|16||November 5 1980|
Theresa Sykes, aged 16, was attacked by Peter Sutcliffe on Bonfire Night, Wednesday, November 5 1980 in Huddersfield. She had just bought cigarettes from a grocery shop and was walking on a path alongside a grassland and was almost home, when Sutcliffe emerged from the shadows, caught up with her, and struck her on the head from behind. She turned as she fell and tried to grab the weapon, and later was to tell police it was metal. She also was able to tell police that the man who attacked her had black hair, a beard, and a moustache. The second blow aimed by Sutcliffe struck her high on the forehead leaving a half-moon-shaped scar.
Theresa's desperate screams were heard by neighbours, and by her boyfriend and father of their three-month-old son, Jim Furey, a fitness fanatic, who raced out of the house. Sutcliffe quickly left the scene with Jim Furey in hot pursuit, seconds behind a figure rapidly disappearing into the night. Sutcliffe ran and hid under a hedge in a nearby front garden, crouching there until his pursuer gave up and he felt it was safe to emerge and leave the area. It was as close as he ever came to being caught in the act.
This attack was at first not thought to be a Yorkshire Ripper attack, but later the police would change their minds. The 8:00 pm time of this attack would also help lead to the downfall of Peter Sutcliffe eight weeks later after he was arrested in Sheffield, when, for the first time, his alibi for this attack and his wife Sonia's recollection of the night did not coincide.
STATEMENTS BY PETER SUTCLIFFE (Confessions, trial testimony, conversations, etc.)
"I saw her walking along the road and followed her down this footpath and hit her a couple of times and knocked her down. But someone started shouting and I ran away and hid in a garden."
(Statement to police, January 5 1981. Source: Bilton.)
(NOTE: While Sutcliffe confessed to this attack, it did not get included in his January 4/5 1981 confession statement.)
"I attacked her because she was the first person I saw that night. At first, it didn't take me any time to decide which women were prostitutes. I think something clicked because she had on a straight skirt with a slit in it. She crossed the road in front of me."
(Statement to police, read out in court during his trial. Source: Jones, Daily Telegraph.)