JEAN JORDAN


AGE DATE PLACE OUTCOME LAST ATTACK
20 October 1 1977
Saturday night
9:30 pm
Manchester Murdered 82 days

Jean Jordan, also known as Jean Royle, and a prostitute, was killed on October 1 1977 as the Yorkshire Ripper expanded his territory to include Manchester. The events of the murder resulted in the Yorkshire Ripper leaving a clue that could be (and was) directly traced to him. Sutcliffe would also return to the body nine days later to try and recover the incriminating evidence, and when he failed, would carry out the worst attack and mutilations on any of his victims.

Jean Jordan, known to other prostitutes as "Scotch Jean", lived with her common-law husband, Alan Royle, and their two children in a Moss Side flat on Lingbeck Crescent. On October 1st, Alan Royle had gone out with his friends, and when he returned the children were still asleep, but Jean Jordan was not there. He assumed she had gone out with her friends, and when she didn't return the next day, assumed she had gone off on one of her unannounced trips to Scotland to visit her relatives. In reality, she had gone out to "ply her trade" and met up with the Yorkshire Ripper.

Peter Sutcliffe had familiarised himself with the geography of Manchester during earlier visits with Ronnie and David Barker, and in particular, the red-light district. On Monday, September 26th, Peter and Sonia Sutcliffe had moved into their new home in Garden Lane, Heaton, Bradford. Peter Sutcliffe had also bought another second-hand car, a red Ford Corsair, to replace the white Ford Corsair, involved in many of the attacks and murders, that he had sold at the end of August to Ronnie Barker. On October 1st, he had worked on the car in the driveway of their new house. At night he decide to test it out and headed towards Manchester and the red-light district of Moss Side.

Shortly after 9:00 pm, Sutcliffe was cruising the area of Moss Side when he saw several prostitutes, and picked out one he described as "slim and not bad-looking". He asked her if she was doing business and she said she would meet him down the road a bit. She had been about to get in another car, but changed her mind and opted for Sutcliffe and his red Corsair. "I supposed this was the biggest mistake she ever made. She told me she was going to go with the other man until she saw me,' Sutcliffe said.

They haggled about the price for a moment or two, and Sutcliffe agreed on the standard charge of 5, to be paid in advance. She then directed him to a spot on Princess Road, Chorlton, near the Southern Cemetery. It was an old allotment area, adjacent to the new municipal allotments, which was now a piece of overgrown wasteland, shielded from the traffic by high hawthorn hedges. It was a favourite haunt of the Moss Side prostitutes and their clients, as well as courting couples.

The previous owner at Garden Lane had left behind a hammer in the garage beside the house, and it was with this hammer that Peter Sutcliffe carried as he left the car and followed Jean Jordan into the darkness of the wasteland yards from the car. With the first blow from the hammer, Jean Jordan fell, moaning loudly. Sutcliffe then proceeded to hit her ten more times. However, the murderer and his victim were not the only ones using the wasteland for their trysts. While crouching over the corpse, he saw a car's headlights come on, and hearing the car's engine being started, realised that it would soon be pulling away. He quickly pulled her body nearer some bushes to hide it. As the first car pulled away and left, Sutcliffe, while crouching behind his Corsair, watched a new arrival pull into the allotments and park in almost the identical spot as the first one. The chances of him and his victim being discovered were too high now, and he quickly scrambled into the driver's seat of his car and drove to the centre Manchester and headed for home.

While he had not forgotten his hammer in his haste to get away undetected from the scene, he realised while driving on the M62 towards Bradford that he had left a piece of incriminating evidence which could lead the police directly to him. When he had paid Jean Jordan in advance, the 5 note he had given her was one included in his pay packet at Clark's only two days previously, and was a newly minted note. He had two alternatives, he could either turn around and go back to try and get it, with the extremely likely risk of being spotted, or he could continue on to Bradford and sit it out. He decided to sit it out and was expecting to see news of the killing in the papers.

He was surprised to see nothing in Monday's paper about the Yorkshire Ripper having struck for the first time in Manchester. Every day after that he found no news of the murder, but the explanations were simple, he had hidden the body too well to be discovered and, after all, the area was only really busy after dark, and Jean Jordan had not been reported as missing. When after a week there was still no news, he took this as confirmation that her body was still where he had hidden it and had not been discovered.

