Case: Regina v Peter William Sutcliffe
Place: Number One Court, Central Criminal Court, "Old Bailey", London
Judge: Mr Justice Boreham
Prosecution: Sir Michael Havers, QC, the Attorney General
Prosecution: Harry Ognall, QC
Defence: James Chadwin, QC
Defence: Sidney Levine
The day began with Dr Malcolm MacCulloch, a consultant psychiatrist and medical director at the Park Lane special hospital in Liverpool, back on the stand being cross-examined by Harry Ognall, QC, for the prosecution.
When asked by Mr Ognall if Mr Sutcliffe had in any way misled or deceived him, Dr MacCulloch replied: "I am sure he deceived me here and there on one point or another. I think it most likely. However, I had been asked specifically to consider deception by another psychiatrist. I will admit that I could not determine whether Sutcliffe was a liar."
Mr Ognall: "Your diagnosis stands or falls by what this man has told you. That is the beginning and end of it."
Dr MacCulloch: "I don't think it's the beginning and the end, but it is substantial."
Mr Justice Boreham: "If what he has told you is not true, then what of your diagnosis?"
Dr MacCulloch: "It falls."
Mr Justice Boreham asked if he would still have diagnosed Mr Sutcliffe as a schizophrenic if Mr Sutcliffe knew at the time he killed his last victims they were not prostitutes. Dr MacCulloch said he would, but in those cases it would then be murder.
The final witness called by the defence was Dr Terence Kay, a consultant forensic psychiatrist, whose day-to-day work involves examining prisoners at Leeds and Wakefield prisons. Dr Kay had originally been engaged by the Crown to examine Mr Sutcliffe.
Dr Kay said that he felt sure that Mr Sutcliffe was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Dr Kay: "I felt safe in the diagnosis, but was uneasy because of other factors. I work in the prisons more than any of my colleagues and have a very good relationship with the prison officers. They told me quite frankly that we were being fooled."
Asked by Mr Chadwin whether that worried him, Dr Kay replied: "No, I wasn't troubled with the diagnosis, but as the officers quite rightly said they spent far more time with Sutcliffe that I did. They were with him 24 hours a day and he had made that remark about going to a loony bin." However, the conversation had not given him any cause for concern about his diagnosis.
Dr Kay had interviewed Mr Sutcliffe on eight occasions, four of them before he had submitted a interim report on April 9th, and had compiled a final report eight days later. The first interview took place on March 4th, where he took the standard psychiatric history of Mr Sutcliffe, including his early development and work history. Dr Kay: "I wanted his life story, really."
Dr Kay said that he only found one thing relevant to his subsequent diagnosis in what Mr Sutcliffe had said to him during the interview. During the last sentence of the interview, Dr Kay said: "He mentioned that all prostitutes were scum but I didn't take the interview any further at that stage."
Dr Kay was told by Mr Sutcliffe that he had gotten involved with prostitutes after an argument with his wife. He also mentioned the period when he was living in London, saying that he had not attacked prostitutes then. He had also not attacked prostitutes when he was working at night.
Dr Kay: "I asked him how he managed for sex while his wife was away in London, and he said he went regularly to see her at college and sex took place then."
Mr Sutcliffe also described when he was working at Bingley cemetery he had heard a voice, which seemed to be the voice of God. He had heard the voice over the next few years and he took notice as it had a message. Mr Sutcliffe said that the voice had said: "The Lord giveth life and takes away life." Mr Sutcliffe had also said: "When I was on a mission (to kill prostitutes) as time went on, I felt privileged. There were far better Christians than me, but it made me special. Once I went to Leeds, angry, but the voice said: 'Stop. Not there. Wait 10 minutes.' When I was visited by the police I knew God would protect me. It was my duty. I knew God would put them off. I was living in a protected way."
Dr Kay said that when he had asked about the letters and tape sent to the police, Mr Sutcliffe had replied: "Not me. God putting police off."
When Dr Kay asked about his attacks on women, Mr Sutcliffe had said: "Usually very depressed. Did not hear voice unless depressed. Day or two of depression. Once felt suicidal. Voice persuaded me not to. Sat an hour in the car. Voice said I had a purpose. Not right. Purpose unfulfilled. Afraid of voice. I had a purpose to drive them all off the streets."
Mr Sutcliffe had told Dr Kay that he carried on with "God's mission" even though he found it "distasteful." Dr Kay said that Mr Sutcliffe had told him: "I can't stand the sight of blood anyway. I wondered if it was the Devil."
When asked by Dr Kay if he was angry, Mr Sutcliffe replied: "Angry because of conflict. I killed them with a screwdriver and knife. I have given them to the police."
Dr Kay then asked where he had stabbed them, and Mr Sutcliffe said that he "gave it to them" in the back, and once or twice in the heart or throat. Dr Kay had asked: "What about suffering?" and Mr Sutcliffe had replied: "Never thought. Singularity of purpose." When Dr Kay had asked if Mr Sutcliffe had stabbed below the belt, he did not answer him.
Mr Sutcliffe's manner sometimes did not match the seriousness of what he was discussing. Dr Kay: "At times he smiled, almost giggled, when we were discussing very serious things. Sometimes he treated it almost as a joke and laughed."
Dr Kay said that Mr Sutcliffe told him that at the time of the attack on Yvonne Pearson he had not been depressed, nor was he hearing voices.
