'Yorkshire Ripper' who murdered student from Kettering dies

Peter Sutcliffe is said to have refused treatment for Covid-19

Beryl Leach, holding a photograph of her daughter Barbara, pictured in 2004.
Beryl Leach, holding a photograph of her daughter Barbara, pictured in 2004.

The Yorkshire Ripper serial killer who murdered a student from Kettering has died after contracting Covid-19 in prison.

Peter Sutcliffe killed 13 women including 20-year-old Barbara Leach, who was studying at Bradford University at the time of her death in 1979.

He spent more than three decades at Broadmoor Hospital before he was moved to HMP Frankland in County Durham in 2016.

Peter Sutcliffe is dead.

The 74-year-old died this morning (Friday) and is said to have refused treatment for the virus.

Barbara's mother Beryl, a retired teacher who moved to New Zealand a few years ago, previously told the Northants Telegraph she would get no peace until he was dead.

She said: “There’s only one thing really and that’s to hear he has died.”

The murders, which took place in Yorkshire and north-west England between 1975 and 1980, began with mum-of-four Wilma McCann who was hit with a hammer and stabbed.

Barbara, who would have been 61 this year, was Sutcliffe's eleventh victim.

She had lived in Hazel Road and went to Henry Gotch Primary School and Southfield Girls' School before moving to Bradford to study social psychology, working at a handbag manufacturer's in Desborough between terms.

One evening after a night out with other students in Bradford she went for a walk and didn't return home.

Her body was later found after she had been attacked with a hammer and stabbed.

Barbara's father David, who died in 2014, previously told the Northants Telegraph: “Although we carried on and lived our lives, I do not think a day passes when we do not think of her, and sometimes speak of her fondly.

“We seem to feel her loss more acutely as we get older.”

West Yorkshire Police's investigation into the murders was misdirected by hoaxer John Humble, who tricked them into believing the killer was someone dubbed 'Wearside Jack' because of his Sunderland accent.

Detectives believed a tape recording where he claimed to be the killer was genuine and sent resources to the north-east.

When he was prosecuted a court heard claims that the delays caused by the hoax left Sutcliffe free to murder three more women.

In total a 200-strong police squad carried out more than 130,000 interviews but eventually arrested Sutcliffe through a stroke of luck in 1981 when his car, which had false number plates, was stopped in a red light area of Sheffield.

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