He decided that the housewarming party on Sunday, October 9th, would be an ideal opportunity to return to Manchester and search for the note. Considerate as ever, he drove his parents to their home in Bingley after the party ended at around midnight, but instead of return home, he headed for Manchester. Since it was a Sunday and traffic was light, he made the outskirts of Manchester within three quarters of an hour after dropping off his parents. Fifteen minutes later he was parked by the Princess Road allotments and was heading into the wasteland to find Jean Jordan's body.

Having located her body, he began searching for her handbag near her body and where he had attacked her, even looking under her body for it. He then began to do a larger search pattern, but still could not find it. He became frustrated, and with mounting rage, pulled her already rotting body from where he had hidden it, and began stripping off her clothing, throwing it away after searching each piece for the 5 note. After checking the last item, Jean Jordan's boots, and not finding the note, fear and fury gripped him as he again searched the area for the handbag, without success.

In a rage brought on by being thwarted in his mission to find the note, he finally turned his attention to the body which was almost mocking him. He began to attack the corpse with a knife, stabbing and slashing with a vengeance. The stench when her stomach blew open caused him to vomit, but he continued to attack the body. He even used a large piece of glass with a cutting edge, which he had found at a nearby greenhouse, to attack the body. He had decided to horribly mutilate the body in a way not associated with previous Ripper killings. He then decide to cut off her head, definitely not a Ripper trademark, and leave it somewhere else "to make a big mystery of it". Also, by removing the head it would hide the tell-tale Ripper signature of hammer blow wounds. The police would then not realise that the Yorkshire Ripper had crossed the Pennines, but had a new maniac at large.

Peter Sutcliffe slashed at Jean Jordan's neck with the piece of glass but it was not equal to the task. He then tried to separate the head from the body with a hacksaw blade, but again was thwarted in his attempts, and eventually gave up the plan. Still enraged at his failures that night, and thinking his capture was almost assured, Sutcliffe kicked the body a few times. Frustrated and figuring he had been at the scene long enough and was pushing his luck by staying any longer, he finally gave up and got in his car and began heading for his home in Bradford. When Sutcliffe returned home, he was surprised to find he did not have much blood on his clothing. He put his trousers into the garage at his new home, and later disposed of them by burning them with some garden rubbish.

At 10:30 am that morning, two allotment holders, Mr Morrisey and Bruce Jones (who would later play Les Battersby on the long-running television show Coronation Street), while searching for house bricks, discovered Jean Jordan's body near a wooden shed and within twenty feet of a well-used pathway.

Tony Fletcher, in his book "Memories Of Murder: The great cases of a finger-print expert", details the scene of the murder: "The naked body was that of a young woman. She was lying face downwards and her arms were spread wide apart. She had been badly mutilated and there was a coil of intestine wrapped round her waist. It was later established that death had been caused by head injuries consistent with having been struck a number of times with a hammer. An attempt had been made to sever the head, a fact that was never revealed to the press."

"It was obvious to the experienced eye that the incised wounds on the trunk had been inflicted a considerable time after death. As the allotments were close to Manchester's huge Southern Cemetery my first thought was that someone had violated a recent grave and had mutilated the corpse. This idea was soon dispelled, because scattered in the long grass around the area of the body I found articles of a woman's clothing: boots, coat, cardigan, skirt, jumper, panties, bra and tights. Most of the top clothing was badly bloodstained and crawling with fully developed maggots. Under the privet hedge which separated the allotment from the pathway was a depression which was absolutely teeming with maggots, and leaning next to the adjacent wooden shed was a wooden interior house door. It was deduced that the victim had been murdered some days before; that her body had been put into the depression near the hedge and covered with the wooden door; that the murderer had returned to the scene on the night prior to the body being found and had removed it from its place of concealment, stripped away the clothing and then had mutilated it before attempting to cut off the head."

In Sutcliffe's initial attack with the hammer on Jean Jordan, she received 11 hammer blows with such severity as to flattened her head and make her unrecognisable. In the second attack nine days later, he had stabbed her 18 times in her breasts and chest, stomach and area of her vagina. They were fierce, slashing swipes in a terrible burst of rage and her stomach was ripped open. There were wounds from her left shoulder to her right knee. There were six more wounds on her right side. Some of the gashes were eight inches deep.

