The Yorkshire Ripper’s ashes were scattered at a seaside beauty spot that ‘meant a lot to his family’ his niece has revealed.
Peter Sutcliffe, 74, was serving a whole-life term for a monstrous killing spree that terrorised Yorkshire and the north of England throughout the 1970s before he died in 2020.
He was finally caught in 1981 and was found guilty of murdering 13 women on what he described as a ‘mission from God’ to ‘kill prostitutes’.
Sutcliffe spent nearly three decades in a secure psychiatric unit before being deemed fit to serve his sentence in a regular prison and transferred to Frankland.
Sutcliffe died in hospital on November 13 after contracting Covid, where an inquest last year revealed that he knew he was going to die just hours before his death.
The court heard he had been suffering increased breathlessness and was given additional oxygen in the days before he died.
Sutcliffe’s niece Emily has spoken out for the first time and told the Mirror some of his ashes were scattered in the countryside village of Arnside in Cumbria – a spot he would visit as a child.
The Ripper visited the area as a boy, staying at his uncle’s caravan.
Emily, 28, said: ‘I was taken there once or twice when I was a child. It is lovely.
‘That area means a lot to the whole family. We had family living in the area at the time and would visit them.’
Speaking for the first time about her uncle, Emily said the killer had a dreadful impact on her life.
The young mum added: ‘When he died it felt a bit like freedom, a relief.
‘When I looked in the mirror I saw a monster because I was convinced I looked like him. When I was younger I was told I looked like my dad who has similar features to my uncle.
‘It was so bad I wanted plastic surgery to change everything about my appearance. If I’d had the money I would have.’
The Yorkshire Ripper’s ex-wife Sonia Sutcliffe was made his executor and it is thought the ashes were divided up and sent to family and friends.
She said: ‘I remember going into school and telling my friends because I thought my uncle was famous. I didn’t understand what he’d done then.
‘Unfortunately it was the perfect age for bullying and it has scarred me.’ She said a close friend at primary school told how her parents knew one of the victims. Emily added: ‘I felt like saying ‘I’m sorry, but it wasn’t me’.
‘I was told by my family ‘you’re quiet, you’re artistic just like Uncle Peter’.
‘I was scared I was inherently bad and thought I must have evil coursing through my veins. It’s had a crazy impact on my self-esteem. I developed an eating disorder and was massively underweight from the stress of it.’
Emily thinks the Ripper’s offences may have influenced her decision to study criminology and psychology. She said: ‘In the months before he died I was seriously considering visiting him.’
She thinks her uncle’s alcoholic dad may have caused the murderous streak by smashing a pint glass over the Ripper’s head when he was a boy.
Emily said it was similar to the Ripper’s hammer attacks. She added: ‘His crimes affected so many people – even me so many generations later.’
It comes after a friend of the serial killer said they scattered his ashes in Lanzarote to grant him one of his dying wishes in August last year.
Timeline of the Yorkshire Ripper’s victims
- October 1975 – Wilma McCannm, 26, from Chapeltown, Leeds, was hit twice with a hammer and stabbed 15 times in the neck, stomach and abdomen. Her body was discovered in playing fields a few hundred yards from her home.
- January 1976 – Emily Jackson, 42, was picked up by Sutcliffe outside the Gaiety pub in Leeds, taken to some derelict buildings, hit over the head with a hammer and stabbed more than 50 times with a sharpened screwdriver. A boot print was left on her thigh, which served as a clue for police.
- February 1977 – Irene Richardson, 28, was hit on the head with a hammer three times and then stabbed in the neck and stomach in Leeds. Her body was found behind a sports pavilion in a park with tyre prints near the body.
- April 1977 – Patricia Atkinson, 32, was picked up at The Carlisle Pub in Bradford. Sutcliffe went back to her flat and attacked her with a hammer as she walked through the door, leaving a bootprint on a blood stained sheet.
- June 1977 – Jayne MacDonald, 16, was attacked as she was walking home from a night out in Leeds. She was hit three times on the head with a hammer and stabbed about 20 times in the chest and back. Her body was found in a playground by children the following morning. The shop assistant was the first victim of Sutcliffe’s who wasn’t a sex worker.
- October 1977 – Jean Jordan, 20, was picked up by Sutcliffe in Manchester’s red light district, taken to a piece of overgrown wasteland near a cemetery and hit 11 times with a hammer. Her body was found 10 days later and police realised the body had been moved and mutilated after the murder. Police found a new £5 note inside her bag and traced it back to Yorkshire hauliers T and W H Clark, who employed Sutcliffe. Detectives interviewed him twice but were convinced by his alibi that he was at a housewarming party with family.
- January 1978 – Yvonne Pearson, 21, was picked up by Sutcliffe in Bradford and taken to a piece of waste ground behind an industrial site. He hit her over the head several times with a hammer as she got out of the car. As another car pulled in, Sutcliffe dragged her to an old sofa, pulled our horse hairs from it and stuffed them down her throat to stop her screaming. After she stopped breathing he made a makeshift grave with soil and rubble and covered it with the sofa. Her body was found two months later.
- January 1978 – Helen Rytka, 18, was picked up by Sutcliffe in the red light district of Huddersfield, hit on the head with a hammer and stabbed several times in the chest. She was the only known victim who Sutcliffe had sex with.
- May 1978 – Vera Millward, 40, was picked up by Sutcliffe and driven to a car park by Manchester Royal Infirmary regularly used by prostitutes. Sutcliffe hit her three times over the head with a hammer and stabbed her dead body in the abdomen and back.
- April 1979 – Building society clerk Josephine Whitaker, 19, was on her way home alone in Halifax when Sutcliffe started chatting to her and walked with her. As they cut through some playing fields he attacked her with a hammer and stabbed her with a screwdriver, 21 times in the chest and stomach and six times in the right leg.
- September 1979 – Barbara Leach, 20, was murdered just yards away from her home after a night out at a pub near Bradford University. The student was hit over the head and stabbed eight times.
- August 1980 – Marguerite Walls, 47, was leaving the office late and was walking to her home in Leeds when Sutcliffe spotted her. He got out of his car and ambushed the civil servant, hitting her on the back of the head with a hammer and strangling her with a length of rope.
- November 1980 – Jacqueline Hill, 20, was returning to her student halls in Leeds when Sutcliffe got out of his car and began following her. He hit her on the head and dragged her to some spare land and stabbed her in the chest and eye with a screwdriver.
The woman – who had regularly visited the ripper in jail – claimed to have travelled to the Canary Island with his remains in an urn and tossed them into the Atlantic Ocean.
Following his death more than two years ago, Sutcliffe’s ashes were said to have been buried near his hometown of Bingley, while some are thought to have been sent to twisted ‘superfans’.
A portion are also said to have been released into the sea at Arnside, around half an hour from where some members of his family live.
Sutcliffe was allowed to visit the village in 2005 under the supervision of Broadmoor Hospital staff to pay respects to his father.
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