TRANSCRIPT - The Death Of The Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe

[Music] This podcast contains descriptions of death and violence that some listeners may find upsetting. Hello and welcome to this special edition of the Six O’clock Knock the true crime podcast presented by me Simon Ford and me Jacques Morrell I’m a retired major crime detective and now with my friend and sparring partner we reinvestigate historic homicides on our quest to find the truth whatever that may be it was announced this morning that peter Sutcliffe alias the Yorkshire Ripper Britain’s most prolific serial killer had died in jail Sutcliffe was 74 he'd been serving a whole life prison sentence for the savage murders of 13 women in and around the cities of Leeds Bradford and Manchester in the 1970s Sutcliffe had a deep-seated hatred of women he claimed that god told him to rid the streets of sex workers in fact his crimes were indiscriminate his M.O. his modus operandi was the same though blows to the head with a hammer followed by frenzied stabbing one case involves strangulation between 1975 and 1980 the Yorkshire Ripper as he was styled by the media inflicted a reign of terror on northern England for years women were afraid to go out alone after dark proposals for a women-only curfew sparked outrage coupled with the failure of the police to catch the killer that failure is the subject of two future episodes of the Six O’clock Knock why was Sutcliffe allowed to terrorize and butcher women in the dead of night with impunity how did Sutcliffe escape a police dragnet that involved hundreds of officers cost millions of pounds of public money and generated so much paperwork a police station had to be reinforced to stop it collapsing under the weight it's all the more incredible when you learn that in that terrible period Sutcliffe was questioned an astonishing nine times by detectives we've also spoken to a senior police officer who was a rookie when the Yorkshire Ripper claimed his first victim Bob Taylor was a detective constable and later a detective sergeant in the Ripper incident room he retired a few years ago as detective chief superintendent of west Yorkshire police in the 70s Taylor could only watch as the then assistant chief constable George Oldfield a hard drinking hard-bitten and hard-biting Yorkshireman botched bungled and bullied his way through the biggest manhunt in British history Bob Taylor says Oldfield's handling of the Ripper investigation was disastrous from beginning to end i think what i learned from working on the cases that George Oldfield was in charge of was uh of how not to do it there was no room for anybody to make suggestions from the lower ranks uh and there were several good suggestions i mean one of the detectives who i worked with detective constable they said why don't they look at what was known as the Canadian system which was a geographical plotting system the principle behind it was that the offender would travel to avoid detection so the first attacks were more likely to be close to home the other thing about working on the Ripper case they couldn't conceive they couldn't get their head around the fact that some of the victims could have survived and of course not recognizing that there was a massive loss of evidence one of the victims in chapel town she did the artist's impression of ‘Dave’ he used the name Dave and she was just dismissed that was probably the closest picture that anybody produced of Sutcliffe when another colleague went and said i used to be a good vehicle driver Josephine Whitaker which is several park the footprints one of the boots shared everywhere they said that's what my boots were like as a heavy goods vehicle driver uh one boot used to wear out before the other and we just told get on with your work and what was our work our work was eliminating people on criteria that wasn't correct incredible there were survivors who could have identified Sutcliffe but their evidence was brushed aside Anna Rogulsky, Olive Smelt, Tracey Brown, she was a kid of 14 when Sutcliffe smashed her skull and left her for dead in a country lane Marcella Claxton dismissed because of her race and her so-called reputation Maureen Long Marilyn Moore and that business with the boot impression at one of the crime scenes there's no way when i investigated homicides that that kind of forensic evidence would have been overlooked but of course my police career came after the Yorkshire Ripper in fact the mistakes they made changed the way we investigate murder in Britain indeed that's what we do on the Six O’clock Knock we take your powers of investigation Jacques wave the evidence under my journalist's nose and go after the stories behind the headlines and wherever you are in the world there will be lots of headlines about Peter Sutcliffe the Yorkshire Ripper he remains in death Britain’s most prolific serial killer so if you haven't already please do subscribe to the Six O’clock Knock the first part of our series about the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper how it shaped police procedure and shifted society's perspective in so many ways is coming tomorrow in the meantime thank you for your company stay safe and stand by for that next revelatory episode of the Six O’clock Knock the Six O’clock Knock is presented by Simon Ford and Jacques Morrell and produced by paul bradshaw and is available on every major listening app please help us spread the word by giving us a five-star review and telling your friends to subscribe.