Patrick Lavelle Senior Lecturer


Telephone: (0191) 515 3463 


“THE arrest of a 49-year-old Sunderland man for the infamous Ripper hoax 26 years ago may surprise many people.
But it does not surprise the local journalist who has relentlessly pursued Wearside Jack for almost eight years. Former Echo news editor PATRICK LAVELLE gives the exclusive background to one of the most intriguing criminal mysteries Sunderland has ever known.”


This is the introduction to an article in the Sunderland Echo written by Patrick Lavelle and is the culmination of a witch hunt that he commenced with the publication of his book Wearside Jack which was his personal quest to identify the man who sent the letters to the police in 1978, letters that the police claimed were an elaborate hoax after they succeeded in convicting Peter Sutcliffe as the Yorkshire Ripper.

But Lavelle’s book was founded on a police lie and therefore it was destined to be forever just the speculation of an obsessive journalist.

Lavelle in his role as the News Editor of the Sunderland Echo has supplied several names of suspects to the police over the past several years and most of them have been checked out by the West Yorkshire police and eliminated. Now however he has led them to John Humble, a vulnerable alcoholic who lives on benefits in a council house.

Lavelle has tried to act in the role of the policeman instead of reporting the facts that come to him and by so doing he has been guilty of seriously misleading the public and perverting the course of justice himself. In fact it is Lavelle who should be in Armley Jail now instead of the innocent John Humble who is accused of perverting the course of justice by sending letters to the police in 1978.


Patrick Lavelle would be in the small group of writers along with Michael Bilton and David Yallop who have told so many lies about the Yorkshire Ripper story and distorted the evidence so much that they must keep spinning more lies in order to protect their own published works and so they go on to rubbish anyone such as myself who tries to put the record straight. In particular they deny that there was a copycat killer involved in the Ripper investigation and they cant face up to the evidence of the B blood group and Sutcliffe being O blood, and of course they dont seem to remember that Josephine Whittaker was bitten on the breast by the same teeth that bit Joan Harrison in Preston in 1975. They never seriously try to address just why Peter Sutcliffe was eliminated so many times. They have airbrushed all this evidence out of their works because it would completely undermine everything they have written. Needless to say they have only been too willing to spin the police line since Sutcliffe’s conviction and those lies are the foundation upon which their books are built.

I on the other hand, have direct involvement with the Yorkshire Ripper, having had the real Yorkshire Ripper in my employment in 1978 and 1979 and I travelled to Manchester to inform the Ripper squad more than a year before the lunatic copycat killer Peter Sutcliffe was arrested. I was the only person other than the real Ripper, Billy Tracey who knew that the police had framed this lunatic as the Ripper and I had no option only to write a book because the police wouldnt listen to me.

Patrick Lavelle, like those others writers, only had the published records and news articles prior to Sutcliffe’s arrest to go on and the police lies subsequent to that. He had no direct involvement in the Ripper investigation whatever.

A look through the archive of the Sunderland Echo will show how he became obsessive about identifying the mystery hoaxer.But the letters sent by the real Ripper Billy Tracey, which he posted in Sunderland were no hoax. The only hoax if any was that the police were fooled into thinking that because the letters were posted in Sunderland and the voice was a Geordie accent, that the author, whom they were certain was also the Ripper, lived in that area. That was the hoax and the hoaxer was the real Yorkshire Ripper, Billy Tracey who simply mimicked a Geordie accent for his taped message and posted his letters from Sunderland on one of his trips there.

Patrick Lavelle is now a lecturer in journalism in Sunderland university.


This is a follow up book to Patrick Lavelle’s first book titled Wearside Jack.



Patrick Lavelle and former Chief Constable Keith Hellawell in interview about the Yorkshire Ripper.

Neither of them had any direct involvement in the Yorkshire Ripper investigation.

Hellawell considered himself an expert on Peter Sutcliffe and he was the only policeman on record as visiting Sutcliffe in custody.

At that stage the public and many policemen and journalists had been brainwashed that Sutcliffe was the Yorkshire Ripper.

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