for more information.)

August 25 2016
It was reported that Peter Sutcliffe had been moved the previous day from Broadmoor psychiatric hospital to high security prison Frankland in Durham. A health tribunal had deemed Sutcliffe mentally fit, and no longer required any treatment for any mental disorder.

April 3 2017
The Sun claimed that Peter Sutcliffe had recently been interviewed by two police officers about seventeen unsolved attacks (no murders) continuing the cold case review reported in April 2016. While West Yorkshire police confirmed the ongoing review, they would not comment on who had been interviewed in relation to the investigation.
(See: OTHER YORKSHIRE RIPPER VICTIMS? for more information.)



BACK TO MENU