Peter Sutcliffe, perhaps better known as the Yorkshire Ripper has failed in his High Court application to have a minimum term set in order that he be given a chance of parole. Sutcliffe was responsible for the murder of 13 women and the attempted murder of a further 7 women during that 1970’s and early 1980’s.
Initially, it was thought that Sutcliffe’s only interest was in killing prostitutes, but as time went on, he murdered a young student and a Sunday school teacher.
Unfortunately, I remember only too well the terror that existed during the late 1970’s, when murder after murder took place. I was a young teenager at the time, and although I didn’t live in Yorkshire, the news articles spoke of the possibility that the killer may widen his territory in order to evade detection. The media practically begged women to ‘shop’ their husbands, boyfriends or sons if they were absent from home during the times that the murders took place, such was the desperation to catch the ‘Ripper’. It is no exaggeration that during this time, very few women ventured out alone after dark and the night time streets were lonely places, bereft of pedestrians. I remember the efforts that parents went to in ensuring that their daughters didn’t have to walk home alone following an evening of socialising and there was much taxiing of friends to and from parties and discos. I also remember the short walk from the school bus stop to home during the dark Winter evenings and recall that my heart would beat very quickly for the few moments it took for me to reach the safety of our kitchen door.
I think Mr Justice Mitting was quite right in ruling that Peter Sutcliffe should never be released, the Yorkshire Ripper’s hold of fear over the entire British female population during the 1970’s and early 80’s should never be forgiven.