Preston Connection




Joan Harrison was a poor vulnerable single girl who was murdered by being kicked to death in a disused garage near the centre of Preston on the 20 November 1975.

She had been sexually assaulted to such an extent that semen was found both in her rectum and her vagina. Her killer also bit her deeply on her left breast and stole her jewellery. He ritually placed some of her clothing and shoes in positions which were to be repeated in later murders in Yorkshire. Semen revealed that the killer was of the rare B blood group and was a secretor, that is, one whose semen saliva etc also reveal the blood group. This was a rare individual. One in sixteen people or 6% of all suspects. It was also the key to the police efforts to identify and eliminate suspects. On average 94% of suspects would be outside the frame. The police were confident of identifying him because of the circumstances and the way Joan’s purse and handbag were discarded at intervals as her killer walked away from the scene. Unlike many of the later Ripper victims in West Yorkshire, Joan was not a soliciting prostitute looking for motoring punters from the sidewalk. For all these reasons the police were looking for a local man who was not a motorist.

The killer left a deep bite on Joan’s left breast showing the track of his teeth revealing a distinct gap of almost one inch between the top front teeth. This bite mark was his signature and if ever apprehended this rare combination of clues was powerful and conclusive evidence to positively identify the culprit. Her purse was found under a hedge a short distance away indicating her killer was on foot and dumped it as he went.

A massive house to house dragnet was carried out in Preston and every man was asked to spit into a small glass jar so the police could observe his teeth as he spat. Suspects with any gap or dentures had their saliva tested. Thousands were asked to cooperate.

Nobody was told the reason for the spit but it was a ploy to observe the person’s teeth.

The search was confined to Preston which Billy Tracey had visited for the day probably accompanied by his wife, who may have been left waiting in a cinema. The Lancashire police regarded this murder as a challenge to them and for this reason they did not want it publicly associated with the growing toll of murders in West Yorkshire. They wanted to get their man. With the Ripper murder of Irene Richardson in Leeds in February 1977 came the first clues that Joan Harrison was killed by the same person. Both were poor girls, neither was a soliciting prostitute, but vulnerable to being propositioned for cash by a clever man who could spot their weakness. Both were violently murdered. Harrison was robbed of her bits of jewellery as was Wilma McCann of her money. Both Harrison and Richardson were obscenely sexually assaulted. The police never spelt out the exact facts in the Richardson case, but because she was in her period and one leg had been removed from her tights it may have been buggery. Both victims had their boots repositioned and draped over their legs. Both bodies were covered by their coats. The notable difference was that the killer didnt use a hammer or a blade in Harrison’s case. This may not have been premeditated in the way the later murders were, as the pattern emerged.

It was a hall mark of all the Ripper murders that the killer was a smooth talker who could entice his victim into a dark place on some pretext before turning on them without warning.

Joan Harrison was conned by the smooth talking Tracey into entering an empty garage with him. He probably persuaded her to masturbate him for ten pounds or so. The speed, joking and confidence with which Tracey could do this would have to be seen to be believed. I witnessed this performance several times with total strangers who would be taken in so quickly. It was like a piece of magic.


Wilma McCann had been murdered in Leeds three weeks earlier by Billy Tracey and traces of B secretor semen were found on her in addition to the ritual rearrangement of her clothing and body. She had also been robbed. Despite the fact that two months later there would be three more murders in Leeds which initiated the Ripper hunt, and there would be an additional five murders in West Yorkshire, all of which would be immediately linked to the Ripper; it was not until September 1978 that the West Yorkshire police included the Preston murder publicly in the Ripper frame. This was done because of information sent by letters, posted in Sunderland to George Oldfield by the man police then believed was the Ripper. The paper bore his deliberate teeth imprints identical to those found on Joan Harrisons breast and the saliva traces confirmed the writer to be B secretor blood group.The author, Billy Tracey, signed the letter with his teeth.

