'Yorkshire Ripper' serial killer Peter Sutcliffe has died in hospital

The serial killer known as the 'Yorkshire Ripper' has died in hospital at the age of 74, the Prison Service has confirmed.

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Peter Sutcliffe had tested positive for Covid-19 and was suffering from underlying health conditions.

He reportedly refused treatment at University Hospital of North Durham after he was transferred there from maximum security HMP Frankland, where he was an inmate.

The killer is said to have suffered from a range of conditions before his death, including heart trouble, diabetes and obesity.

Serving a life term

Sutcliffe was serving a life term for murdering 13 women across Yorkshire and the North West between 1975 and 1980.

He was convicted in 1981 and, after a long spell in Broadmoor Hospital in Berkshire, he was later transferred to HMP Frankland in 2016 after being deemed stable enough to serve time in prison.

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, battering 28 year old Wilma McCann to death on 30 October 1975, which followed three non-fatal attacks on women earlier in the year.

Sutcliffe managed to avoid detection for years after police missed several opportunities to apprehend him.

He eventually confessed in 1981, when he was brought in after a police check discovered stolen number plates on his car.

Denied crimes in court

Despite his 24 hour long confession to the killings, Sutcliffe denied the murders when indicted at court.

However, 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 then transferred from Parkhurst prison on the Isle of Wight to Broadmoor secure hospital in Berkshire in 1984 after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

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

Remembering his victims

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

Writing on social media, he said, “Lots of breaking news about the death of convicted murderer Peter Sutcliffe. I understand why this is news worthy, but my ask of the media is let's show the faces of those he killed, not him.

“The 13 women he murdered and the 7 who survived his brutal attacks are in my thoughts.”

One of his surviving victims said she still suffers from the effects of his attack in Leeds, 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.”