Where is Peter Sutcliffe now? | The Inside Story on the Yorkshire Ripper

What did Peter Sutcliffe do? 

Peter Sutcliffe stalked the streets of Yorkshire in the 1970s and 80s, killing a number of women and causing mass hysteria in the area, with women scared to go out at night on their own. He was dubbed The Yorkshire Ripper. Known to target sex workers, he would hit them over the head with a hammer and stab them repeatedly. 

How was Peter Sutcliffe caught? 

The police bungled the investigation into The Yorkshire Ripper from the beginning, and it took them nearly six years to arrest Peter Sutcliffe, despite interviewing him over 9 times in connection with the murders. 

On the 2nd January 1981, Sutcliffe was stopped by the police with 24-year-old sex worker, Olivia Reivers in Broomhill, Sheffield. The police constable who stopped him did a police check to discover that Sutcliffe’s car had false number plates, arrested him and took him to the station to be questioned. Due to his striking physical resemblance to the descriptions of the Ripper by surviving victims, he was questioned in relation to those crimes. 

One of the officers decided to return to where they arrested Sutcliffe, and found a knife, hammer and rope that he had discarded while he slipped away to urinate, having told the police he was desperate to go. 

Sutcliffe admitted to being The Yorkshire Ripper when faced with this evidence, and finally, women in the Yorkshire area could breathe a sigh of relief and return to normal life with the serial killer finally locked up. 

What happened during the trial? 

Sutcliffe was charged on 5th January 1981 with 13 counts of murder and 7 counts of attempted murder. His defence claimed he heard voices ordering him to kill sex workers while working as a gravedigger and claimed diminished responsibility. 

The trial lasted two weeks, and Sutcliffe was found guilty of murder on all counts and sentenced to life in prison. 

Where is Peter Sutcliffe now? 

Peter Sutcliffe died aged 74 on the 13th November, 2020, at the University Hospital of North Durham. He had a number of underlying health problems, including diabetes and obesity, and refused treatment for Covid-19, leading to his death. 

Before his death, he had been serving his life sentence at the maximum security hospital, Broadmoor, before being moved to HMP Frankland in the final years of his life. 

ITV is currently showing a new 8-part drama series about the Yorkshire Ripper case, titled The Long Shadow, which focuses on the victims in the case and the botched police investigation. 

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