22 March 2 1979
Friday night
Horsforth, Leeds Survived 289 days

On Friday, March 2 1979, on the grounds of Horsforth College, Horsforth, just outside of Leeds, during mid-evening, student Ann Rooney, 22, was attacked from behind. She was struck on the head three times, leaving distinctive semicircular wounds, which Professor David Gee, who examined her at Leeds General Infirmary, determined were likely caused by the circular head of a hammer. She sustained no other injuries.

Ann Rooney described her attacked as being in his twenties, five feet ten inches in height, of broad build, with dark curly hair and a drooping moustache. As well, she believed that before the attack she had seen the man sitting in a dark-coloured Sunbeam Rapier. Peter Sutcliffe was, at the time, the owner of a black Sunbeam Rapier, which had been flagged by the police numerous times going through the red-light areas of Leeds and Bradford. On February 22 1979, when he had been flagged in Moss Side, Manchester red-light area, he became a triple-area sighting which meant he was to be actioned for an interview by police as a potential suspect due to the frequency of sightings in red-light areas.

There were 850 Sunbeam Rapier and Alpine vehicles listed in the "punters index", twenty-one Sunbeam Rapiers were cross-area sightings, meaning they had been flagged in two of the six red-light areas under observation. Only three, including Peter Sutcliffe's vehicle, had been flagged as having triple-area sightings. Unfortunately, the officers involved in the investigation into the attack on Ann Rooney were unaware of the information and the importance of the data that was available in the system.

Ann Rooney's attack was not included in the Ripper series based on the extremely narrow criteria that it was believed that the hammer that caused her injuries was of a different size than the one it was believed was being used by the Yorkshire Ripper.

Keith Hellawell was Assistant Chief Constable with the West Yorkshire police during the Ripper inquiry but was not on the task force investigating the murders. Later he became the Chief Constable of Cleveland, and then the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, and is currently the "Drug Tsar", or, more formally, the UK Drugs Co-ordinator and Special Advisor to the Prime Minister.

Hellawell continued to visit Peter Sutcliffe while he was in Broadmoor, and was convinced that the catalogue of known Ripper victims was not complete. In 1992, according to Hellawell, at the time Chief Constable of Cleveland, Peter Sutcliffe confessed to him to two additional attacks. Sutcliffe confessed responsibility to the attack on Tracy Browne and to an attack on a young Irish student in Bradford.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Barbara Mills, QC, decided at the time that it would not be in the public interest to press charges against Peter Sutcliffe for the newly confessed attacks.

In 1996, the "Silent Victims: The Untold Story Of The Yorkshire Ripper" television programme said that the attack Sutcliffe confessed to took place in 1979 at a Leeds college (newspaper accounts in 1992 reported the attack had taken place in Bradford). The programme also showed a photo of Trinity and All Saints College in Horsforth, Leeds. This suggests the attack they were referring to was the one carried out on Ann Rooney on March 2 1979.

Keith Hellawell also said in the "Silent Victims" programme that the two attacks Sutcliffe confessed to had both been very high on his list of probable attacks that could have been Sutcliffe's responsibility.

(NOTE: Source material: Bilton, Yallop, The Times, "Silent Victims: The Untold Story Of The Yorkshire Ripper" 1996 television programme.)