Dr Kay said that when he asked what had brought on his depression, Mr Sutcliffe had told him: "Quarrels with wife, worries, problem losing licence. Two or three occasions packed my cases. Wife has had nervous breakdown. Hell to pay if I entered the house with boots on."
When Dr Kay had asked how he had covered up any blood on his clothes, Mr Sutcliffe had told him: "Just a few specks. Didn't do anything to conceal them. Sponged down trousers. Never had to get rid of clothes or sent clothes to the cleaners. She wouldn't let me use washer. She washed own clothes. I washed mine."
Dr Kay had then asked whether Mr Sutcliffe's wife was worried about excessive cleanliness regarding sex. Dr Kay: "It would tell me a lot about his wife if she insisted on him taking a bath before sex." However, Mr Sutcliffe said that she didn't, but she did use towels on the bed when she had just put clean sheets on the bed.
Dealing with the proposition that Mr Sutcliffe could have been simulating schizophrenia, Dr Kay said that he was aware of the dangers that Mr Sutcliffe might have read a book on psychiatry. Mr Chadwin asked what Dr Kay might have expected Mr Sutcliffe to do if he was simulating schizophrenia, if copycatting the symptoms of Sonia Sutcliffe's illness, as the prosecution had suggested. Dr Kay replied: "She had shown terror, aggression, dismay, a fatuous smile, things that could be seen on her face."
Dr Kay said that Mrs Sutcliffe thought she was the second Christ, which could have been useful to Mr Sutcliffe in simulating schizophrenia. Dr Kay also added that: "Sonia Sutcliffe also complained about having the stigmata of the cross on her hands and she complained of wanting to be a teddy bear."
Mr Chadwin asked if Mr Sutcliffe was not schizophrenic, what was he? Dr Kay: "If he is not schizophrenic, only a psychopath would kill this many people and the origins of that must be sexual."
Dr Kay said he had inquired about Mr Sutcliffe's: "lifestyle and daydreams." For a number of reasons, he did not believe that he fit into the category of a sadist-killer. Firstly, a sadist-killer can very rarely relate to adult women and therefore is very rarely married. Secondly, the sadist-killer has a rich sexual fantasy life, dreams about sex, and is usually very anxious, when given the opportunity, to discuss his fantasies. Thirdly, such people usually stimulate their fantasies with pornography. As well, they would be interested in torture, whips, and female underwear. Dr Kay stated he was unaware of any such evidence of that nature in Sutcliffe's case.
When asked by Mr Chadwin whether there was anything that struck him about the killings in that context, Dr Kay replied: "I would have expected the sexual aspect to be present in all except the first one or two cases, and I would have expected it to spread so that in the last killing there would have been greater mutilation than in the earlier ones."
Dr Kay also said that the use of the hammer did not suggest a sadist-killer, due to its speed. With a sadist-killer, the usual emphasis was on the slowness of death and the agony of the victim. The sadist-killer needed to see the suffering of his victim, and needed to control the terror. Dr Kay said the speed of the hammer blows from behind seemed to contradict the sexual pleasure the sadist-killer would get from the need to see the face of the victim.
Referring to the injuries suffered by Josephine Whitaker, Mr Chadwin asked: "I suppose it is obvious to all of us why a sadistic killer would inflict that injury - why would a schizophrenic inflict it?" Dr Kay explained that as a schizophrenic went on, his sensitivity would be eroded.
Sir Michael Havers, QC, the Attorney General, then began his cross-examination of Dr Terence Kay. Sir Michael: "Do you know of a reported experiment in the United States where eight perfectly normal people simulated schizophrenia?"
Dr Kay: "Yes, I do."
Sir Michael: "I understand they stated they could hear voices and that they also described other symptoms. Apparently they were all diagnosed by psychiatrists as schizophrenic and admitted to various hospitals?"
Dr Kay: "That is correct."
Sir Michael: "I understand they fooled doctors at seventeen mental institutions, but the patients considered them fakes declaring,'You are not crazy-you're just journalists checking up on hospitals'?"
Dr Kay: "That is correct."
Mr Justice Boreham made the observation that Sir Michael must not blame Dr Kay for what happened in America (which caused laughter in the court).
Sir Michael: "Would you accept that if Sutcliffe was a cold-blooded killer who had an enormous desire to kill prostitutes or just to kill women, he could be bad rather than mad?"
Dr Kay: "Yes, I would accept that."
Sir Michael then proceeded to review the evidence that he contended pointed to Mr Sutcliffe as being a sadist-murderer. When asked what his reactions were to the injuries inflicted on sixteen-year-old Jayne MacDonald, Dr Kay said: 'Like everyone else - horror. I tried to detach myself to make a clinical decision. I tried to balance for and against, very savage and brutal, I searched for a motive."
When asked about the Helen Rytka case, Dr Kay conceded that Mr Sutcliffe's sexual involvement with Helen Rytka as she was dying was "a very unusual act." Dr Kay said that from a sadist-murderer he would expect that sort of behaviour in every case, not just in one.
Turning to the case of Josephine Whitaker, who had been stabbed in the vagina with a screwdriver, Sir Michael asked: "Wasn't it much more like the work of a sadist-killer than somebody on a mission?"
Dr Kay said that while multiple stabbings were a common method of killing, deliberate stabbing through the same hole was very rare. Dr Kay: "I have to balance whether this was done for sexual excitement or pleasure, or whether it is the act of a man whose feelings for human beings are blunted by schizophrenia."