A third letter sent on 23rd March 1979 promised another murder. The last murder had been almost one year earlier. Little more than one week after posting his letter, the respectable Building Society clerk Josephine Whittaker was murdered in Halifax by the Ripper. He bit her deeply on the left breast to authenticate his letters. The bite mark was identical to the one on Joan Harrison’s breast in Preston and also on the letter.

Had this bite mark been different there is no way the two murders could have been in the same frame. There they remained until Sutcliffe’s arrest and elimination by the Lancashire police, who would not wear his confessions. At that time Sutcliffe was willing to admit to anything just to get the deal for the mental home and no trial.

(above) Extract from Sunday Times analysis after the Jacqueline Hill murder in November 1980

Coincidentally, Sutcliffe has a gap between his top front teeth but it is very small, about one eighth of an inch, and his teeth dont match the bite marks which were made by the Ripper with very irregular teeth and a large gap in the top front indicating two missing teeth. The police never commented on the teeth pattern before or after his arrest except to vent their anger at that time with the magazine who published minimal details about the gap. Never dreaming for a moment that the police were covering up a huge blunder with Sutcliffe’s confessions, this led to speculation such as was reported in the Sunday Times article above. From the Whittaker murder onwards the police were certain that the letter writer was the Ripper and they redoubled their efforts to trace him.

Meanwhile, Sutcliffe, the disturbed Copy Cat killer, who believed he was the Ripper, was being eliminated because he was O blood group and did not have the big gap in his teeth. It was an easy matter for the police to eliminate Ripper suspects and thousands were eliminated on these factors, as was every man in Preston who was asked to cooperate

Generally the newspapers gave the police full cooperation and only published what they asked. It is a measure of what the police thought of the public when they didnt state publicly that they were looking for a man with a large gap in his top front teeth.The thousands of suspects and fears of relatives and friends of suspects could have been averted if they had done so. In addition the killer may have been identified earlier. However the potential fame of getting their hands on this easily identifiable killer was evidently more important for them and so the public were kept in the dark, and as the murders escalated so did the prospective fame of the Sherlock Holmes’ of West Yorkshire who confidently expected to apprehend this murderer who had given them everything about himself except his name and fingerprints as he clearly taunted them both with the murders and his letters and taped message.

Finally in January 1981 Sutcliffe was arrested in Sheffield. The South Yorkshire police did not know these vital points of evidence. The West Yorkshire police confidently expected to capture the real Ripper and wanted to retain the glory. Sutcliffe, the copycat killer’s instant confessions upset their plans and a media euphoria, compounded by police tactical blunders, panicked them into a deal with him, which included a place in a secure mental home, with no trial and parole in 10 years. The case was to be closed without a trial with the aid of Sutcliffe’s confessions supported by four eminent psychiatrists who would give evidence that he was indeed a mental case.

After he was charged with the murder of Jacqueline Hill and when the massive publicity on the arrest of the Ripper broke out, detective Frank Gardner of Preston CID and another, went to West Yorkshire to interview Sutcliffe in relation to their Preston murder. They took one look at his teeth, confirmed he was O blood group and baulked at cooperating with Dick Holland who had secured Sutcliffe’s confessions to anything he wanted, as he conspired to close the whole file. The Preston murder was ruled out.The Lancashire constabulary would not accept it. There was a lot of police argument acrimony and infighting because of this but this was lost in the euphoric reporting of the trial and the sheer relief of having caught the Yorkshire Ripper.

This Preston murder is still officially an open case but nobody ever had the will to interview Billy Tracey, who had served time in Preston prison years earlier, and knew his victim as indeed he knew other victims in West Yorkshire. Joan had been up in court a short time earlier and indeed it is possible that Billy Tracey met her there as he frequented the courts as a spectator of theatre, where peoples vulnerabilities, records, names and addresses are exposed for all to see and hear.

The West Yorkshire police had Joan Harrison in the Ripper frame through 1979 and 1980 until the arrest of Sutcliffe, whose confessions, and Lancashire’s unwillingness to conspire to a cover up, forced them to change the goal posts. The strong links with the murder of Irene Richardson and the bite marks identical to those on Josephine Whittaker, coming days after including Joan Harrison in his count when he wrote to George Oldfield, ensured that all three killings were in the same frame.

