The Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe has died at the age of 74.
The serial killer was serving twenty life terms for murdering 13 women across Yorkshire and north-west England.
He died in hospital where he is said to have refused treatment for Covid-19.
Sutcliffe died at University Hospital of North Durham, three miles from where he was an inmate, a Prison Service spokesman confirmed.
“HMP Frankland prisoner Peter Coonan (born Sutcliffe) died in hospital on 13 November.
“The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been informed.”
The former lorry driver from Bradford was convicted in 1981 of murdering 13 women between 1975 and 1980. He was also convicted for the attempted murder of 7 others. Sutcliffe grew up in West Yorkshire and after leaving school held a number of different low skilled jobs, including a job as a gravedigger.
Sutcliffe avoided detection for years due to a series of missed opportunities by police to catch him.
Sutcliffe spent 30 years at Broadmoor Hospital before being moved to HMP Frankland in County Durham in 2016.
His 13 known victims were:
Wilma McCann, 28, from Chapeltown, Leeds, who was killed in October 1975.
Emily Jackson, 42, a prostitute and mother-of-three from Morley, Leeds. Killed on January 20, 1976.
Irene Richardson, 28, a mother-of-two from Chapeltown, Leeds. Killed on February 6, 1977.
Patricia Atkinson, 32, a mother-of-three from Manningham, Bradford. Killed on April 24, 1977.
Jayne MacDonald, 16, a shop assistant from Leeds. Killed on June 26, 1977.
Jean Jordan, 21, from Manchester, who died between September 30 and October 11, 1977.
Yvonne Pearson, 22, from Bradford. Murdered between January 20 and March 26, 1978.
Helen Rytka, 18, from Huddersfield. Murdered on January 31, 1978.
Vera Millward, 40, a mother-of-seven from Manchester, who was killed on May 16, 1978.
Josephine Whitaker, 19, a building society worker from Halifax. Killed on April 4, 1979.
Barbara Leach, 20, a student who was murdered while walking in Bradford on September 1, 1979.
Marguerite Walls, 47, a civil servant from Leeds who was murdered on August 20, 1980
Jacqueline Hill, 20, a student, who was found at Headingley on November 16, 1980.
Reacting on Friday morning Richard McCann, the son of Sutcliffe’s first recognised victim, Wilma McCann, told BBC Breakfast: “I’m surprised how I feel. It brings me some degree of closure, not that I wished him dead, far from it.”
“Every time we hear a news story about him, and my mum’s photo is often shown, it’s just another reminder of what he did.
“One positive to come from this is that we’ll hear much less about him and no more reminders about what happened all those years ago.”
Mr McCann told BBC Breakfast that he was left terrified after his mother’s death and when Sutcliffe killed Jayne MacDonald, who also lived in his street.
Speaking after his death, one of Sutcliffe’s surviving victims said she was still suffering from the effects of his attack, 44 years on.
Marcella Claxton told Sky News: “I have to live with my injuries, 54 stitches in my head, back, and front, plus I lost a baby, I was four months pregnant. I still get headaches, dizzy spells, and black outs.”
Former detective Bob Bridgestock who worked on the investigation spoke to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Today is about the families and they won’t shed a tear for him, but it will bring back some terrible memories for them”
“For those that were attacked and survived, it will give them a little bit of peace knowing that they don’t actually have to hear about him after today anymore.”
Tracy Brabin MP spoke about the fear women experienced between 1975 – 1980, as she shared her experience of being interviewed by police after the murder of Yvonne Pearson in Bradford in 1978.
Tracy had been out with friends on the evening of the murder, which led to the interview.
“I remember the fear and horror I felt being interviewed by the police after Yvonne Pearson was found murdered close to where my friends and I had been the previous evening. You don’t forget that. Those years were full of fear but today is a time to not to focus on the perpetrator but to think about his victims and their families and remind ourselves – those women deserve better than for his face to be all over the television and his story told.
I lived during those times, I’ve been a victim of violence myself and for those us have who have those experiences, we know the importance of safe streets, a high standard policing that understands the experiences and needs of women and in tackling abuse in all its forms, at all times.
West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable John Robins has today commented on behalf of the force regarding the death of Peter Sutcliffe. He has apologised to relatives for the additional distress and anxiety caused by the language, tone and terminology used by senior officers at the time in relation to Peter Sutcliffe’s victims.
“I am sure the news of his death will bring back a range of mixed emotions and trauma for surviving victims and relatives of those whose lives he cruelly took away.
“Those who died and were assaulted, as well as those relatives who are still suffering today, are at the forefront of our thoughts and our condolences.
“Failings and mistakes that were made are fully acknowledged and documented. We can say without doubt that the lessons learned from the Peter Sutcliffe enquiry have proved formative in shaping the investigation of serious and complex crime within modern day policing.
“West Yorkshire Police is committed to ensuring that those harmed by crime are at the heart of what we do.”
“On behalf of West Yorkshire Police, I apologise for the additional distress and anxiety caused to all relatives by the language, tone and terminology used by senior officers at the time in relation to Peter Sutcliffe’s victims.
“Such language and attitudes may have reflected wider societal attitudes of the day, but it was as wrong then as it is now.
“A huge number of officers worked to identify and bring Peter Sutcliffe to justice and it is a shame that their hard work was overshadowed by the language of senior officers used at the time, the effect of which is still felt today by surviving relatives.
“Thankfully those attitudes are consigned to history and our approach today is wholly victim focused, putting them at the centre of everything we do.
“I offer this heartfelt apology today as the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police.”