Peter Sutcliffe was a quiet, loner from the very start. He was smaller, weaker and shy. He didn’t play well with others.
He was born into a blue collar family and was raised Catholic. He developed a growing obsession over the years with voyeurism and spent a lot of time spying on the ‘working girls’ in his neighborhood. He left school at 15 years old. After a ton of menial jobs, most of which he was fired from, he became a a truck driver.
He met his future wife in 1967 and they eventually married in 1974. She was unable to carry to term, so the couple never had children. She began a teacher training course and upon beginning her teaching career, the couple finally bought their own house.
Two years after meeting his wife, Peter attached a prostitute, hitting her in the head from behind with a brick in a sock, that he would later state tricked him out of money.
Peter confessed, when asked about the incident, but due to the fact that the woman was not willing to take any further action against him, he was simply given a warning. His only friend, Trevor Birdsall, was disturbed by the violent action Peter had displayed, but let the incident pass and the two remained friends. In the end, however, Trevor would be a person who dropped hints to the authorities that he suspected Peter of being the Yorkshire Ripper. No one would take him serious.
One year after getting married, Peter struck again. This time he attacked a woman walking alone, this time hitting her in the head from behind with a ball-peen hammer. He rolled her over, lifted her blouse and slashed away at her stomach. He was interrupted by a neighbor, disturbed by a noise outside, that he’d come out to investigate. Peter fled, leaving the woman dying in the alley way. She somehow survived.
Another would survive as well in August of the same year. Thanks to an approaching car, Peter’s third victim, which he had struck in the exact same fashion, would live to tell her story. The next woman however would not be so lucky. In October, he smashed in the head of a young mother of four and stabbed her 15 times.
Shy Peter Sutcliffe was coming out of his shell.
In 1976, he came on with a vengeance. He hit his next victim from behind, with the hammer as always, knocking her unconscious and then, using a screwdriver this time, stabbed her body 51 times. He then stomped repeatedly on her limbs.
Next would come the one that got away. After picking up a woman, who was walking home from a party, Peter stopped the car when she said she had to pee. She got out of the car and as she squatted to pee, Peter smashed her in the head with the hammer and left her laying on the side of the road for dead. She wasn’t and she would live to testify against him at his trials.
1977 didn’t get a break from Peter Sutcliffe either. It was full steam ahead and he murdered 5 more times. All beat in the head with a hammer and all mutilated by multiple stabbings to their bodies.
In December Peter attacked yet another prostitute. She too would survive.
But 1978 would be a bit different. Peter would only strike three more times and then he would simply disappear. A full year would pass before he would rear his ugly head again.
On September 1st, Peter murdered again. It would be his sixteenth kill.
In April of 1980, Peter was arrested for driving drunk. Before his trial date he would kill two more times and wound, while trying to kill, three others.
In January of 1981, Peter had a hooker, that he intended to kill, in his car when a police officer, passing by, realized the car had false plates on it. He stopped and arrested Peter. (The lucky hooker walked away) The officer was about to take Peter to the station for questioning, when he asked the cop if he could first take a leak. His request was granted and he stepped nearly from view to relieve himself. After interviewing Peter, the arresting officer had an uneasy feeling about the entire situation and headed back to the site where he had arrested Peter.
He would be the cop that would end the serial murder spree of the Yorkshire Ripper.
When the officer returned to the site and walked to where Peter had urinated beside a building, he found the murder weapons. A knife, a hammer and some rope. He obtained a search warrant for Peter’s home and ordered his wife in for questioning.
On January 4th, Peter finally caved and started talking. He admitted to being the Ripper and gave all of the gory details in a twenty four hour interview. At his trial, he pleaded not guilty to 13 charges of murder, using the insanity plea. He said that he listened to a voice in his head, that had originated from a dead man’s headstone, and was in fact the voice of God, commanding him to clean the streets of prostitution.
The courts didn’t buy it and, although he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, he was sentenced to life with absolutely no chance for parole.
pic credit – murderpedia