A review and examination of the theory, found in the book (and website) "The Real Yorkshire Ripper" by Noel O'Gara, that William Tracey, not Peter Sutcliffe, is the Yorkshire Ripper.

Noel O'Gara's theory is that Peter Sutcliffe was a copy-cat Ripper, while the "Real Yorkshire Ripper" was an employee of his, William Tracey. O'Gara contents that William Tracey was responsible for the following murders: Wilma McCann (October 30 1975 - Leeds), Joan Harrison (November 20 1975 - Preston), Emily Jackson (January 20 1976 - Leeds), Irene Richardson (February 5 1977 - Leeds), Patricia Atkinson (April 23 1977 - Bradford), Jayne MacDonald (June 26 1977 - Leeds), Helen Rytka (January 31 1978 - Huddersfield), Vera Millward (May 16 1978 - Manchester), Josephine Whitaker (April 4 1979 - Halifax), and Barbara Leach (September 2 1979 - Bradford). He also contents that Tracey was responsible for the attack on Barbara Miller (March 1975 - Bradford). O'Gara also theorises that William Tracey was responsible for other murders, not of the Ripper series (or Ripper related), which will not be discussed in this article.

O'Gara contends that Peter Sutcliffe, a copy-cat murderer only, was responsible for the following murders: Jean Jordan (October 1 1977 - Manchester), Yvonne Pearson (January 21 1978 - Bradford), Marguerite Walls (August 20 1980 - Leeds), Jacqueline Hill (November 17 1980 - Leeds). He also contends that Sutcliffe was responsible for the attacks on the following: Anna Rogulskyj (July 5 1975 - Keighley), Olive Smelt (August 15 1975 - Halifax), Tracy Browne (August 27 1975 - Silsden), Marcella Claxton (May 9 1976 - Leeds), Maureen Long (July 10 1977 - Bradford), Marilyn Moore (December 14 1977 - Leeds), Upadhya Bandara (September 24 1980 - Leeds), and Theresa Sykes (November 5 1980 - Huddersfield). He also contends that Sutcliffe was responsible for other attacks, which again will not be discussed in this article.

This article will examine Noel O'Gara's theory that William Tracey was the "Real Yorkshire Ripper" and see whether it conforms to the known facts of the case, and determine whether William Tracey can fit into the "frame" of being the Yorkshire Ripper.

Noel O'Gara states clearly in his book that sometime after meeting William Tracey in May 1978, that he taught him to drive. Tracey began working for O'Gara on May 31 1978, therefore, he taught him to drive after that date. Subsequently, throughout his book he continually tries to make it appear that the Yorkshire Ripper could have been a pedestrian, and did not require a vehicle to commit the murders. This is very important to Mr O'Gara's case, since if it can be shown the Yorkshire Ripper used a vehicle before May 31 1978, his case against William Tracey falters and collapses.

The descriptions of an Irish suspect are used at great length to support his contention that Tracey was the Ripper. In fact, with the description of the Irishman at the Emily Jackson murder on January 20 1976 O'Gara states: "It is almost as good as a photograph of Billy Tracey." His website also relies very heavily on the Irish suspect. See: The No.1 Suspect

However, the problem is that the description of the Irishman by Maria Sellars also involves the Irishman connected to and the driver of a Land Rover (which she also gave a very detailed description of). O'Gara states that the suspect was only standing by the Land Rover (and her description of his clothes and, especially, his boots, supports that he was at one time out of the vehicle) and he claims that Maria Sellars did not see him drive off in it. However, this is incorrect, as she did state quite clearly that she watched Emily get in the vehicle and watched it drive off.

Here is what David Yallop in his book "Deliver Us From Evil" says of the encounter: "It looked as if it would be a good evening. Emily had earned her first five pounds before seven o'clock. Returning to the area of the Gaiety, she sat on a small wall and charted with a girl friend who chanced to be passing. Within a few minutes the friend, Maria Sellars, pointed to a jeep parked nearby.
"What's he looking at?"
Emily turned and stared at the driver. She continued to talk to Maria for a few minutes, but all the time she was quietly watching the driver of the Land Rover. Satisfied that he was a potential client, she tapped Maria on the shoulder.
"I'll see you later."
She strolled to the vehicle.
"Are you looking for business?"
"Yes. How much?"
"Five pounds."
"Right, jump in. We'll go and find somewhere quiet."
Maria watched as the Land Rover drove off."

