|16||June 26 1977|
Jayne MacDonald, aged 16, a shop assistant who had recently left school, was the first non-prostitute, or an "innocent victim" as it was proclaimed, to die by the hand of Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper.
On Saturday, June 25th, Jayne MacDonald had gone to meet friends near the Leeds city centre at the Hofbrauhaus, a German-style 'Bierkeller'. There she had met an 18-year-old named Mark Jones, with whom she had danced with. At 10:30 pm, the two set off, as part of a crowd, in the direction of Briggate, the main shopping street. Jayne had suggested going for chips and by the time they found a place, bought and eaten them, Jayne had missed her last bus. They sat on a bench until about midnight, before walking towards where Mark lived on an estate near St. James hospital. Mark told Jayne that if his sister was home then she could give Jayne a ride home. When it was obvious that his sister was not home, her car not being outside the house, they continued by his house and up Beckett Road in the direction of Chapeltown, and Jayne's home. They lay in a field for a while until after 1:00 am.
The two parted company outside the main gates of the hospital at around 1:30 am. They had agreed to met again later in the middle of the week. Jayne's intention was to call a taxi from the taxi firm's kiosk at the corner of Harehills Road. However, when she received no reply at the kiosk, she decided to continue on walking and came out of the maze of streets near the Grandways supermarket, were she worked. She continued past the Gaiety, where Emily Jackson was last seen, and was walking along Chapeltown Road in the direction of Reginald Street, and her home at 77 Scott Hall Avenue, just six doors away from the home of the first Yorkshire Ripper murder victim, Wilma McCann.
Peter Sutcliffe spent the night of June 25th in the company of Ronald and David Barker, who lived on the same street where Peter and his wife Sonia lived with her parents. After a night of drinking in the pubs of Bradford, Peter deposited them at the end of Tanton Crescent, Clayton, Bradford, and, instead of going home himself, he turned the car around and headed for his "hunting ground" in Leeds.At around 2:00 am, Peter Sutcliffe saw Jayne MacDonald walking on Chapeltown Road. He parked and watched her for a few minutes before getting out of the car after arming himself with a hammer and a kitchen knife from under his seat and putting them in his pocket. He was quite certain she was a prostitute. Not only was she walking in a red-light area late at night, but he claims he saw her stop and talk to a couple of girls on a street corner. He then began to follow her for a short distance, and she never looked around as he followed, even though the distance between them wasn't great.
About 30 yards into Reginald Street, near an adventure playground, Sutcliffe struck Jayne MacDonald with the hammer on the back of the head. After she fell down, he then dragged her, face down, about 20 yards into the corner of the play area. Her shoes made a "horrible scraping noise" along the ground as he dragged her. He hit her again with the hammer and then pulled her clothes up and stabbed her several times in the chest and in the back.
At 9:45 am two children made their way into the adventure playground between Reginald Street and Reginald Terrace and discovered the body of Jayne MacDonald near a wall. Spots of blood on the pavement at the entrance of the adventure playground quickly established where she had first been attack. Her body was found lying face down, her gingham skirt disarranged, and her blue and white halter-neck sun top pulled up to expose her middle. She had been hit on the head three times with a hammer and had been stabbed about twenty times in the chest and on the back. There was repeated stabbing through one wound in her chest and and one wound in her back. Blood smears on her back revealed that Sutcliffe had tried to wiped his knife clean. When the police turned over her body, they discovered a broken bottle with the screw-top still attached had been embedded into her chest. Sutcliffe would later claim that he did not deliberately embed the bottle into her chest, and that it must have happened as he dragged her through the rubble on the playground. A post-mortem examination showed she had not been drinking, but had only had soft drinks that night.
The slaying of a young girl, not connected to the prostitute trade, an "innocent", brought not only national attention to the case, and outrage from the public not seen in the earlier murder cases, but also caused Chief Constable Ronald Gregory to appoint his most senior detective, Assistant Chief Constable George Oldfield to be in overall charge of the escalating Ripper murder investigations. Peter Sutcliffe claims to have been shocked when he saw the newspaper headlines that Jayne MacDonald had not been a prostitute as he had assumed.
Jayne father, Wilf MacDonald, a former railwayman, was to die two years after her murder, never having recovered from the ordeal of her murder.
EXTRACT FROM PETER SUTCLIFFE'S CONFESSION (January 4/5 1981)
"The next one I did I still feel terrible about, it was the young girl Jayne MacDonald. I read recently about her father dying of a broken heart and it brought it all back to me. I realised what sort of a monster I had become."
"I believed at the time I did it that she was a prostitute. This was on a Saturday night. I drove to Leeds in my Corsair, I think it was the red one, but I'm not 100% sure. At this time the urge to kill prostitutes was very strong and I had gone out of my mind."
"I saw this lass walking along quite slowly towards the crossing near the Hayfield pub in Chapeltown Road. She stopped on the corner before crossing over Chapeltown Road. I anticipated that she was going to walk up one of the streets up past the Hayfield. I drove my car into the Hayfield pub car park and got out."
"I took my hammer out of the car. I think it was the claw hammer. I also had a knife with me that time, it was a kitchen type knife with a black ebonite handle and a thin blade."
"I walked towards the narrow street behind the Hayfield to see where she was, and just as I got there, she was walking up. I walked behind her, I was very near to her, I followed her for short distance, she never looked round. I took the hammer and I hit her on the back of the head and she fell down. I then pulled her by the arms face down into a yard behind a fence. I recall that her shoes were making a horrible scraping sound on the ground. I pulled her into the corner of this yard. I hit her another once at least, maybe twice, on the head. I pulled her clothes up exposing her breasts, and I stabbed her several times with the knife in the chest. Before this I stabbed her in the back."
"I left her lying in the corner. I cannot remember whether she was lying face up or face down. She was wearing a jacket and a skirt. I walked back down the same street to where I had parked my car. As I got to the car park, I saw a group of people walking up the narrow street (Reginald Street) from Chapeltown Road. I got into my car and drove away into Reginald Terrace, into Chapeltown Road, and drove straight home. I think my wife may have been working that night. I have remembered that my wife started working some Friday and Saturday nights at Sherrington Private Nursing home in Bradford. That is why I have done a lot of my attacks on a Saturday night."
"I don't think I had any blood on me following this one. I cannot recall what I was wearing then. I cannot remember what I did with the knife, I must have taken it home with me and washed it. I feel I may have left it in the Corsair when I scrapped it. The hammer may have been the one I threw over the wall at Sharps Printers."
"When I saw in the papers that MacDonald was so young and not a prostitute, I felt like someone inhuman and I realised that it was a devil driving me against my will and that I was a beast. When the Ripper came up in conversation at work or in a pub I was able to detach my mind from the fact that it was me they were talking about, and I was able to discuss it normally. This amazed me at times that I was able to do this."
OTHER STATEMENTS BY PETER SUTCLIFFE (Further confessions, trial testimony, conversations, etc.)
"I were quite certain she were a prostitute, absolutely positive. She were walking along in the red-light area, for one thing, and then I saw her stop and chat to a couple of girls on a street corner. I felt sure she were one of them. I walked behind her, following her a short distance. She never looked round. I hit her on the back of the head and she fell down. I pulled her, face down, into the corner of a yard. Her shoes made a horrible scraping noise."