The conclusion is crystal clear.

If Sutcliffe did not kill Joan Harrison then he did not kill Richardson or Whittaker.

The Barbara Leach murder was closely linked to the Josephine Whittaker murder by the three cornered file used to stab both victims repeatedly within the vagina. The Richardson murder was linked to the Jackson, Atkinson and Millward murders at least by the ripping open of the hammered victims stomachs with the claws of the hammer. The Jayne Mcdonald and Helen Rytka murders were linked with these by the hammer blows and the repeated internal stabbing. All the murders in the Ripper frame at the time of Sutcliffe’s arrest were also linked by the sheer level of brutality and the repositioning of the victims bodies and clothing so that there was no doubt that it was the Ripper again. These 10 murders were clearly committed by one individual and there were two more, that of Jean Jordan and Yvonne Pearson, included in the Ripper frame as a result of the Ripper’s letters and taped message. These were in a “grey area” as Oldfield stated. Apprehending the copy cat was a peripheral objective of the police. They were concentrating on the main man. After Sutcliffe’s arrest and being cheated of their real quarry, they brought all Sutcliffe’s crimes into the Ripper frame as they attempted to cover up the whole sorry failed public relations exercise, and brokered a plea bargain deal with the mentally disturbed Sutcliffe.

Sutcliffe would have confessed to anything at that time as he was getting leniency the more he confessed to. A deal had been done in return for a place in a secure home. Sutcliffe did not want a trial.

Detective Chief Superintendant Wilf Brooks criticised the West Yorkshire police for ignoring valuable information supplied in 1979. This was a reference to my tip-off to the West Yorks police which they fouled up.



In January 2001 I placed an advert for my book in the Lancashire Evening Post and they were interested in my allegations and printed this story.


Sat, Jan 20, 2001

I know who really killed Joan Harrison…’ By David Powles Lancashire Evening Post

The killer of a Preston mother-of-three is a regular visitor to this area and could be responsible for a string of other murders, it was claimed today.

Ireland-based author Noel O’Gara claims to have evidence to prove who was responsible for the brutal murder of Joan Harrison in 1975.

He has accused Lancashire police, who have spent 25 years probing the crime, of snubbing his evidence. But senior officers today dismissed his claims as nothing new.

He said he had decided to break his silence to demand the police consider his evidence.

He said: “I have proof of the person who was responsible for this dreadful murder. Why Lancashire police do not want to listen, I don’t know. Their complete disregard of my evidence is an absolute disgrace.”

Mrs Harrison’s battered body was found in a disused garage in Berwick Road, Avenham, on November 20 1975. The 26-year-old mother had been savagely beaten to death and a bite mark had been left on one of her breasts.

Originally, Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper who was convicted of murdering 13 women, was believed to be responsible.

However, forensic evidence proved otherwise and Joan’s murder has remained unsolved.

But according to Mr O Gara, who has spent years studying the case and who has now published his findings on the Internet, his evidence proves the real Ripper was not Peter Sutcliffe.

Although he admits Sutcliffe carried out some of the killings, he claims the real Ripper and the murderer of Mrs Harrison is the person he names.

Speaking from his home in Athlone, he said: “The evidence is there to find the killer.

“Until he is caught and charged he is free to kill again and, for all we know, he may have already done so.”

For legal reasons the name of the man he points the finger at cannot be published but Mr O’Gara claims he is well known to the area and has family in Lancashire.

He is also believed to have spent years in Preston Prison and grew up near the town.

Det Supt Graham Gooch, of Lancashire Police, today confirmed he and his officers had looked at the website but said they had found no fresh information.

He said: “This is not the first time that authors have propounded their own theories on this case as fact. We have been reviewing this case since 1997 but have found no evidence to link any of the suspects suggested by authors to the offence. We will continue to look at the case and would keep the public informed of any development.”