Dr Kay said that Mr Sutcliffe believed that Josephine Whitaker was: "in league with the Devil." He also said that it was the Devil who made her cunning, prompting her to say she had been to visit her grandmother. Dr Kay said in would be more evidence of Sutcliffe's schizophrenic thinking, that he would consider it made her look cunning in her attempt to appear innocent.
Dr Kay was handed the screwdriver which Mr Sutcliffe had used on Jospehine Whitaker. Sir Michael: "There must be a sexual component there. That was introduced inside the vagina three times through the same entry hole."
Dr Kay agreed and stated that when asked about the injury, Mr Sutcliffe had replied that he had: "waggled it about two or three times." Dr Kay also said that it didn't affect his diagnosis significantly.
Sir Michael: "Why would any man want to do that to a girl?"
While acknowledging that a sexual motive was the most likely explanation, Dr Kay insisted that he could not know what went through a schizophrenic's mind all the time. Dr Kay: "I do not know what particular thoughts they have in regard to sex or anything else under every condition."
The trial was adjourned until tomorrow.
TUESDAY, MAY 19 1981: CLOSING SPEECHES
After consultant forensic psychiatrist Dr Kay finishing giving his evidence, where he re-iterated that he believed that Mr Sutcliffe was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, the defence finished its case. The closing speeches began with Sir Michael Havers, QC, the Attorney General, for the prosecution.
Sir Michael said that the jury would have to bring a common sense view "to the sickening and nauseous" events of the case. Sir Michael: "You must not flinch or feel afraid. It may be the most notorious or infamous multiple murder case of the decade but it is no different from any other ordinary case. The gruesome details should not cause you more anxiety than if it was a man charged with one murder."
After Sir Michael took the jury through the evidence that had been adduced, he also reminded the jury that Mr Sutcliffe had been "quick to inflict pain." As well, he had been willing to prolong death.
Sir Michael: "He was willing to take unexpected opportunity and willing, in the end, to kill any woman. Is that an unfair catalogue of this man's vices?" Continuing, he said that if all these facts were true, then Mr Sutcliffe was: "a sadistic, calculated, cold-blooded murderer who loved his job. The crimes are horrible and sadistic, beyond our ordinary comprehension. Does it mean he is mad, or just plain evil?"
Sir Michael said that if it was possible to put the reports of the three doctors who had given evidence to music, then it could be compared to a "symphony". The opening had been very quiet with little of great interest happening, a pianissimo passage where things needed to be stirred up, and then finally the "primary schizophrenic experience" when Mr Sutcliffe believed he had heard God's voice in Bingley cemetery.
Sir Michael said that the jury would have to test the medical evidence against the known facts of the case, which were not in dispute. As well, that evidence would also have to be tested against the evidence Mr Sutcliffe had himself supplied during his testimony. Sir Michael: "You are going to have to ask yourself how much you believe of what he said. It is the doctors' belief in what he said about Bingley, the voice of God and the mission which leads them to their diagnosis. If you do not believe that he is telling the truth, then the doctors' diagnosis collapses. If you are not satisfied that he did hear voices of God or he did have a mission, that is an end to it."
Sir Michael said that only thing they may agree on was when Mr Sutcliffe had said: "I am not stupid." Sir Michael pointed out the Mr Sutcliffe was, in fact, of high average intelligence and had a good command of the English language.
Sir Michael asked the jury if they really believed that there had been any sort of message. There were several other alternatives. Sir Michael: "The first is that it is just a pack of lies. He never heard any voices in Bingley graveyard and never had any voice telling him to kill. He is a cold-blooded, calculated murderer who has made this up because he knew he was going to go to a loony bin for 10 years instead of 30 years in prison.
Sir Michael: "The second is that he was having a rough time with his marriage. His wife, because of her own illness, poor soul, was really behaving impossibly. He had to take his shoes off when he got home, wasn't allowed to use the washing machine and had to do his own washing. She was obsessed with cleanliness, cleaning the carpet with a brush and pan, pulling the television plug out and shouted at him. Do you think this was some part of what follows?"
Dr Milne had believed everything that Mr Sutcliffe had told to him. Sir Micheal: "This was incredible. But when he was taken through the facts he had to admit that Mr Sutcliffe had lied and he could have been deceived."
Mr Sutcliffe had been described by Dr Milne as a man who enormously enjoyed killing prostitutes. Sir Michael: "How was that to fall in line with God's mission to rid the world of prostitutes? He didn't want to mutilate them, simply wipe them off the face of the earth. Would it be unfair to describe this man as a calculated and skilful man who is quick to protect himself? He was rather quick to inflict pain, especially on the last girl who was stabbed in the eye with a screwdriver."
Accusing the doctors of prompting Mr Sutcliffe, Sir Michael said: "All the doctors do it, but some prompt a little harder than others. And after the prompting, out comes the Bingley cemetery experience. Mr Sutcliffe's graveyard experience must have been something which he was treasuring. This was a very moving experience and he wasn't going to tell anyone. Another explanation is that he simply hadn't thought of it before."
Sir Michael pointed out that Mr Sutcliffe had not thought of it when he had his interviews with the police, or during meetings with Dr Milne, but then Mr Sutcliffe had remembered he had heard God's voice while he was digging a grave.
Sir Michael: "The doctors are then all agreed that he is a paranoid schizophrenic because God has spoken to him in Bingley graveyard. It must have been the most joyous occasion in his life, yet he never told his devoted mother or fiancee. Is it not conceivable that he would not tell them, or at least one of them? That is a very good test. If he had said to someone else at the time that it had happened, then there would be no question of him making it up."
