Peter William Sutcliffe (born 2 June 1946) is a British serial killer who was dubbed “The Yorkshire Ripper”. In 1981 Sutcliffe was convicted of murdering 13 women and attacking seven others. He is currently serving 20 sentences of life imprisonment in Broadmoor Hospital. After his conviction, Peter Sutcliffe began using his mother’s maiden name and became known as Peter William Coonan. A High Court ruling rejected an appeal in 2010, confirming that he would serve a whole life tariff and would never be released from imprisonment.
Peter Sutcliffe was born in Bingley, to a working-class Catholic family in West Riding of Yorkshire, a son of John Sutcliffe (11 December 1922 – June 2004) and Kathleen Frances Sutcliffe (née Coonan, 22 January 1919 – 1978). Reportedly a loner at school, he left at the age of 15 and took a series of menial jobs, including two stints as a gravedigger during the 1960s. Between November 1971 and April 1973 Sutcliffe worked at the factory of Baird Television Ltd, on the packaging line. He left when he was asked to go on the road as a salesman.
After leaving Baird, he worked nightshifts at the Britannia Works of Anderton International from April 1973. In February 1975 he took redundancy, used the pay-off to gain an HGV licence on 4 June 1975 and began working as a driver for a tyre firm on 29 September of that year. On 5 March 1976 he was dismissed for the theft of used tyres. He was unemployed until October 1976, when he found another job as an HGV driver for T & WH Clark (Holdings Ltd.) on the Canal Road Industrial Estate in Bradford. Sutcliffe frequently used prostitutes as a young man and it has been speculated that a bad experience with one during which he was believed to have been conned out of money, helped fuel his violent hatred of women.
He first met Sonia Szurma on 14 February 1967; they married on 10 August 1974. His wife suffered several miscarriages over the following few years and the couple were subsequently informed that she would not be able to have children. Shortly after this, she resumed a teacher training course. When she completed the course in 1977 and began teaching, the couple used the salary from her job to buy their first house in Heaton, Bradford, where they moved on 26 September 1977, and where they were still living at the time of Sutcliffe’s arrest.
Peter Sutcliffe – Murder victims
Peter Sutcliffe was convicted of murdering the following 13 victims:
|Date||Name of victim||Age at death||Body found at the location|
|30 October 1975||Wilma McCann||28||Prince Phillip Playing Fields, Leeds
|20 January 1976||Emily Jackson||42||Manor Street, Sheepscar, Leeds
|5 February 1977||Irene Richardson||28||Roundhay Park, Leeds
|23 April 1977||Tina Atkinson||32||Flat 3, 9 Oak Avenue, Bradford
|26 June 1977||Jayne MacDonald||16||Adventure playground, Reginald Street, Leeds
|1 October 1977||Jean Jordan||20||Allotments next to Southern Cemetery, Manchester
|21 January 1978||Yvonne Pearson||21||Under a discarded sofa on waste ground off Arthington Street, Bradford
|31 January 1978||Helen Rytka||18||Timber yard in Great Northern Street, Huddersfield
|16 May 1978||Vera Millward||40||Grounds of Manchester Royal Infirmary
|4 April 1979||Josephine Whitaker||19||Savile Park, Halifax
|2 September 1979||Barbara Leach||20||Back of 13 Ash Grove, Bradford
|20 August 1980||Margo Walls||37||Garden of a house called “Claremont”, New Street, Farsley, Leeds
|17 November 1980||Jacqueline Hill||20||Waste ground off Alma Road, Headingley, Leeds
“BBC News – Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe loses life tariff case”. bbc.co.uk. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
“Yorkshire Ripper To Remain Locked Up For Life”. Sky News (BskyB). 14 January 2011. Retrieved 16 January 2011.
“Peter Sutcliffe: The Yorkshire Ripper – Famous Criminal”, Crime And Investigation Network