When the reports of the murder with a brief description of the unidentified woman were published in the newspapers, Alan Royle telephoned the police to say that he suspected that it might be his common-law wife, Jean Jordan, and was able to identify her clothing. Prostitute Anna Holt, a friend of Jean Jordan, also had read the reports and gone to the police and identified her. Final confirmation that it was Jean Jordan came when, after an extensive search of their flat where they had not found her finger prints, Alan Royle having done most of the cooking and cleaning, her left thumb print was finally found on a lemonade bottle.

Jean Jordan's handbag was finally found at 10:00 am on Saturday, October 15th, by a Mr Cox, who had gone to his allotment on the new section near Princess Road. A fence separated the old area from the new, and underneath this fence, concealed in long grass, he found a green leather-type handbag. After reporting it to the police, it was later identified by Alan Royle as Jean Jordan's handbag. The handbag had been 189 feet from where the body had been discovered. The handbag had been found lying open, in the main compartment were makeup, cigarettes, and matches. A 5 note and a 1 note were discovered in a small side pocket on the outside of the handbag. It appeared that the handbag might have been searched, but the notes missed.

The handbag had not been found on October 10th, as it was just outside the police search area. The 5 note, which Peter Sutcliffe had been searching for on his return visit to Manchester, had finally been found. The incriminating note, the police discovered, had been from a batch issued in pay packets days before the murder. Unfortunately, the five day delay in its discovery, coupled with the delay caused by the fact the body had not been discovered before Sutcliffe returned to it, and other factors, such as the delay by the police it announcing its discovery and the serial number, meant that too much time had passed to further narrow the search for its owner by any public input (see 5 Note Clue for information about the hunt for the owner of the note).

Peter Sutcliffe was interviewed about the note on November 2nd, and his seemingly strong alibi, the housewarming party on the night of the return visit, meant that he was able to escape without any suspicion that he was the Yorkshire Ripper.



EXTRACT FROM PETER SUTCLIFFE'S CONFESSION (January 4/5 1981)

"I realised things were hotting up a bit in Leeds and Bradford. People had dubbed me the Ripper. I decided to go to Manchester to kill a prostitute. I had read in a paper somewhere, or a magazine, of a priest chastising what went on in his parish at Manchester where there obviously was prostitutes.

"One Saturday night in October 1977 I drove over to Manchester. I believe it was in my red Corsair. I had a look at my map in Road Atlas to see where Moss Side was and I drove there."

"I went through Manchester town centre, Princess Street I think it was, followed it all the way down past the University, which eventually came out near the Moss Side area. It was a run down area and almost immediately on arriving there I saw several girls plying for trade. I pulled up at the kerbside and asked a girl if she wanted business. She was very slim with light coloured hair, not bad looking. She told me if I waited further along the road she would meet me there. I drove on two hundred yards and made a right turn, then a 3 point turn to face the main road once again."

"After a couple of minutes the girl drew level. She saw my car just as she was going to get into another car which had stopped for her. I think this was an 1100, a light coloured one, either grey or fawn. She didn't get in but came over to me, which I suppose was the biggest mistake she ever made. She came up and got into my car. She told me she was going to go with the man in the other car until she saw me."

"She told me she wanted a fiver for business, and she told me she knew a place. I drove at her direction until we came to an allotment. She told me to drive in the entrance to the allotment, which I did. I said to her, 'Fancy coming here, you see that greenhouse?' I pointed to a greenhouse that was about 30 yards away. 'That belongs to my uncle.' I said this to her thinking she would get out the car to use the greenhouse for business. I told her there was plenty of room and some heating in there."

"I was wanting to see her off. She then asked for the money, she said, 'You're not forgetting about the money, are you?' I said, 'Of course not,' and I promptly gave her a five pound note. She got out of the car and headed for the greenhouse. I followed her, and seeing there was no entrance into the greenhouse from where we were, I told her we would have to climb over a low fence."

"While she was starting to climb over the fence I hit her over the head with the hammer. She fell down and was moaning quite loudly. I hit her again and again on the head until the moaning stopped. At this time I saw some car headlights suddenly come on. These were from a car parked further into the allotments than I was. I had turned sharp right when I drove in and I was parked up close to the hedge. This car was parked about 60 yards further into the allotment."