Sir Michael also said that whenever anyone tried to find some sort of evidence to confirm Mr Sutcliffe's story: "you get nowhere at all."
Mr James Chadwin, QC, for the defence, in his closing speech, said that he had an "unusual task" in this case as it was for the defence counsel to prove the defence case. The prosecution did not have to prove anything. Normally, it was the role of the defence to attack the prosecution case and convince the jury that there was a reasonable doubt in the case. Mr Chadwin: "For any counsel this is a heavy responsibility, but I ask for no sympathy because your responsibility is heavier than mine."
Mr Chadwin: "Because Peter Sutcliffe has admitted these killings, and has said they were done with the intention of killing, it follows that they are murders unless I can persuade you that because of the evidence it is probable that Peter William Sutcliffe, at the time of these killings, had a sick mind, a diseased mind which had the effect that it substantially impaired his responsibility for what he did. If you are persuaded by the evidence that it is more probable than not, that, at the time of the killings, Peter Sutcliffe was suffering form a disease of mind that substantially impaired his responsibility, then that is enough. Then the defence succeeds and the verdict should be one of guilty of manslaughter and not guilty of murder."
Mr Chadwin told the jury that if he did not comment on all the evidence, it was not because he was trying to distract them: "from the enormity of this man's acts. At best I would be a poor or a very great fool if I thought I could ever get you to lose sight of the enormity of what he has done. But if this man is to face justice, not vengeance, do not be overawed by the enormity of these acts."
Mr Chadwin stated it would not be right to try to persuade them Mr Sutcliffe had a diseased mind: "at large. I am trying to persuade you what he did suffer from at the time of each killing is a known disease of mind called paranoid schizophrenia."
Mr Chadwin said that the "fundamental question" was the key symptom to the illness, Mr Sutcliffe's graveyard experience at Bingley: "If there was no such experience, I would have the greatest difficulty to try to persuade you he was suffering from that disease of the mind. I suggest it is a man with a diseased mind, who is under that influence of what he is convinced is God, and he has a mission to kill."
The hearing was adjourned until tomorrow, when Mr Chadwin was expected to finish his closing speech, and the judge would begin his summing up.
WEDNESDAY, MAY 20 1981: CLOSING SPEECHES, THE JUDGE'S SUMMARY
Mr James Chadwin, QC, defending Peter Sutcliffe, continued with his closing speech, stating that Mr Sutcliffe's metal illness was such that he believed he was beyond capture. Mr Chadwin: "He believed he had to carry out instructions which he thought he was getting from God to carry out the killings."
Mr Chadwin: "Either, as the doctors have expressed their belief, this series of events arises because of the schizophrenic illness, or he must be a man, who, for some reason, enjoys killing." Mr Chadwin said he disagreed with the prosecution's view that Mr Sutcliffe wanted to kill and enjoyed killing. Mr Chadwin: "He loathed prostitutes because he had been told they were responsible for all the troubles in the world, and they were the scum of the earth. That was a total delusion, just as it is a delusion to think that you can rid the world of prostitutes through one single agent."
It was up to the jury to decide whether Mr Sutcliffe had: "deliberately manufactured material in a clear and calculated way to deceive three experienced forensic psychiatrists."
Because his statement to police had left out references to attacks on Anna Rogulskyj and Olive Smelt and the killing of Marguerite Walls, it had been suggested that this was "self-serving." Mr Chadwin: "Does anyone seriously suggest that the man who had just admitted he was the Yorkshire Ripper was serving some purpose that benefitted him by restricting his admissions to 12 killings? I hope I do not sound in any way frivolous, but can you see in what way a man is worse off if he admits 13 killings rather than 12, or if he adds four more attempts to the two attempts he is admitting? I suggest you have to look elsewhere for the reasons why that statement was incomplete."
Mr Chadwin said that it was superficial and facile to say that Mr Sutcliffe was lying for his own ends. Mr Chadwin: "But there is a sensible explanation," which fitted the defence, and not the prosecution. Mr Sutcliffe was concealing his mission which was why he didn't make a full disclosure and go back to 1969.
Mr Sutcliffe had not even gone back to 1975. The further back Mr Sutcliffe went, the nearer he would be to the strange history of compulsion and inevitability. The evidence from the doctors was that a paranoid schizophrenic with a primary experience such as Mr Sutcliffe's would be overprotective about it. The evidence given by the psychiatrists was that there was nothing unusual in the reluctance of a person suffering from paranoid schizophrenia to disclose the original source of the primary schizophrenic experience.
Mr Chadwin said that the attacks left out of Mr Sutcliffe's voluntary confession were because he had wanted to get the police interview over with. Mr Chadwin: "Is it surprising? It lasted 15 hours or more."
Referring to the comments Mr Sutcliffe had made to his wife that he would be in prison for 30 years unless he could convince people that he was mad and could do 10 years in a "loony bin," Mr Chadwin asked the jury to remember the context in which they were said. Mr Sutcliffe had given his wife the chance to leave him and make a new life for herself, but she wouldn't have it. Mr Chadwin: "It is the most natural thing in the world that she would want to know, if she was standing by him, how long he would be away."
Mr Chadwin said that when Mr Sutcliffe told Sonia he may only do ten years, he was trying to console her: "Let's not make a mystery of it. There are only a limited number of defences available to charges of murder. He was hardly in a position to say he hadn't committed these murders. He could hardly say they were in self-defence. The only possible defence is if there is really something wrong with his mind."
