Yorkshire Ripper cost taxpayers £11m – but victim’s families didn’t get a penny | UK | News (Reports)


The mass murderer died an ­agonising death early yesterday after being stricken by coronavirus following a heart attack.

Clinically obese Sutcliffe, 74, endured a miserable end afflicted with diabetes and left virtually blind when he had the heart attack two weeks ago.

He was also beset by a bladder problem that meant he frequently wet his bed, but had refused guards’ requests to wear nappies.

Evil Sutcliffe was serving a whole-life term for butchering 13 women and trying to kill at least seven more across northern Britain between 1975 and 1980.


Peter Sutcliffe

The mass murderer died an agonising death early yesterday (Image: NC)

Jailed in 1981, he spent several years at Broadmoor secure psychiatric hospital where he was treated for paranoid schizophrenia, before he was transferred to Frankland jail in County Durham in 2016.

Sutcliffe began attacking women in the late 1960s, but the first known murder happened in 1975 when he killed mother-of-four Wilma McCann, 28, from Leeds.

Her son Richard said yesterday: “He ruined so many lives. He will go down as one of those figures from the 20th century in the same league, I suppose, as someone like Hitler.

“But I’m not celebrating his death, I let go of the anger I felt towards him many years ago. My main emotion is one of closure.”

Richard revealed that he had received no financial recompense for his mother’s loss – in contrast to the Ripper, who received almost £200,000 in compensation after a 1997 prison attack.

He said: “I have never received any compensation at all for the loss of my mother.



Richard says he has found a sense of closure since hearing about Sutcliffe’s passing (Image: Richard)

“I remember being sat with my aunt and she told me that I should be due ­some money.

“I wrote to the Criminal [Injuries] Compensation Board to make an inquiry and they wrote back to tell me that because we were not worse off financially following her murder, I was not eligible. There was no emotional thinking about the decision.

“If she had had a job then the income she earned would have made the situation different.”

Neil Jackson, 62, also failed to receive a penny of compensation or any emotional support after his mother Emily was stabbed 52 times by Sutcliffe in Leeds in 1976, when he was just 17.

He said: “After my mum died I was left in the lurch to fend for myself completely.


“The authorities didn’t offer any kind of counselling or support at all, I just had to knuckle down and ­
get on with life, which was incredibly hard. There wasn’t a penny offered, nothing.

“I was furious when he received compensation for being attacked – that money should have at least gone to his victims.

“We should have been treated so much better while he was allowed to live a life of luxury in hospital.”

It cost the public purse an astonishing £10million to keep Sutcliffe at Broadmoor, in Berkshire, where he was sent from Parkhurst jail in ­1984 after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

He was originally sent to Parkhurst, on the Isle of Wight, in 1981 before being sectioned under the Mental Health Act. He was “treated” at Broadmoor for ­31 years, where the cost of his ­detention was at least five times the cost of prison while Sutcliffe had a private room.


Wilma McCann

Sutcliffe’s first known victim was mother-of-four Wilma McCann, 28, from Leeds (Image: SWNS)

In 2016 lawyers argued successfully that Sutcliffe was no longer mentally ill and he was moved to Frankland, where his special Category A prisoner status meant the annual cost topped £100,000.

On top of that, Sutcliffe received £65,000 in taxpayers’ cash after being repeatedly granted legal aid for his claims aimed at ­cutting his sentence or making his life easier.

A previous Freedom of Information request revealed that this included £44,071 solicitors’ fees for mental health tribunals while at Broadmoor.

After he was caught, Sutcliffe claimed God told him to kill ­prostitutes. He had denied murder but admitted manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

That sparked a two-week trial at the Old Bailey that in today’s terms would cost at least £50,000.


West Yorkshire Police say the cost of their long-running investigation is unknown, but detectives have acknowledged that in modern-day terms it would cost tens of millions of pounds.

A Prison Service spokesman confirmed that Sutcliffe died at University Hospital of North Durham at 1am yesterday. The killer had contracted Covid-19 but refused to allow doctors to give him treatment for the virus.

In final letters to a prison penpal, he had boasted that he had been feeling much safer in prison than in the outside world.

The letter sent from his cell reads: “The world is stuck with this covid. Makes me feel much safer being in here with all that’s going on in the world.’



Richard has received no financial recompense for his mother’s loss (Image: SWNS)

The Ripper, who had become ­a Jehovah’s Witness, signed “do not resuscitate forms” because he was convinced he would go to heaven.

He was readmitted to hospital on Thursday, gasping for breath as his lungs failed, and was put in an isolated room where he died without any visitors at his bedside and just one nurse.

Yesterday the curtains remained drawn at the former matrimonial home Sutcliffe shared with wife Sonia in Heaton, Bradford. Sonia, who regularly visited her ex-husband until 2017, has maintained the detached house and still lives in the property off and on, despite her marriage to hairdresser Michael Woodward, who lives in a flat in nearby Saltaire.

As relatives of Sutcliffe’s victims welcomed ­the killer’s demise, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Peter Sutcliffe was a depraved and evil individual whose crimes caused unimaginable suffering and appalled this country.

“Nothing will ever detract from the harm that he caused, but it is right that he died behind bars for his barbaric murders and for his attempted murders.”

Sutcliffe had 20 known victims, but police have long suspected that number to be higher. He refused to co-operate with detectives, despite frequent attempts to coax information from him.

One of Sutcliffe’s survivors, Marcella Claxton, says that 44 years on, she still suffers from the effects of his attack on her in Leeds.

She said yesterday: “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 blackouts.”


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