NEWS
13/11/2020 11:13 GMT | Updated 13/11/2020 15:38 GMT

These Are The 13 Women Murdered By Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe

"Let's show the faces of those he killed, not him."

Amid the news that Peter Sutcliffe - the serial killer known as the Yorkshire Ripper - has died, people are being urged to remember his victims and their families. 

Sutcliffe murdered 13 women, and seven women are known to have escaped from him with their lives before he was captured. 

Many relatives of the victims, and former detectives, have urged people to “remember the victims, not the killer”. John Apter, National Chair of the Police Federation, tweeted: “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.”

These are the women who lost their lives at Sutcliffe’s hands. 

Wilma McCann

Mirrorpix via Getty Images
Wilma McCann, 28

The first victim to lose her life, sex worker Wilma McCann was hit with a hammer and stabbed 15 times in October 1975. 

Her son Richard was five when his mother was killed. 

On the anniversary of the mother-of-four’s death, Richard also called for an official apology from West Yorkshire Police for the rhetoric used about Sutcliffe’s victims.

He said: “I want the force once and for all to give some closure and apologise for the way it described some women.

“The things that were said in particular by George Oldfield [former Assistant Chief Constable for West Yorkshire Police] were about some of the victims having ‘doubtful morals’ and the comments about Jayne MacDonald being an ‘innocent victim’. Weren’t they all innocent?

“These words, to me, suggested that some lives taken were worth more than others.

“I think this anniversary would be a great opportunity for West Yorkshire Police to make this overdue apology.

“My children are growing up now and will soon learn about their grandmother and how she was seen.”

Marguerite Walls

PA Images via Getty Images
Marguerite Walls, 47

A civil servant working in Pudsey, Marguerite Walls had worked late on the night of August 20, 1980, and was due to go on holiday the day after for two weeks.

The 47-year-old was attacked and strangled as she walked the half mile home from work. Her body was covered with leaves and grass cuttings and was found the next day by gardeners.

Yvonne Pearson

PA
Yvonne Pearson, 21

A sex worker from Bradford, Yvonne Pearson was murdered on January 21, 1978.

Sutcliffe hid the 21-year-old’s body under a sofa, which meant her remains were not found until two months later on March 26, 1978. 

Jayne MacDonald

PA
Jayne MacDonald, 16

Jayne MacDonald was Sutcliffe’s youngest victim and was murdered on June 26, 1977.

The 16-year-old’s body was found in adventure playground in Leeds by two children. The teenager was a shop assistant and had been on her way home from a night out when she was attacked.

Josephine Whitaker

Mirrorpix via Getty Images
Josephine Whitaker, 19

Josephine Whitaker, 19, was building society clerk who was attacked and killed on her way home from home in Halifax on April 4, 1979.

Patricia Atkinson

Mirrorpix via Getty Images
Patricia Atkinson, 32

Patricia Atkinson, 32, was a sex worker from Bradford and was found murdered in her flat on April 23, 1977.

Sutcliffe left behind a clue in the form of a bootprint on a blood-stained sheet.

Helen Rytka

PA
Helen Rytka, 18

Helen Rytka was killed in January 1978. The 18-year-old sex worker’s body was found dumped in Garrards timber yard in Huddersfield.

Jacqueline Hill

Mirrorpix via Getty Images
Jacqueline Hill, 20

A student at Leeds University, Jacqueline Hill, 20, was Sutclife’s last victim and was murdered on November 17, 1980.

Then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was said to be so incensed by the killings she reportedly told her staff she was going to Leeds to take over the investigation “because nobody but her, she thought, really cared about the fate of these wretched women.”

In a biography of Thatcher published while she was in office, Hugo Young claims it was left to Home Secretary William Whitelaw to persuade her against the plan.

Irene Richardson

PA
Irene Richardson, 28

Sex worker Irene Richardson was murdered on February 5, 1977. The mother-of-three’s body was found behind a sports pavilion in Roundhay Park. Sutcliffe left tyre prints close to the 28-year-old’s body.

Vera Millward

Mirrorpix via Getty Images
Vera Millward, 40

Vera Millward was killed on May 16, 1978. She was attacked in the car park of Manchester Royal Infirmary. The mother-of-seven was hit over the head and stabbed several times.

Barbara Leach

PA
Barbara Leach, 20

A Bradford University student, Barbara Leach’s body was found on September 1, 1979. Leach had been on a night out at a pub near the university when she was attacked by Sutcliffe, who hit her over the head and stabbed her eight times, just yards from her home.

He tried to conceal her body by hiding it under some steps and covering it in rubbish.

Jean Jordan

Mirrorpix via Getty Images
Jean Jordan, 20

Jean Jordan was a sex worker who was murdered on October 1, 1977. The mother-of-two’s body was found in an allotment and her bag in some nearby bushes.

A new £5 note left in a pocket of the 20-year-old’s bag enabled police to trace it to the payroll of Yorkshire hauliers T and W H Clark, who employed Sutcliffe. He was interviewed by detectives twice but was able to provide an alibi.  

Emily Jackson

Mirrorpix via Getty Images
Emily Jackson, 42

Emily Jackson had turned to part time sex work after her family fell on hard times. She was murdered in January 1976 after getting into Sutcliffe’s car and agreeing to have sex with him.  

She was stabbed 52 times. 

Sutcliffe attempted to murder seven more women who managed to escape. 

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.” 

Detectives have been criticised alongside journalists and even the attorney general who prosecuted Sutcliffe for dismissing many of those who died as prostitutes.

And senior officers’ preoccupation that the Ripper was only targeting sex workers is seen as one of the many crucial wrong turns taken in the flawed 1970s investigation.

When 16-year-old Jayne MacDonald was killed in 1977, officers referred to her as the first “innocent” victim.

At Sutcliffe’s trial, prosecutor Sir Michael Havers, who was the attorney general at the time, said: “Some were prostitutes but perhaps the saddest part of the case is that some were not.

“The last six attacks were on totally respectable women.”

Retired detective Roger Parnell, who worked on the Ripper inquiry, rejected accusations the officers “did not care less” about sex worker victims.

He told BBC Radio 5Live: “We certainly did, I can assure you we did.

“These ladies were wives, they were mothers, they were sisters. And the inquiry did not change at the murder of Jayne MacDonald.

“We were all determined from the beginning to catch the perpetrator of all these murders.

“When I heard this morning that Peter Sutcliffe had died, I just could not care less, to be honest.”

On Friday afternoon, West Yorkshire Police Chief Constable John Robins issued an apology to the relatives of Sutcliffe’s victims for “the language, tone and terminology used by senior officers at the time”.

He said: “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.”

He added: “I offer this heartfelt apology today as the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police.”