Challenging the theory that the prosecution had put forward that Mr Sutcliffe had attacked women due to a grudge he had after being belittled by a prostitute in 1969, Mr Chadwin asked what had happened to this seething hatred of prostitutes by Mr Sutcliffe between the years 1969 and 1975? Mr Chadwin: "If this man had been activated merely by resentment, then by 1970, 1971 or 1972 the matter would have been over."
A healthy mind, as opposed to one which was diseased, would have been most unlikely to start killing and attacking prostitutes in 1975 due to an incident that had taken place six years prior. Mr Chadwin: "But a man who had become convinced through sickness of mind that it was God's will that he should attack prostitutes might well have taken time to become so convinced to start his attacks."
Mr Chadwin then dealt with the prosecution's contentions of a sexual component or motive to the attacked. Referring to the scratch on the small of Olive Smelt's back, Mr Chadwin said: "Isn't that really stretching things too far? It is for you to say. Are you impressed either by the suggestion made at one stage that a series of wounds near the tummy button are some indication of sexual gratification? Surely not."
Citing another example of Mr Sutcliffe's alleged sexual motive, the Emily Jackson case, Mr Chadwin said: "This man was obsessed by prostitutes, paranoid about prostitutes, and would see special significance about a part of a prostitute's body. But is there anything to suggest he enjoyed anything sexually?' Mr Chadwin suggested there was not.
While Mr Sutcliffe had left Marguerite Walls's body in a humiliating position, this fitted in with Mr Sutcliffe's consistent explanation in cases when clothing had been disarranged or when he placed a victim in a humiliating position. Mr Chadwin said Mr Sutcliffe had said it was: "to show them for what they are. To show them as a disgrace." Mr Chadwin added: "He loathed their bodies and he attacked in many cases with excessive violence, one woman having something like fifty-two stab wounds."
The sexual intercourse with Helen Rytka could not be brushed aside, and the prosecution was entitled to claim a sexual element there, Mr Chadwin stated. As well, they were also entitled to suggest the same in Josephine Whitaker's murder. However, it was for the jury to say whether they attached any sexual significance to the way in which the weapon had been inserted more than once. Mr Chadwin said that they might feel that this was more in line with Sutcliffe's loathing of prostitutes.
Mr Chadwin also pointed out that the prosecution had drawn attention to only six cases with some hint of sexual gratification. They had ignored the fourteen other cases where the injuries did not point to any sexual enjoyment.
Mr Chadwin also said: "But bear in mind that, whether stabbing or strangling, the pattern was always blows to the back of the head. Is it even probable that this is a pattern of someone who enjoys to see the suffering of his victim, or enjoys killing? Or is consistent with the feeling that he was destroying what he, in his own way, regarded as the scum of the earth who were responsible for all the ills of the world?"
Beginning his summing up, Mr Justice Boreham said that the time had come for a: "quiet, calm and objective look at the evidence. It would be humbug to pretend I have not got my own views. I have been sitting here as long as you, and of course I have my own views." He said that if the jury did not agree with his views, they should reject them.
The doctors, whose evidence is that Peter Sutcliffe is mentally ill, and which the prosecution disputes, are not themselves on trial. Mr Justice Boreham: "If you take a hard, calm, quiet look at the evidence and abide by the facts you decide are true, you will come to a just verdict. Nobody is ever found guilty except on the verdict of his fellow men and women. It is no disgrace to a judge if a jury takes a different view of the facts from his own, or any disgrace to a doctor if you were to put a differing view on the evidence to which they hold. The doctors are not on trial. No one doubts their integrity or their professional competence."
Mr Justice Boreham said that, probably justifiably, the jury would feel that the defendant was the most important witness in this case. The only one who could tell them what was in his mind was the defendant himself.
Mr Justice Boreham: "I mention this at this early stage because you have heard with regard to some of those early witnesses, Mr Birdsall and the Barkers, how they were paid money for their stories or for the pictures, and how the others have been similarly offered money. Don't let that rub off on him (Sutcliffe) whatever you do. No-one is suggesting that he is a party to anything like that."
The judge stated that the evidence feel into two categories. The first was the purely medical evidence, the doctors giving their expertise. The second was the evidence of fact. Mr Justice Boreham: "It is for you to decide where the truth lies so far as what this defendant had or genuinely thought he had in his mind."
Mr Justice Boreham said that the law normally did not trouble with issues such as motives, reasons and motivations, which the jury had to deal with: "But in this case they are central to the issue."
Normally the law requires proof of intention in such cases. Mr Justice Boreham: "That is very easy if you see a man battering a woman over the head with a hammer. You know what his intention was, whatever he says about it. That is why I say that actions speak louder than words very often. His intention is to kill or do some really serious harm. But you couldn't have the vaguest idea what his motive for doing it was. Maybe he just disliked her, maybe she was an outworn girlfriend. You could go on multiplying, but you could never divide them unless he would tell you truthfully. That is really the central matter here. Has he told you the truth as to what moved him to kill and kill again? That, in the end, is going to be the fundamental question." If the defendant was prepared to truthfully divulge the facts, these could be tested for the truth against other matters.
