August 8, 2022

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The Yorkshire Ripper speaks candidly about his crimes, his victims and his fans from beyond...

The Yorkshire Ripper speaks candidly about his crimes, his victims and his fans from beyond the grave in never-before-heard conversations recorded by a female ‘pen friend’ before his death.
Sutcliffe, who was convicted of murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven others, was recorded by a woman identified only as ‘Brenda’ during phone conversations from HMP Frankland in the months leading up to his death from Covid-19 in November 2020, aged 74.
Brenda was asked to record the conversations by former detective Mark Williams-Thomas, who brings the recordings to the public for the first time in Channel 5 documentary, The Ripper Speaks: The Lost Tapes, which airs tomorrow at 10pm. 
Brenda, who remained anonymous in the documentary, explained she had first become interested in Sutcliffe as a little girl because she had grown up close to where he lived. 
Over time, the pair exchanged letters and had phone conversations and Brenda even went to prison to see Sutcliffe face-to-face. 
She says in the documentary he comes across as a normal man who is softly spoken – despite his heinous crimes. The bond between the pair is clear in the recordings.
In the tapes Sutcliffe speaks to her about the weather, calls her his ‘number one angel’ and jokes about how he is known as ‘Uncle Peter’ to some of his fans’ children. He also admits he had planned to kill another victim, Olivia Reivers, then 24, before he was caught.

The Ripper Speaks: The Lost Tapes, a chilling new documentary airing tomorrow on Channel 5 has unearthed tapes of phone conversations the serial killer Peter Sutcliffe (pictured) had with a female informant while he was in prison

In the documentary, the informant, called ‘Brenda,’ right, tells ex-detective Mark Williams-Thomas, left, that Sutcliffe sounds ‘normal’ and that his personality does not fit his crime 

Sutcliffe has several pen pals from all over the world, including one woman in America who wanted to marry him (pictured in 2015)

Speaking on the documentary, Brenda admitted she felt nervous before she first went to prison to visit Sutcliffe. 
‘The more I got to know him, the more he opened up,’ she says, adding the serial killer was very ‘gentle spoken.’ 
‘People say, you know, “he’s got these dark eyes, he’s like the devil” and then when you meet him, of course it’s nothing like that,’ she said. 
‘He put me at ease very quickly, I couldn’t imagine him doing any of it in his right mind. His character and his personality didn’t it the crimes at all. I got to know the man behind the Yorkshire Ripper.’

Could the Ripper have more victims?

The Yorkshire Ripper was responsible for murdering 13 women and attempting to kill seven more, but there has always been speculation that he could have committed more crimes.
Peter Sutcliffe’s death in 2020 will have left many feeling they will never know if he was responsible for attacking them, over 40 years ago.
A report completed shortly after he was given 20 life sentences found that Peter Sutcliffe could have been responsible for a further 13 offences. And he said he was questioned in prison about 16 unsolved cases – although no further charges were ever brought.
West Yorkshire Police reviewed historical cases linked to Sutcliffe in the 1982 Byford Report and confirmed in 2016 that officers had visited a small number of people named in the report, but later announced they had no plans to charge him with further matters.
The report, written by Sir Lawrence Byford about the flawed Ripper investigation, was completed in 1982 but only made public in 2006.
It said there was an ‘unexplained lull’ in Sutcliffe’s criminal activities between 1969, when he first came to the police’s attention, and the first officially recognised Ripper assault in 1975.
Sutcliffe was jailed for murdering and attacking women between 1976 and 1981. The report said: ‘We feel it is highly improbable that the crimes in respect of which Sutcliffe has been charged and convicted are the only ones attributable to him.
‘This feeling is reinforced by examining the details of a number of assaults on women since 1969 which, in some ways, clearly fall into the established pattern of Sutcliffe’s overall modus operandi.’
In 2017, Sutcliffe wrote a letter to ITV News Calendar presenter Christine Talbot, in which he said he had never attacked or murdered any men.

