Birdsall was with Sutcliffe at the time of the Smelt attack
Trevor Birdsall, Sutcliffe’s close friend who was in his car the night he assaulted Olive Smelt in Halifax and saw him tip a blood-stained stone from a sock. Birdsall read about the assault days later and in 1980 he wrote to the police naming Sutcliffe as the Ripper and later called personally to them. His information was not acted upon because the police were at that time certain that Sutcliffe was merely a copy cat killer and they were anxious to trap the real Ripper before arresting him as this action would mean massive publicity being focussed on this man with the result that the Ripper would know the game was up. Tracey was the man they were desperate to apprehend, more to be the heroes than anything. But he was in Ireland and they would have to wait for him to travel to the U.K. They wanted him with blood on his hands. They were watching him, waiting for him to move. Sutcliffe had to be left alone until after the Ripper’s expected arrest. Under any other circumstances Birdsall would have been arrested and charged with being an accomplice or an accessory to the crime. However when Sutcliffe staged his arrest in Sheffield on the 2nd of January 1980 events spiralled outside their control. The police did indeed take Birdsall’s information seriously but they already knew this and could not tell him, an accessory to a crime, their strategy. Birdsall may have been given obvious clues by Sutcliffe who wanted to be reported.