Mr Justice Boreham: "In effect and in fact this defendant has admitted murdering 13 women subject to this one special defence so that there is no mystery about it. If a man attacks another person without lawful excuse and with intent at the time of the attack either to kill or do really serious injury and as a result the victim dies then that is murder. Through his counsel, this defendant has admitted that he did kill 13 women, and he has admitted that when he killed he intended to do so. He has admitted, subject to the special defence, murder in 13 cases."
The defence followed the passing of an act in 1957. That act provided for a partial defence to a charge of murder. Mr Justice Boreham said that the section of the act that applied to Mr Sutcliffe was: "Where a person kills another he shall not be convicted of murder if he was suffering from such abnormality of mind, whether arising from inherent causes or induced by disease, as substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his acts in doing the killing."
Mr Justice Boreham said that if the jury was satisfied with the defence, then Mr Sutcliffe should be found guilty of manslaughter, rather than of murder.
Mr Justice Boreham said there were three essential ingredients of the defence and three questions the jury would have to ask. The first was: "At the time of each of these killings was this defendant suffering from abnormality of the mind? There is nothing troublesome about those words. By abnormality of mind it is meant was his state of mind so different from that of an ordinary being for you to describe it as abnormal."
The jury was to note the phrase: "at the time of killing". The ability to form rational judgement and to exercise willpower in accordance with rational judgement was dictated by a man's mind. Mr Justice Boreham: "It is that factor which has special significance. It is said his mind was directed or influenced by a divine outside force. It is said his mind was abnormal. By being directed by that force, was his mind not normal as an ordinary human being? If he had hallucinations and delusions, did it merely make it more difficult to exercise his will and was the degree such that it amounted to abnormality?" That was the second question the jury should consider.
Commenting about the doctors' evidence, Mr Justice Boreham said it was important: "but it is not conclusive by any means. You look at all the evidence, including what the doctors say and what the defendant says now and in his prior statements, and ask yourself do we think it more probable than not that he was suffering from abnormality? If the answer to that question is no, then that is the end of it, it is murder. If it is yes, then there is another question, does the abnormality result from mental illness? You and I are not capable of deciding whether this mental illness gives rise to the abnormality, so you may feel you should take the advice of the doctors, particularly as there is a consensus among the three of them."
The final question the jury should consider, Mr Justice Boreham said: "Was the abnormality such as to substantially impair his mental responsibility for his acts? That involves considering the extent to which his own mind was answerable, or whether it was overborne by the divine exterior force. It is sometimes a good test to ask oneself, on ordinary layman's terms, was this man on the borderline of insanity, partially insane? Here again, while the medical evidence is of importance, it is by no means conclusive, though I venture to think if the answers to the first two questions are in the defence's favour, you may think the answer to the third might also be."
Mr Justice Boreham: "It may be that you will take the view this whole problem can probably be narrowed down in this way. The doctors say that their diagnosis and opinion are based certainly in the main and almost exclusively on what the defendant has told them. They all agree that if the defendant does not establish the truth of what he has told the doctors their diagnosis cannot stand. What these basic facts are that the doctors put their opinion on are that he, the defendant, believed that he heard the voice of God in that cemetery in Bingley. In other words he was hallucinating. He genuinely believes that he hears a voice which is not there to be heard."
Mr Justice Boreham stated that Dr Hugo Milne had said that if Mr Sutcliffe had not hear the voice in the cemetery, then the diagnosis collapses, as that schizophrenic experience was fundamental to the doctors' diagnosis. Firstly, Mr Justice Boreham said: "Did he (Mr Sutcliffe) honestly believe he had that experience in the cemetery 15 years ago?"
Mr Justice Boreham said that the second plank of fact on which the diagnosis rested, was whether Mr Sutcliffe was deluded into believing he had a divine mission to exterminate prostitutes. Not just a mission to exterminate women, but a divine mission to exterminate prostitutes.
Thirdly, and this had been accepted by Dr Milne as being perhaps the touchstone of the whole case, did Mr Sutcliffe believe that at the time of each killing that each of his victims was a prostitute? Mr Justice Boreham: "If that was not established, if, as the prosecution says, he knew jolly well in the case of the last six that they were not prostitutes, the diagnosis goes and the defence fails."
The court adjourned until tomorrow, when Mr Justice Boreham would continue his summary of the evidence.
THURSDAY, MAY 21 1981: THE JUDGE'S SUMMARY
Mr Justice Boreham continued with his summary by referring to remarks Mr Sutcliffe was alleged to have made while in custody at Armley Jail, Leeds. Mr Sutcliffe had been overheard by prison officers saying to his wife, Sonia, that he would only serve 10 years in a "loony bin" if he could convince people that he was mad.
Mr Sutcliffe had explained that he had said this only because his wife had become upset after he told her that she should make a new life for herself. Mr Justice Boreham: "If you think that this is an indication that he had made up his mind to be deliberately deceitful and try to prove he was mad, then it could be very significant. But if you think it is something he just said on the spur of the moment in order to comfort his distressed wife, then far from having any significance, I suspect it would invoke your admiration."
Referring to Mr Sutcliffe alleged remarks about the belief that his pleas relating to diminished responsibility had been accepted, Mr Justice Boreham said: "I do not know whether a plea had been agreed or not, but I would have thought that everyone would have realised that, although there might have been an agreement, there was no agreement as to whether a plea would be accepted."
As for Mr Sutcliffe's suggested pleasure on hearing that his trial had been moved to London from Leeds, the judge said: "I do not imagine he fancied much the idea of being tried in Yorkshire and you would not blame him for that."