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During their recorded phone conversations, Brenda and Sutcliffe chit-chat about the weather and other aspects of his daily life.
In one recording, Sutcliffe, says: ‘I really miss you, I do. I think the world of you I can’t wait to see you,’ he said, before calling her ‘my number one angel.’
He went on: ‘I’m right with you in sprit, I wish I was on my doorsteps. Take care, gob bless you.’ 
At another point, when Brenda complains about the terrible, windy weather, the killer jokes: ‘You know what they say, March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.’
He also speaks to Brenda about his other pen friends, including ones with children.
He says: ‘There is not anymore of Harry Potter stickers.
‘I put them on people’s letters who’ve got kids, because they love them Harry Potter stickers, but they only had then for a certain amount of time, didn’t they.’
Brenda was only one of Sutcliffe’s many pen pals and super fans. The killer boasted at receiving 30 letters a week.
Among them was a 27-year-old woman in the US who wrote to Sutcliffe asking to marry him.  
As he recalls to Brenda in one recording: ‘I said “Let’s face up to it, it’s flattering, for a 27-year-old to want to marry a 73-year-old man, but where is the sense in that, you got all your life ahead of you.”
‘She was signing herself Crystal Marie Sutcliffe,’ the serial killer went on.
‘She had a really, just a kind of fascination.
‘She got carried away and in the end, she said “I love you like crazy” and “mwaaa,” she was putting on the letters, M-W-A-A-A,’ he spelled out. 
One of Sutcliffe’s super fans, a father-of-three named Daniel Brown, appeared on the documentary. 
The man, who is based in the North of England, admitted he has been collecting Sutcliffe memorabilia for years, including shirts that were worn by the killer during his years behind bars.   
Daniel, who exchanged letters with Sutcliffe for years until his 2020 death, says he does not find his fascination for the serial killer ‘morbid.’ 
He adds he did not get to know the ‘base nature’ of Sutcliffe.
The murderer spoke of Daniel Brown in the recordings shared by Brenda. 
‘Daniel Brown, I write to him every week he’s just a hard-working family man,’ the killer is heard saying. 

A composite of 12 of the 13 victims murdered by Sutcliffe. Victims are: (top row, left to right) Wilma McCann, Emily Jackson, Irene Richardson and Patricia Atkinson; (middle row, left to right) Jayne McDonald, Jean Jordan, Yvonne Pearson and Helen Rytka; (bottom row, left to right) Vera Millward, Josephine Whitaker, Barbara Leach and Jacqueline Hill

A furious crowd outside Dewsbury Magistrates Court is held back by police when Sutcliffe appeared there in 1981

‘Just the way he talks you can see how sincere he is and everything. He’s got three kids, and they all call me Uncle Peter and everything. He’s a really good friend, very reliable, very discreet, you know.’
While Sutcliffe did not discuss his crimes with Brown, he did talk about them at length with Brenda. 
He admitted to her he planned to kill 24-year-old street worker Olivia Reivers – a passenger in his car when police caught him in 1981 after discovering the number plates were stolen.
When Brenda asked him if he was going to kill Olivia, Sutcliffe replies: ‘Of course I was. That was the whole point.’

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Sutcliffe in prison van on way to the Old Bailey in London, May 1981 (left). He is pictured on the right in a video grab taken during his time in prison, where he was serving a full life term

In another tape, Sutcliffe speaks about attacking Tracy Browne. 
The killer reveals he would have killed Browne, who was 14 at the time, when he attacked her with a hammer in July 1975, in Silsden, near Keighley but that he heard a voice that told him not to, and left her for dead by the side of the road instead. 
He also admits to attacking Marcella Claxton in Leeds in 1976. Police did not believe Claxton was attacked by the Ripper at the time because she was not a prostitute. 
Speaking to Brenda, the murderer blamed his killing spree on an motorcycle accident he had in 1969, which he claimed left him unconscious for two days and led him to attacking the women. However this was disproved by a psychologist.  

A selection of newspaper front pages from January 5, 1981, the day Sutcliffe made his first appearance in court, where he was charged with 13 counts of murder

In the Channel 5 programme, Sutcliffe’s brother Carl, who’s never spoken about his relation with his brother in detail before, labelled the killer’s claims that ‘voices from God’ provoked his attacks as ‘utter rubbish’.
Sutcliffe was jailed for life at the Old Bailey in May 1981, before being moved to Broadmoor Hospital three years later after he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.  
He was transferred to HMP Frankland in 2016 after psychiatrists said he was stable enough for jail. He died in November 2020. 

One tape reveals Peter Sutcliffe (pictured above), who murdered at least 13 women in the 1970s and 1980s, planned to kill 24-year-old street worker Olivia Reivers – a passenger in his car when police caught him in 1981 after discovering the number plates were stolen

The Ripper Speaks: The Lost Tapes will air on Channel 5 at 10pm tomorrow. 

