No. 1 Suspect

The No1 Suspect


Two weeks after Emily Jackson’s murder, her friend Maria Sellars gave the police a description of the man she saw with Emily. He was an Irishman, known as a regular punter in the area. He was aged 30/40. He was of fat build. He had a full beard, unshaped and bushy with bushy eyebrows. His eyes were almost closed. He had a round nose. He had very distinctive burnlike scars. He was tatooed on his arms. He wore 2 large gold rings. His clothes were dusty like a building worker. He was known to other prostitutes in the area.


The Stocky Bearded Irishman.
At 10.15pm on the 23rd April 1977 Tina Atkinson, who was drunk was propositioned by Billy Tracey outside the Carlisle pub in Lumb Lane Bradford . Tracey had come to a known prostitute haunt to commit another murder. The streets were quiet and people were drunk. It was Saturday night, and the pubs were full.



Tracey walked with her a short distance to her flat where he bludgeoned her when she stepped through the door. Her pimp found the body when she had’nt returned to the job. . The stocky bearded man was noticed with Tina by an eyewittness ,probably her pimp, and he gave a description to the police. Within 2 days Chief Superintendant John Domaille had issued a bulletin to all police stations looking for the well described stocky bearded Irishman.


This is a page from David Yallop’s book

His identikit photo was published in all the papers but Tracey was back in Ireland and nobody thought to look in Ireland for the Irishman.

2 month later on the 25th June ,again at 10.30pm on Saturday night, Tracey came to Leeds from his home in Ireland. He had picked the place and the time. He was seen hanging around the Hayfield pub in Chapletown Road, a pub frequented by prostitutes and their pimps. However because of their fears of him the girls were working in pairs and their pimps were keeping a sharper eye on them. He couldn’t get one alone and as it was approaching midnight Tracey , always an opportunist seized his chance when the innocent Jayne MacDonald took a short cut through the Hayfield car park on her way home. He probably asked her for directions and when she turned her head she was struck senseless. He dragged her into the adjacent playground where he got down to the serious business that he had come to do. He then took a taxi to the city centre and another one on to Manchester where he took a pre arranged guest house for the night, before returning to Dublin the next day and home, to be on the job on Monday morning.

This time George Oldfield was in charge. Again the stocky bearded man was reported seen in the vicinity . There was no doubt that it was a Ripper murder. Oldfield again redoubled his efforts to trace the stocky bearded Irishman, with the rings tatooes and scars. He later stated that they never traced this man.




Billy Tracey, the stocky bearded Irishman who was the number one suspect, embarked on a plan to divert the police from the Irish angle by the simple ploy of writing to the policeman who led the hunt for him. Naturally he wouldnt post his letters from his home town Clara in Ireland.

He simply posted his letters in Sunderland in the North East of England. He gave them confidential information that would be known only to the Ripper and to the police and that is why they believed the letters were from the Ripper. To ensure that the police would not regard his first letter as a hoax he included the Preston murder in his count by reminding them about it in that way and bringing it into the Ripper frame. This murder was not publicly associated with the growing count of the Rippers murders and only the police and the killer knew the linking factors that he alone had made to his victims and that convinced the police that he was not a hoaxer.

They found saliva on the stamp to show that he was the rare one in sixteen B blood group which matched the blood group on semen and saliva found on some of his victims.

His motive was not just to divert them from the Irish angle but also to divert them on to his copycat by including the copycat’s murder of Jean Jordan committed by Peter Sutcliffe, in his count. At that time he didnt know Sutcliffe, but he alone knew that there was a copycat killer out there.  In the first two letters he referred to a ‘close call’ in Huddersfield, a fact known only to the police and himself. Also he promised another murder ‘in Manchester again’ and of ‘an older whore’ and he delivered on these promises by killing the 42 year old Vera Millward in Manchester. That precipitated the police decision to include the earlier Manchester murder of Jean Jordan in the official Ripper frame.

Once that was reported, he knew that he had the police believing that he was from Sunderland, then his next move was to follow up with a third letter promising to kill again and he did so just a few weeks later. Then he sent a taped cassette message and this time he mimiced a Geordie accent. That was no problem for Billy Tracey who was a very competent mimic of any accent and he had served twelve years in jails rubbing shoulders with Geordies, Londoners, Scots, Welsh and English prisoners. His mimicing of accents had to be heard to be believed.

Slowly the Irish suspect drifted into the background as the focus centered on the North East and the police photofit pictures of Sutcliffe provided by victims of his assaults moved centre stage.

The police made the major blunder of believing that the letter writer lived in Sunderland and posted his letters in his own home town. They took him for a fool not suspecting that Sunderland was just a diversionary tactic by a cunning and manipulative evil murderer who was getting at the police.

In September 1980 the New Statesman magazine released information about the Ripper’s teeth gap that angered the police.

 The Irish suspect, in the top left corner can be seen fading into the back of the page.

However these facts remain.

The stocky bearded tatooed scarred Irishman had to be somewhere and I was the unfortunate person who had him in my employ in Ireland in 1979 and worse still I chanced to read that Ripper article in the Sunday Telegraph and tumbled to his secret . This revelation set in train a chain of events which are still ongoing. Had I been wrong ,nobody would have been more relieved to be proved wrong. All the evidence that subsequently came to light merely served to demonstrate and prove beyond any shadow of doubt that it was correct. The burden of this knowledge was a great weight and when it became apparent that, like in the Stefan Kiszko case, the Judith Ward case, the Birmingham 6 and numerous other miscarriages of justice, the police would not intervene, I decided to publish the information I had.