Mr Justice Boreham reminded the jury of the prosecution claim that Mr Sutcliffe had shown his real ability to deceive, when he put his mind to it, when he had used false car number plates in Sheffield prior to his arrest.
Mentioning the schizophrenic illness suffered by Mr Sutcliffe's wife, Sonia, in 1971 and 1972, Mr Justice Boreham added: "Now it is said that this man, her husband, whom nobody thought was abnormal in any way, was in fact schizophrenic four years before she was, and he has been a schizophrenic for some 15 years."
Mr Justice Boreham said that they had heard from Mr Sutcliffe's friends, who had not thought of him as an agressive man, or in any way mentally abnormal. This would fit in with the evidence if the jury accepted that here was a rare form of the disorder. While schizophrenia was not rare, paranoid schizophrenia was rarer, and the encapsulated form, which Mr Sutcliffe was said to suffer from, was very rare. Since the rest of the personality was left untouched, perhaps his relations and friends would not realise that anything was wrong with him.
Giving a summary of Mr Sutcliffe's comments about his feelings after certain killings and attacks, Mr Justice Boreham reminded them what Mr Sutcliffe had said about the MacDonald killing: "I realised what sort of monster I had become." Mr Sutcliffe had later said: "My desire to kill prostitutes was getting stronger than ever and it took me over completely. I wanted to tell someone what I was doing but I thought how it would hurt my wife and family."
After the Yvonne Pearson killing Mr Sutcliffe had sat in his car trying to figure out why he had killed: "There was an urge inside me to kill girls and it was now practically uncontrollable. The urge inside me still dominated my actions."
Mr Sutcliffe had told the police that the compulsion would lie dormant, but eventually came welling up and his attacks became more random and indiscriminate: "I now realised I had the urge to kill any woman. No woman was safe when I was in this state of mind."
Both the defence and medical experts agreed that not too much notice should be taken of such comments, because Mr Sutcliffe wanted to hide his divine mission. Mr Justice Boreham: "I do not know, you must judge, but do you necessarily have to say things like: 'I realise she was not a prostitute but at the time I was not bothered and I just wanted to kill a woman.' Why say that if it is not right, and why go to that length if all you are trying to do is simply hide the mission?"
The judge then reminded the jury of other comments Mr Sutcliffe had made. The Barbara Leach killing: "My urge to kill remained strong and it was totally out of my control." The Jacqueline Hill killing: "By this time I was again in a world of my own, out of touch with reality."
The jury might find it useful to mark such remarks as they might be of considerable relevance. Mr Justice Boreham: "Certainly, here is the first real revelation, if it is true, of what the defendant's feelings were and what were his motivations."
If the jury believed that revelation, then much had been said by this time to the police, and much had been revealed. Mr Justice Boreham: "But everybody accepts that so far there is nothing here to support a diagnosis of medical illness. One of the questions you may want to ask is, was this man really wanting to unburden himself truthfully, or is it more likely that he had a great secret of a divine mission which he was still keeping to himself and was not going to reveal?"
In regard to the medical evidence, Mr Justice Boreham said: "It is not disputed to this extent, that if the doctors had been told the true story and if they have got the facts right about the mission, then nobody challenges the diagnosis they have formed upon it. The doctors, whichever side they are instructed by, are here as professional men giving their profession opinions and they would not be biased, whichever side they are on."
Mr Justice Boreham: "What is challenged, is the factual basis which they have all accepted, mainly that this man was deluded into thinking that he had a divine mission to kill prostitutes. The fact that the doctors have accepted that is a matter of considerable significance. It is substantial but it is not conclusive; but this is a matter for you all. The emphasis I am going to place on it is whether or not there is really a solid basis for the belief and how confident they are about it. The doctors, for their part, have accepted that if the factual basis is not reliable then their opinions fall to the ground and their diagnoses go. It is the defendant's evidence which is crucial in this case."
Mr Justice Boreham said that Mr Sutcliffe himself had decided to give evidence, nobody was in a position to make him. According to the doctors, he was capable of giving evidence because his schizophrenia was of the rare type known as 'encapsulated', which means that the rest of his personality is intact. Mr Justice Boreham advised the jury to: "weigh him up as you would any other witness, not just what he said, but how he said it."
Mr Justice Boreham: "If the doctors have been told the true story, that he was deluded into thinking he had a divine mission to kill prostitutes, then nobody challenges the diagnosis they have built on it." In that case, they must find Mr Sutcliffe not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.
Mr Justice Boreham: "But if the factual basis is not reliable, then their opinions fall to the ground." Then Mr Sutcliffe is guilty of murder on all thirteen counts.
Mr Justice Boreham said that he sympathised with the jury who might be asking themselves how they were to judge whether Mr Sutcliffe had told them the truth as to what moved him to kill and to kill again. Mr Justice Boreham: "That, in the end, is going to be the fundamental question. Ladies and gentlemen, the answer to that is very simple.There is no magic or mystique about it. It is your collective good sense and knowledge of the world which you will apply to the issue. If I may venture one belief, I think you will find if you keep your feet on the ground it will stop you getting your head in the clouds."
Mr Justice Boreham said the point at issue was reasonably simple. Did Mr Sutcliffe lie to the police in order to divert them from his mission? Or did he lie to the doctors in order to persuade them he was mad?
Mr Justice Boreham said that Dr Hugo Milne had agreed that, all in all, there was nothing that the defendant had told him that he did not accept. He had been asked about the means of confirming the experience in the cemetery, which was a central element to the doctor's diagnosis.