As well, Roger Cross in his book "The Yorkshire Ripper" says: "Forty-five minutes later, at 7 p.m., a prostitute sitting on the wall outside the pub saw Emily Jackson and the two exchanged a few pleasantries before the elder woman saw a green hard-topped Land Rover parked a short way down the road. Mrs Jackson left the girl and walked quickly towards the vehicle. After she had got in, it drove away along Gledhow Road."

Even the press clipping on the The No.1 Suspect webpage "...for Mister Hairy Hands" states quite clearly "driving a dirty grey Land Rover".

Clearly, the Irishman, regardless of how closely the description may match, cannot be of William Tracey, as he didn't drive at the time.

O'Gara also credits William Tracey with an attack on Barbara Miller in March 1975. Again, the description of the Irishman involved is very similar to the Irishman who picked up Emily Jackson. A detailed description of the attack on Barbara Miller can be found in a two page copy of a confidential police report titled Prostitute Murders found in the book "Wearside Jack: The hunt for the hoaxer of the century" by Patrick Lavelle. Barbara Miller was picked up in the Manningham area of Bradford and she was taken to a quarry in the Bolton Woods district of Bradford in a vehicle she described as a Land Rover. The man stopped the vehicle, went round the nearside, opened the passenger door and ordered the woman out. She refused and was pulled out of the vehicle, following which a violent struggle took place and she was punched in the stomach, chest and face. The woman eventually escaped, but did not report the matter to the police.

Clearly this attack, and the description of the assailant, cannot be William Tracey, as the assailant was driving a Land Rover.

These factors clearly eliminate William Tracey as the person described as the Irish suspect both in the Emily Jackson murder and in the attack on Barbara Miller. There is no evidence whatsoever that the Irishman described was the murderer of Emily Jackson, the only evidence is that he was one of her last customers. William Tracey is not yet eliminated as the murderer. Anyone could have picked her up after the Irishman client. It only eliminates Tracey as that described Irishman.

Could the Yorkshire Ripper have been strictly a pedestrian? Since William Tracey did not learn to drive until taught by Noel O'Gara after May 31 1978, then all murders previous to that date have to have been done by a pedestrian for William Tracey to fit the "frame" of the Yorkshire Ripper and for Noel O'Gara's theory to have any validity.

With the murder of Emily Jackson, on January 20 1976, the distance from the Gaiety Hotel, where she was soliciting, to the scene of her death was approximately half a mile away (source: Yallop). For Tracey to have been responsible for that murder they must have walked that distance, or taken a taxi to that destination (and the taxi driver failing to report taking a couple to the murder scene). Since taking a taxi would leave one stranded at the chosen location (unless the taxi stayed as well), it seems a very unlike scenario that a prostitute would agree to take part in. A half mile walk (taking about ten minutes, plus another ten minutes return time, plus the "activity" time) seems an extremely unlikely scenario, especially when coupled with the fact Emily Jackson had at her disposal her own vehicle in the parking lot to entertain her walking clients and also when she was known to use her vehicle to pick up clients (sources: Yallop, Burn, etc.) It certainly seems a quite a stretch to suggest that Jackson, or any prostitute, would walk that distance for a quick one with a punter, and especially since Jackson had ready access to her van, it is even more ludicrous to suggest she walked to the scene of her death.

The same thing can be said of the murder of Irene Richardson on February 5 1977. Even if you ignore the tire track evidence found at the scene of the crime (see below), the simple fact is that from where she was last seen/picked up to Soldiers Field was at least a mile away (source: Burn). Again, without a vehicle, Tracey and Richardson would have to have walked that distance, or taken a taxi (which again failed to report taking a couple to that destination) with all the above unlikely scenarios again involved.

Other evidence found at scenes of the Jackson and Richardson murders link to other murders in the Yorkshire Ripper series. For example, bootprints found at the Emily Jackson murder match those found at the Patricia Atkinson murder on April 23 1977.