On Wednesday 24th January 2001 I phoned Lancashire police headquarters at 01772 614444 and asked to speak to Det.Inspector Graham Gooch. Chief Inspector Kellett answered the call and said Mr Gooch was off duty until Friday. I requested him to ask Mr Gooch to call me. He asked what it was about and I said I know the killer of Joan Mary Harrison in Preston in 1975. He said he would pass on the message immediately.

Friday afternoon I called again and got through to Superintendant Graham Gooch. I asked him what did he know about me. He said he “read my website and many writers make all sorts of assumptions. It happens frequently”.

I said I am not a writer or a journalist. I asked him a few points in the site relating to the Preston murder and it was clear to me that he hadn’t briefed himself on it in any meaningful way.

He admitted that he did not work on the Harrison investigation and says he was drafted in from an outside police force. He asked me what evidence I had about the Harrison murder. I referred him to the killers blood group and teeth marks.

I told him Tracey took jewellery from the victim and sold it in a pawn shop in Manchester. That he also told me he” buggered that shitbag in Preston.”

I said I would like to meet him as he is not fully briefed on my allegations and has dismissed them to a reporter without knowing what he was talking about. He repeated his question “what evidence have you got?” a few times and I repeated that this is no way to proceed.

I would meet him. He asked where is Tracey now and I said probably in Yorkshire or maybe even Lancashire. I said “you are a foolish man for dismissing my story so lightly, the people of Preston would not thank you for it.”

He said if you wont tell me the evidence you have then there is no point in talking and he put the phone down.

Graham Gooch

Since the frame up of John Humble, Graham Gooch, now a county councillor, is shoring up the police cover up by now suggesting that the B secretor blood group could be wrong from the start. This ex policeman is now a lecturer in the university of Lancashire. He has belatedly attempted to move the pivotal goal post which was a central part of the whole Yorkshire Ripper investigation. This policeman refused to meet me in 2001 to discuss the evidence I told him I possessed and now he is a lecturer in policing and crime in a university. The Ripper has really stood everything on its head. Apparently Gooch left the police force later that same year to lecture on crime and write books on law.



Since this website was made it has succeeded in raising awareness of the incredible stitch up of Peter Sutcliffe as the Yorkshire Ripper and it became a priority of the police to close off the few glaring loopholes in the case against Sutcliffe. They were the matter of the author of the letters and tape with the Geordie voice which were stated to be a hoax by police smarting with indignation on being asked ackward questions after the trial of Sutcliffe.  Questioned about his blood group George Oldfield replied that he was B blood because they had revealed in the course of the investigation that the Ripper was B blood but that he was a secretor or a person who secretes his blood cells in bodily fluids such as semen and saliva. In that way they knew the Ripper was B secretor. However Sutcliffe was not a secretor and indeed he was really O blood group but the lies had to keep coming to allay the suspicions of the few journalists who asked questions.

As the internet gathered pace and the pressure on the police mounted that Sutcliffe was a copycat killer, an oppertunity to finally close off the hoaxer embarrassment came with the fingering of a drunken misfit from the North East named John Humble. Humble had stabbed his brother Harry in their terraced house in Sunderland in a drunken rage. Harry was rushed to hospital and almost died were it not for his sisters quick action in calling for help. A local journalist Patrick Lavelle who had been editor of the Sunderland Echo and had written two books about the fictional Wearside Jack and spent many years trying to find the elusive hoaxer got to know about Humble’s murderous assault and he reported him to the West Yorkshire police as a possible hoaxer suspect. The assault was not going to be prosecuted by the local police because the family didnt pursue it or report it due to their fear of their brother’s unpredictable temper. Lavelle had suggested several other suspects to the police over the years without success. By this time they needed to ‘solve’ the hoaxer.