Mr Justice Boreham: "He (Sutcliffe) says he worked in the cemetery. I do not know how far that takes you, but you must judge. I do not wish to be flippant in a case such as this, but it is very much like claiming to have swim the Channel, and when your friends doubt you, you take them to see the Channel. It does not prove very much, does it?"
According to Dr Milne one of the symptoms of schizophrenia was formal thought disorder, where the person could not express themselves coherently. Mr Justice Boreham: "It does not seem as though this defendant has any disability of that kind."
It had been suggested that Mr Sutcliffe had used his wife's illness, where she thought she was the second Christ, as a model for his own behaviour. Dr Milne had said that he did not think that it was likely, but did say that it did pose the question as to whether Mr Sutcliffe was acting, pretending he had heard the voice of God.
Mr Justice Boreham said that he hoped the jury would accept the strictly medical evidence and that they would concentrate on whether the diagnosis had been made on the balance of probabilities. Mr Justice Boreham: "In other words, at the time of the killings, did he believe he was directed or instructed by God to kill prostitutes? Put in another way, did he, though deluded, believe that he was acting under a divine mission to kill prostitutes?"
The jury was reminded to keep their minds open until they had heard his final remarks, when they would have as completely balanced a view that he could give them before they retired to consider their verdict. The hearing was then adjourned until tomorrow.
FRIDAY, MAY 22 1981: THE VERDICT
During his final remarks, Mr Justice Boreham said: "There has been some reference to the defendant being 'bad or mad.' It is perhaps a convenient shorthand way of putting it, but you stick to the words I gave you, whether he was suffering from abnormality of mind. In the end you may think the real question, and the one that will be decisive is, do you think it more probable than not whenever he killed he acted under a deluded belief that he had a divine mission to kill prostitutes."At 10:21 am the judge had concluded his summing-up and the jury was sent to deliberate and seek an unanimous verdict on whether Peter Sutcliffe had been driven by a divine mission to kill prostitutes, or was a callous and brutal murderer, as the prosecution charged.
The jury would deliberate for a total of five hours and 55 minutes. They had briefly returned to court at 3:28 pm to say that they could not be unanimous. The judge stated that he would accept a majority verdict and the jury deliberated another 47 minutes before returning with a 10 to 2 majority verdict of guilty to 13 counts of murder.
After the verdict, psychiatrist Dr Terence Kay returned to the stand and stated that the doctors considered that Sutcliffe should be locked up for the rest of his life.
Mr Justice Boreham: "Peter William Sutcliffe, the jury have found you guilty of thirteen charges of murder, if I may say so, murder of a very cowardly nature. For each was a woman. It was murder by getting behind her and beating her on the head with a hammer from behind. It is difficult to find words that are adequate in my judgement to describe the brutality and gravity of these offences and I say at once I am not going to pause to seek those words. I am prepared to let the catalogue of crimes speak for itself."
The judge said he had considered several factors in deciding on Sutcliffe's sentence, including the danger that he would represent in the future if he was at large, and the depth of terror he had brought to Yorkshire: "It is a population which to my knowledge does not lack fortitude. But I am left in no doubt that women from a wide area were in the deepest fear, and I have no doubts too that that fear spilled over to their menfolk on their account."
In sentencing Sutcliffe, Mr Justice Boreham said: "I have no doubt that you are a very dangerous man indeed. The sentence for murder is laid down by the law and is immutable. It is a sentence that you be imprisoned for life. I shall recommend to the Home Secretary that the minimum period that should elapse before he orders your release on license shall be 30 years. That is a longer period, an unusually longer period in my judgement, but I believe you are an unusually dangerous man. I express my hope that when I have said life imprisonment, it will precisely mean that. For reasons that I have already discussed with your counsel in your presence I do not believe that I can make that as a recommendation in statute." For the seven attempted murders that Sutcliffe had admitted, he was also given life sentences.
After Mr Sutcliffe had left the court, Mr Justice Boreham commended the members of "the Ripper Squad, as I think they call themselves," and cited Sergeant Desmond O'Boyle, Sergeant Peter Smith, and Detective Inspector John Boyle, the officers who had conduct the interviews which led to Mr Sutcliffe's confession. Mr Justice Boreham: "It is unfortunate but true that there are often allegations of impropriety against policemen. Sometimes, they are, unhappily, well-founded, often they are ill-founded. In this case these three officers behaved quite immaculately. They never put a foot wrong, and that can be said of few of us."
The judge also praised Sgt Robert Ring and PC Robert Hydes of the South Yorkshire police who had detained Mr Sutcliffe: "They were engaged in what I suspect from what I heard, sitting in this court, is often a very humdrum, routine duty. They must be very grateful, and the public in general and Miss Reivers in particular must be very relieved, that these basic police tasks which they perform were carried out assiduously and with such attention to duty. I do not mean to introduce levity but I cannot help but recall the remarks of the officer that he had not fallen off a Christmas tree. We are very grateful that he had not."
In regards to the West Yorkshire police, Mr Justice Boreham said: "I am sure every sensible member of the public feels the greatest sympathy for them for this reason, if no other, that the scent was falsified by a cynical, almost inhuman hoaxer - I refer to the tape and letters. I express the hope that one day he may be exposed."
(NOTE: Trial source material: Burn, Cross, Jones, Yallop, Daily Telegraph, London (Canada) Free Press, The Times, The Guardian.)