More importantly, tire track evidence was found at the Irene Richardson murder scene, at the scene of the attack on Marilyn Moore on December 14 1977, and at the scene of the Vera Millward murder on May 16 1978.

David Yallop, in the book "Deliver Us From Evil" reported this about the Irene Richardson murder scene: "But the man responsible had in fact made yet another of his many mistakes. He had presented the police with a complete set of his tire marks. Ever careful, he had driven the white Corsair onto the grass of Soldiers Field, away from the street lighting, into the darkness that is an essential part of the man. What puzzled the police was that the marks indicated he drove either a medium-sized sedan or a van and not a Land Rover. Wrongly convinced that Emily Jackson's client in the Land Rover was the man they were looking for, they now had clear evidence of a totally different vehicle fitted with two India Autoway, one Esso 110, and one Pneumat tire, all of a cross-ply type. Among the vehicles with identical track widths are the B.M.C. Marina, the Ford Corsair 2000E sedan (1966/1970), Hillman Minx Mark VI (1965/1967), and the Singer Gazelle Mark VI. Another car with identical track widths is the Morris Oxford series V four-door sedan."

Here is what Tony Fletcher (a fingerprint expert with the Manchester police) said about the Vera Millward murder scene in his book "Memories Of Murder": "A close examination of the Millward scene was made. From the position of tyre tracks, footprints, blood and the spot where the body was found it was assumed that the murderer had driven through the opening in the wire mesh at the southern end of the compound and had veered sharply to the right; he had then reversed his vehicle until the bonnet was pointing towards the exit, ready for a quick getaway. We were fortunate to find and cast the impressions made by all four tyres of the suspect vehicle. From these casts and the measurements obtained, the scientists at the North-West Forensic Science Laboratory were able to prepare a list of only eleven vehicles within the suspect range, one of which was the Ford Corsair that the murderer was eventually known to be using at the time of the attack."

Here is what Yallop says about the tire evidence found at the Vera Millward murder scene: "He had indeed changed his tires. This time the front left was a well worn India Autoway the rear left an Esso E110, the front right an Avon Super Safety in good condition (this had been the rear left tire when he had attacked Marilyn Moore) and the rear right had remained the same for the attack on Marilyn and the murder of Vera, an India Autoway, now well worn."

Clearly, the evidence shows that the Yorkshire Ripper was not a pedestrian when he did the above murders and attacks. Clearly, it also proves that William Tracey, a non-driver at least until after the Vera Millward murder, could not have been involved in those murders.

The Irish suspect in both the Barbara Miller case and the Emily Jackson case was a driver, and William Tracey wasn't one at the time, therefore William Tracey was not the Irish suspect. This destroys one major aspect of O'Gara's theory.

More importantly, tire track evidence and the scenarios of the murders clearly point to the Yorkshire Ripper as a driver. Again, since William Tracey was not a driver at the time, he could not have been responsible for those attacks, which totally destroys Noel O'Gara's theory that William Tracey is the "Real Yorkshire Ripper".

Keith Brannen - May 2000

NOTE: Some of the above was originally posted to Noel O'Gara's website Message Board during March and April of this year and which Noel O'Gara replied to. (See MESSAGE BOARD STATUS below for an update). It is to be noted that his website, at this time of writing (May 2000), still heavily uses the Irish suspect (and links the attack on Barbara Miller to Tracey).

UPDATED NOTE : Noel O'Gara now speculates that William Tracey may have faked not knowing how to drive while O'Gara was teaching him to further establish a potential alibi against being the Yorkshire Ripper. This rather ludicrous speculation is definitely a grasping at straws, and, does not, among other things, explain away the Millward/Moore tire evidence and Moore's description of her attacker.

MESSAGE BOARD STATUS (December 2000): Uncorrected problems with the configuration of the message board have resulted in the writing over of older posts by newer posts, making a general mess of the message board. This has, effectively, removed the earlier discussions of his theories from the message board which are in this article. It is also to be noted that Noel O'Gara did, temporarily, alter one of my posts (replacing my website URL with his website URL). As well, on three known occasions, he has deleted relevant and/or critical posts or entire threads.

UPDATE (January 2003): The Message Board disappeared soon after Noel O'Gara's site was re-designed in 2002. Prior to this, the old posts could be viewed, but no new postings were allowed.