The Yorkshire Ripper’s reign of terror: A timeline of his murders

Photograph of Peter Sutcliffe an English serial killer who was dubbed the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ by the press

 Sutcliffe, who lived in Bradford, West Yorkshire, believed he was on a ‘mission from God’ to kill prostitutes, although not all his victims were.
His other victims, aged between 16 and 47, included two university students, a civil servant, a bank clerk and a supermarket worker.
Sutcliffe was dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper because he mutilated his victims using a screw driver, hammer and knife.
He was also convicted of seven counts of attempted murder in and around Yorkshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester.
Summer 1975: Peter Sutcliffe begins attacking women, two in Keighley and one in Halifax. All three survive and police do not link the attacks.
30 October 1975: Sutcliffe carries out his first fatal attack on Wilma McCann, a 28-year-old prostitute from the Chapeltown district of Leeds.
20 January 1976: He murders Emily Jackson, 42, from Leeds, battering her with a hammer and stabbing her with a screwdriver.
5 February 1977: He kills Irene Richardson, 28, another prostitute from Leeds.
23 April 1977: Sutcliffe strikes for the first time in his home town of Bradford, murdering 32-year-old Patricia Atkinson.
26 June 1977: The case comes to the attention of the national press after Sutcliffe murders Jayne MacDonald, a 16-year-old shop assistant. The murder, and the realisation that a serial killer is on the loose in Yorkshire, shocks the country.
The attacker is dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper by the press, and West Yorkshire Chief Constable Ronald Gregory appoints his most senior detective, Assistant Chief Constable George Oldfield, to investigate the murders.
1 October 1977: Sutcliffe chooses Manchester for his next attack – on Jean Jordan, 20. He dumps her body on an allotment and throws her bag, containing a brand new £5 note he gave her, into nearby shrubs.
Police find the bag and trace the serial number on the note back to the payroll of Yorkshire hauliers T and W H Clark, who employ Peter Sutcliffe.
Sutcliffe is interviewed by police but provides an alibi placing him at a party.
21 January to 16 May 1978: Sutcliffe murders three prostitutes – Yvonne Pearson, 21, from Bradford; Helen Rytka, 18, from Huddersfield, and 40-year-old Vera Millward from Manchester.
4 April 1979: Sutcliffe kills Halifax Building Society clerk Josephine Whitaker, 19.
June 1979: A tape is sent to police by a man calling himself Jack the Ripper, who has already sent a series of hand-written letters from Sunderland. Assistant Chief Constable Oldfield mistakenly decides that these are the work of the Ripper. Wearside Jack, as he becomes known, is pinpointed to the Castletown district of Sunderland by voice experts. Detectives are told they can discount suspects who do not have a Wearside accent.
July 1979: Police interview Sutcliffe for the fifth time. Detective Constables Andrew Laptew and Graham Greenwood are suspicious but their report is filed because his voice and handwriting do not fit the letters and tape.

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Officers carry out a fingertip search on an area of waste ground as part of the Ripper investigation in 1979. The probe dominated the nation’s consciousness for years 

2 September 1979: Sutcliffe murders Barbara Leach, 20, in Bradford.
2 October 1979: A £1million campaign is launched to catch the Yorkshire Ripper.
20 August 1980: The Ripper claims another victim, Marguerite Walls, 47, from Leeds, followed by Jacqueline Hill, 20, a Leeds University student, on November 17.
November 1980: Detective Chief Superintendent James Hobson replaces Oldfield. Hobson downgrades the importance of the Wearside Jack tape and letters.
3 January 1981: Sutcliffe admits he is the Yorkshire Ripper after police arrest him with a prostitute. Police admit the killer does not have a Wearside accent. 
22 May 1981: Sutcliffe is jailed for life at the Old Bailey. The judge recommends a minimum sentence of 30 years. He is transferred to Broadmoor secure hospital in Berkshire in 1984. 
21 March 2006: John Humble, a former builder, is sentenced to eight years in prison after he admits to being the Yorkshire Ripper hoaxer known as Wearside Jack.
1 June 2006: A report which has been kept secret for nearly 25 years reveals that Sutcliffe probably committed more crimes than the 13 murders and seven attempted murders for which he was convicted. 
April 2017: Sutcliffe is questioned by police officers over 17 unsolved cases that bear similarities to his past crimes. He is not being investigated over any murders and it is unknown which of the incidents police think are linked to the serial killer. 
May 2017: Sutcliffe is investigated over the murders of two women in Sweden. Detectives are said to have enquired about the murders of a 31-year-old woman found dead in Gothenburg in August 1980, and a 26-year-old woman found dead in Malmo a month later. Both bodies were found on building sites. 


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