John Humble ticked some of the boxes needed to solve the hoaxer case for the West Yorkshire police. He was the right age, a Geordie, and had a hatred of police. He had no family support and indeed the family were delighted to be rid of him. He was arrested in a blaze of publicity that they had nailed the  Ripper hoaxer and the Sunderland Echo led the charge with headlines ahead of all the national media.  Humble was convicted by the publicity before he even had a chance to sober up. Headlines proclaimed that the hoaxer was finally identified. They said they had matched his dna to the dna on the letters sent to the police. Arrested and held without bail, Humble had no defence to that false claim and expert witnesses would be well out of his reach as he had no resources and no friends. He protested his innocence initially but with the promise of a short term in jail if he cooperated against the threat of a much longer one for the attempted murder of his brother combined with all the innuendo of the hoaxer publicity and the fact that no jury would believe him in the face of police claims that his dna matched the Geordie hoaxer’s dna and he buckled and cooperated. He didnt have a trial because he pleaded guilty in a deal. The judge didnt honour this police promise and he was sentenced to eight years in jail. He appealed against the sentence but was blocked by the system. In short he was conned into saying that he was the hoaxer and at the present time he has served his sentence but is nowhere to be found. His blood group would prove that he was framed so he has to be hidden away for the rest of his life.

The other major landmine in the case against Sutcliffe was the Preston murder and this was finally solved in 2011 when the police found another sticking plaster to cover it over. This lay in a written deathbed confession to an unnamed crime by a deceased criminal named Christopher Smith. This BBC report explains the Joan Harrison murder official solution and it contains a series of lies that dont fit the facts and are an insult to Joan Harrison, to the victims of the Ripper, to the people of Preston and every right thinking citizen in England.

As can be seen, they have changed the goalposts. How could the West Yorkshire police have included the Preston murder with the Ripper murders if there was nothing more than the references in the letters from Sunderland linking them? They have airbrushed out the bite marks on the left breast of two victims and the other links in the positioning of the bodies and clothes. They have ignored the fact that if Humble really wrote those letters he would need to have the rare B secretor blood group.  The police never revealed his blood group preferring to say they found his dna on the letters. They also ignore the facts that the letters were reported to have been destroyed or lost some years earlier. Now miraculously they said they found a tiny speck of the envelope that yielded a dna sample but it was too small to be independently verified. One can only wonder how that tiny speck of paper was labeled and stored and why a speck was retained and recorded. I, for one, say its a blatant lie and thats the evidence they used to blackmail Humble.

The alleged and completely unsupported confession to the Preston murder by Christopher Smith is a criminal fabrication and a deceit by corrupt officials anxious to hide their own failure.

The use of fake or fabricated claims of dna enables corrupt police to solve any case that causes them difficulty and needs to be resolved in order to satisfy the public. This is just such a case.

This quote is the public face of a blatant and fraudulent lie and shows that the CPS officials are in collusion with senior police to criminally cover up their failures. This decision to bring charges against Smith, were he alive, calls their judgment and credibility into question and proves they havent examined the evidence connecting the murder of Joan Harrison to the other Ripper victims and have colluded in the cover up of murder. This blatant cover up calls their credibility into question and undermines them completely.

Det Ch Supt Graham Gardner

”Det Ch Supt Gardner added: “It is with some regret that Smith is not still alive to stand trial for his crime. One can only try to imagine the sadness endured by Joan’s family over the years and I truly hope this development will finally bring some closure surrounding their tragic loss.”

John Dilworth, head of CPS Lancashire and Cumbria Complex Casework Unit, said: “In considering cases, the CPS has to decide if there is a realistic prospect of conviction and whether it is in the public interest for a prosecution to begin. Only after trial does a jury decide whether a person is guilty or not, on a higher standard of proof – beyond reasonable doubt.

“I have reviewed the evidence carefully and I have advised Lancashire Police that this recent development in their investigation has now revealed evidence that would have been sufficient to prosecute Christopher Smith, if he were alive. We cannot prejudge the outcome of a trial. However, had Mr Smith lived, my decision would have authorised the police to begin the legal process by charging him.”

The quote is taken from this report



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