"The car started up and I knew it would be moving within seconds, so I pulled the girl under the bushes, the perimeter bushes, and threw her belongings, handbag, etc., out of the way. On reflection I think there was just her handbag. I stood with my back to the hedge and threw the bag diagonally to my right. I stayed where I was, I saw the car out into the road."

"No sooner had the car gone, when another car driving along the road, which was a dual carriageway, slowed right down. I saw through the bushes it was indicating left to come into the allotments. Thinking this was a very dangerous position to be in, I hid behind my car."

"I saw this car drive into the allotments, the car drove up the road, turned round, and stopped in the same place the other car had just left from. I didn't wait around any longer, I jumped into my car and drove off towards the centre of Manchester, and drove home."

"The hammer I used that night was the one I had found lying in my garage after I had taken over my house. I took the hammer back with me. Having driven half way back, I realised suddenly that this didn't put me in the clear, because I had given her from my wage packet a brand new five pound note. I was working at Clarks then. I was in a dilemma once again. I kept on driving towards home, I didn't realise whether she would be found or not. I decided I could not risk going back to retrieve my 5 note, and I carried on home. My wife was either working, or in bed, when I got home."

"I was puzzled when no mention of this was made in the newspapers or TV over the next few days. I decided before a week was out that she was lying there undiscovered and that I would go back to retrieve the 5 note."

"One night, about a week later, the opportunity arose for me to go back as we were having a house warming party with family and gathering the coming weekend. My mother and father, brothers, and sisters came from Bingley to my house, and at the end of the party I ran them home. Then I made my return trip to Manchester. This was about 11pm on either the Saturday or Sunday. I drove to the allotments in my red Corsair and arrived there within 45 minutes. I turned left off the dual carriageway into the allotments. To get to there I had to drive to a roundabout and double back to that side."

"I turned right when I got into the allotments, as I had done before, and parked up about the same place. I found the body still hidden in the place I left it. I pulled it out from the bushes and pulled off her clothes and boots. I went through them desperately trying to find the 5 note. I just threw the clothes about as I took them off."

"I realised that she hadn't got the 5 note in her clothes, and that it must have been in her handbag. I roamed about all over the allotments frantically searching for the bag, but I couldn't find it. I was cursing the girl and my luck all the time."

"Having not found the 5 note, I gave vent to my frustrations by picking up a piece of broken pane of glass and slashing it across her stomach. When I did this there was a nauseating smell which made me reel back and immediately vomit, it was horrendous."

"I forgot to say that before I did this it was my intention to create a mystery about the body, I felt sure this was the end for me anyway. I had taken a hacksaw out of my car intending to remove her head. I started sawing through her neck, the blade might have been blunt because I was getting nowhere at all, so I gave it up. If I had cut the head off I was going to leave it somewhere else to make a big mystery out of it. The glass I used was about 3/4 of a pane with the corner missing."

"I was very frustrated not having found the 5 note, and thinking that my time was up. I remember I kicked her a few times, and I rolled her over before I left her. I then drove away realising I should stay looking for the fiver, but I thought I had been there long enough."

"I got home and went to bed. When I got home I was very surprised to see I had not got much blood on me, just a bit on my shoe and at the bottom of my trousers on one leg, and some on the back of my hand. I washed my hands. I was wearing a pair of casual grey trousers, one of my old pair, the blood wouldn't come off these. I put them in the garage in a cupboard to dispose of later. I was wearing my soft slip on shoes, dark brown. I wiped these clean. I don't think I have got them now. I later burned my trousers with some garden rubbish at the other side of our garden wall on the field."

"I read about the body of Jean Royle being found and sat back waiting for the inevitable, as I had assumed that the line of enquiry about the 5 note would follow. I read about the note being traced to a Shipley bank, I knew Clarks got the wage money from a Shipley bank, and that a local enquiry would be made, and by some miracle I escaped the dragnet. I've had at least 3 hacksaws, I don't know which one it was I took to Manchester. I threw the blade away in the dustbin. One of my hacksaws broke after this and I threw it in the bin."



(NOTE: Source material (details): Burn, Cross, Jones, Kinsley & Smyth, Tony Fletcher, "Memories Of Murder: The great cases of a finger-print expert". Source material (quotes): "Statement Of Peter William Sutcliffe". Photo source: Tony Fletcher, "Memories Of Murder: The great cases of a finger-print expert".)



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