|32||April 23 1977|
Patricia Atkinson, aged 32, a prostitute, was the second murder victim in 1977 by Peter Sutcliffe. To the police, the Leeds killer had now expanded his territory to include Bradford.
Patricia "Tina" Atkinson, who lived in a small flat, Flat 3, at 9 Oak Avenue, was at the Perseverance, in Lumb Lane, Bradford, on the night of April 23rd, dressed in a familiar outfit of blue jeans, short leather jacket, and a largely unbuttoned blue shirt. She was becoming more and more drunk, and had left the Perseverance and headed up Lumb Lane to stop at another of her regular haunts, the Carlisle, which was only a short walk back to her flat. The manager of the Carlisle had decided she had had enough to drink, and between 10:15 and 10:30 the staff remembered her announcing that she was leaving and watched her stagger towards the exit. She set off in what appeared to be her next destination, the International, and up to around 11:00 pm a number of the ladies of the street remembered seeing her unsteadily walking around.
Peter Sutcliffe was driving through the grim streets of Manningham when he spotted Patricia Atkinson, obviously the worse for drink, banging on the roof of a parked car, and shouting obscenities. He stopped the car and she jumped in without any coaxing, and she told him she had a flat not far away where they could go. They then drove the short trip to Oak Lane. As he was leaving his car, Sutcliffe retrieved a claw-hammer from under his seat and hid it in his coat.
Once inside, after hanging up his coat, he retrieved the hammer and hit her on the back of the head with a total of four massive blows. She fell off the bed and onto the floor leaving lots of blood on the floor. He hit her again and then hoisted her up back onto the bed by picking her up under the arms. Sutcliffe then pulled down her jeans and pants and exposed her breasts. He then began hitting her with one end of the hammer, and clawing her with the other end, leaving oblong marks and grazes that the pathologist, Professor David Gee, would describe as "curious". He also stabbed her six times in the stomach with a knife as well as some stabbing attempts on her back, and slash marks along the left side of her body. Before he left he threw the bed linen over top of her body.
When he left Patricia Atkinson's flat, she was "still making gurgling noises" but he knew she was in no condition to ever tell anyone what had happened. When he got home to Tanton Crescent, Clayton, Bradford, Sutcliffe discovered blood on his jeans so he rinsed them in the kitchen sink and then hung them up to dry. He also wiped blood off of his boots.
Sutcliffe would later discard the claw-hammer by throwing it into the grounds of Harrison's Printers in Cottingley Bridge. It would be discovered by the groundsman, who went on to use it for the next three years.
At 6:30 pm the following evening, long-time friend Robert Henderson called on Patricia Atkinson. He knocked on the door, and when she didn't answer, he tried the door handled and discovered it wasn't locked. He pushed open the door and moved slowly into the flat. He noticed a pool of blood on the floor, and on the bed he saw a lumpy bundle covered in bed linen and could see from what was left uncovered, her still, white face, her arm, and blood on the pillow, that she was dead. He then rushed to caretaker Jack Robinson's flat and, almost hysterically shouting, informed him that there had been a murder.
A blood sample showed that Patricia Atkinson had consumed about twenty measures of spirits. The police also found a bloody foot print on a bottom bed sheet from a size seven Dunlop Warwick wellington boot, which matched the foot prints found at the Emily Jackson murder scene. It was clear, from this, and from the injuries sustained, that the Yorkshire Ripper had now expanded his territory to include Bradford. As well, for what would be the only time, he had committed a murder indoors.
EXTRACT FROM PETER SUTCLIFFE'S CONFESSION (January 4/5 1981)
"The next one was a couple of months later in Bradford, this was Patricia Atkinson. It was a Saturday night late on. I drove off Lumb Lane into Church Street, I knew this was a prostitute area. I was in my Corsair, either the white one or the red one."
"I saw this woman in St Pauls Road at a junction with another road, she appeared drunk and was banging on the roof of a white Mini and was shouting and bawling, 'Fuck off!' and such things to the driver, who then drove off at speed. I pulled up to her and stopped and without me asking she jumped in the car. She said, 'I fucking told him where to get off!' She said, 'I've got a flat, we can go there.' She told me where to go. We turned right at the junction with Manningham Lane, turned left down Queens Road, left into Oak Avenue, and turned 2nd left and stopped at her flat."
"She told me she lived alone. I parked up outside her flat and she got out and went in. I picked up a hammer as I got out of the car. I remember this was a claw hammer that I had bought at the Clayton hardware shop."
"I followed her into the flat, she closed the curtains, and I hung my coat on the hook on the back of the door. She took her coat off and sat on the bed, her back was slightly towards me. I went up to her and hit her on the back of the head with the hammer. She fell off the bed onto the floor. I picked her up and put her back on the bed. That was the first time I had noticed the red blood, before it had always been dark, but this time in the light I saw lots of blood on the bed and on the floor. When she was on the floor I hit her another twice, or three times, before I put her on the bed. I pulled the bedclothes back before I put her on the bed."
"She had already pulled her jeans down before I hit her. I pulled her clothes up and I hit her several times on her stomach and back with the claw part of the hammer and I saw that I was making marks on her body doing this. I then covered her up the bedclothes. I think she was lying face down or on her side when I left her."
"When I first hit her she was making a horrible gurgling sound, and she carried on making this noise even though I'd hit her a few times. She was still making a gurgling noise when I left, but I knew she would not be in a state to tell anybody."
"I drove home and put my car in the garage. I looked at my clothes in the garage. I saw that I had some blood on the bottom of my jeans. I went in the house, my wife was in bed. I took my jeans off and rinsed them under the cold tap and hung them up. I also saw some blood on one of my shoes or they may have been boots, I rinsed this under the tap and wiped it with a sponge. I believe I was wearing a pair of brown Doc Martins boots at that time. I'm trying to think what I did with the claw hammer, I think I used it again on a woman. I have thrown it away over a wall near Sharps Printers at Cottingley, I can't remember when it was exactly."
"At that time I carried on as though nothing had happened. I was then working at Clarks in Bradford."