Brits urged to remember victims after Covid claims life of Yorkshire Ripper

13 November 2020, 14:28 | Updated: 13 November 2020, 15:15

12 of the 13 of Sutcliffe's victims . Wilma McCann, Emily Jackson, Irene Richardson, Patricia Atkinson, Jayne McDonald, Jean Jordan, Yvonne Pearson, Helen Rytka, Vera Millward, Josephine Whitaker, Barbara Leach, Jacqueline Hill
12 of the 13 of Sutcliffe's victims . Wilma McCann, Emily Jackson, Irene Richardson, Patricia Atkinson, Jayne McDonald, Jean Jordan, Yvonne Pearson, Helen Rytka, Vera Millward, Josephine Whitaker, Barbara Leach, Jacqueline Hill. Picture: PA

By Megan White

People have been urged to keep the victims of the Yorkshire Ripper in their thoughts today after serial killer Peter Sutcliffe died with Covid-19 at the age of 74.

The notorious killer was serving a whole-life tariff for murdering 13 women across Yorkshire and the North West between 1975 and 1980 and had brutally attacked at least seven more, who survived.

it was confirmed by the prison service he died this morning, and it is understood he had refused treatment for coronavirus.

Current serving police officers said Sutcliffe was a "monster" who should "rot in hell" after hearing he had died.

Brian Booth, chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: "On hearing of the death of Peter Sutcliffe today, I feel: good riddance.

"The monster who murdered so many innocent women in and around West Yorkshire should rot in hell.

"He is the very reason most people step to the plate and become police officers - to protect our communities from people like him."

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, urged people to remember Sutcliffe's victims.

He tweeted: "The 13 women he murdered and the 7 who survived his brutal attacks are in my thoughts."

Sutcliffe's known victims:

Wilma McCann, 28, October 1975

Emily Jackson, 42, January 1976

Irene Richardson, 28, February 1977

Patricia Atkinson, 32, April 1977

Jayne McDonald, 16, June 1977

Jean Jordan, 21, October 1977

Yvonne Pearson, 22, January 1978

Helen Rytka, 18, January 1978

Vera Millward, 41, May 1978

Josephine Whittaker, 19, May 1979

Barbara Leach, 20, September 1979

Marguerite Walls, 47, August 1980

Jacqueline Hill, 20, November 1980

Robert McCann, son of Sutcliffe's first victim Wilma McCann, said Sutcliffe's death would bring "some kind of closure".

Mr McCann, who was only five when his mum was killed, said that he had let go of his anger in 2010, and decided to "forgive" Sutcliffe.

"I am sorry to hear he has passed away. It's not something I could have said in the past when I was consumed with anger," he added.

"The attention he's had over the years, the continuous news stories that we've suffered over the years, there is some form of conclusion to that."

Born in Bingley, West Yorkshire, in 1946, Sutcliffe left school aged 15 and worked in menial jobs before becoming a grave digger.

He began his killing spree in 1975 and avoided detection for years due to a series of missed opportunities by police to snare him.

He eventually confessed in 1981 after he was caught in Sheffield.

Despite his 24-hour-long confession to the killings, Sutcliffe denied the murders when he appeared in court.

In May 1981, he was jailed for 20 life terms at the Old Bailey, with the judge recommending a minimum sentence of 30 years.

He was transferred from Parkhurst prison on the Isle of Wight to Broadmoor secure hospital in Berkshire in 1984, after he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

In 2010, he was told he would never be released, and was later deemed fit enough to be treated as an inmate and was returned to maximum security prison.

More than two decades later, a secret report disclosed that Sutcliffe probably committed more crimes than the 13 murders and seven attempted murders for which he was convicted.

A Prison Service spokesman said: "HMP Frankland prisoner Peter Coonan (born Sutcliffe) died in hospital on November 13. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been informed."