Terry Hawkshaw from Drighlington, near Bradford became a serious suspect. He was a taxi man and had carried some of these prostitutes in his cab. He fitted the description of the Irish suspect except he was an Englishman. Hawkshaw had a large gap betweenhis top front teeth and he was the rare B secretor blood group. Hawkshaw was the nearest thing to Tracey in Yorkshire. George Oldfield almost had him convinced that he was the Ripper without himself even knowing it. Fortunately for him he had a solid alibi on the night of Helen Rytka’s murder in Huddersfield and he was eliminated then.





When I read the Sunday Telegraph article about the Ripper in November 1979, the article that was to awaken me to Tracey’s secret, I knew nothing of an Irish suspect in 1976 and 1977. Much less did I know that they were looking for an Irishman who resembled Billy Tracey to a tee. Had I known about this Irish suspect I would have been much more positive in my dealings with the police but I let it run and witnessed the way they wound up with Sutcliffe and their performance. After Sutcliffe’s Court case, David Yallop’s book outlined the Irish suspect, which was the first I knew of this matter, eighteen months after I made the breakthrough. This was highly significant confirming evidence. This evidence reinforced my conviction and I knew then that I could put the story together so that an intelligent person could see what happened if they studied the case. It was an unbelievable and bizarre story but Tracey was just that, an unbelievable and bizarre individual.

. Now with hindsight we can compare Tracey with the evidence and look at the statistics of probability.

The odds against this happening must surely be millions if not billions to one.Those odds made it all the more difficult to get this story across.

This well described Irishman was the last person seen with 2 victims and he was seen at the scene of the McDonald murder. Clearly he had to be traced.

Ireland has under 4 million citizens in all. Even if there were 10,000 Irishmen who looked like the bearded man and were stocky or fat and in the age group of 35 to 50 how many of them would be tatooed?, Say 10% and we are down to 1000 tatooed stocky bearded men resembling the photofit.

How many of these 10,000 Irishmen would have a long criminal record for violent sex related crime the length and breadth of England, a foreign country?



Of the club of 1000 how many of these would have obvious burn like scars on their hands or arms ? Perhaps 10 but even if it was ten times ten, say 100 we are down to 100 stocky bearded Irishmen resembling the photofit who also have tatooes and burn like scars. Tracey had a large burn like scar on both arms which he sustained whensomeone tried to shoot him in London. They can be seen on the site photo.He also had two more similar scars on his neck which are concealed by the beard and are also bullet wounds. Maria Sellars thought the suspect had scars on his face also.



How many of this group would have a large gap in their top front teeth ? Tracey has all these so far. Lets assume we have 10 suspects in the room. How many of these arerecorded aggressive psychopaths in the U.K.? Tracey is.

The Ripper was obviously a sex fiend. How many of these suspects are sex maniacs ? Tracey is known as one.


How many served 12 years in English maximum security prisons ?

How many Irishmen were deported from England 4 times ? I have the evidence that puts this deportee back in the murder area within days of the last Ripper murder. What was his business there ?

How many of these Irishmen would make an unprovoked attack on his own nephewby luring him first to his home and then striking him hard with a hammer on the back of the head before wittnesses restrained him,and this shortly before the arrest of Peter Sutcliffe ? Not many, but Billy Tracey did.

How many have the rare B secretor blood group ? Tracey has.

How many of these Irish suspects was married to a convicted prostitute with a record in the U.K ?

How many of these stocky bearded Irishmen served time in Preston , Durham and Manchester jails ? Tracey did.

How many of these Irish suspects have a record of at least 50 different assaults of all kinds on policemen and prison officers in the U.K ? Tracey has.

How many send postcards and letters to the police ? I saw him myself sending mail to policemen.


Tracey on holiday.

How many Irishmen of any description had written to complain to the West Yorkshire police about an alleged swindle in Leeds at that time,or at any time ever and received a reply and apology from the Chief Constable ? Not many but Billy Tracey did. He enjoyed showing the letter to his acquaintances.


How many admitted themselves into a mental hospital as a contingency plan while Sutcliffe was on remand and before the charges for 13 murders were laid against him ?


I could go on and on with more evidence pointing the finger at Tracey. He fits the Ripper frame and it defies all reason that based on his criminal record alone, he was not high on the list of suspects even if he was never described by so many wittnesses. The Ripper’s motive of winding up the police was always known to them but they never admitted this but rather suggested that the Ripper was a man who hated prostitutes. Nothing could be further from the truth. He hated the police intensely and was forever preoccupied with them and feeding them with false information, in Ireland,as well as in England. This was his life. It would be impossible to find another Irishman who had a record like Tracey’s in the UK at that time. It would be impossible for me, the author, to concoct such a litany of telling evidence against any man without inviting a libel action. No libel was ever threatened because the facts outlined were true. The evidence fits the man.

Was there another stocky, fat, tatooed, bearded, scarred sex maniac with a big gap between his top teeth and B blood group Irishman, who had associations with Preston, Manchester and West Yorkshire, alive at that time? A man who also wrote to the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire and who used a hammer on his nephew’s head before going into the mental home voluntarily only days before Peter Sutcliffe was charged with all the Ripper murders but one. A man who was a violent pimp and who was a recorded agressive psychopath in the UK prison system.A well described man seen at the scene of three of the murders and never traced. All these and much more show Billy Tracey as that unique individual who alone fits the frame.

With Tracey in the frame everything fits. Nobody else could fit it. It is unique. With Sutcliffe in the frame nothing fits and his conviction was based on his confessions alone ,with a constabulary compromised by their own tactical blunders offering him leniency for these confessions.




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