Updated: Feb 11, 2021
The infamous Yorkshire Ripper, real name Peter Sutcliffe was a serial killer who exclusively targeted women.
In total Sutcliffe murdered thirteen women and attempted to murder seven others. Eleven of these murders took place in West Yorkshire and two in Manchester.
Women were scared. Men were fearful. West Yorkshire was unsafe.
Sutcliffe’s crimes spanned over five years. Imagine living in distress and acute fear for five years. This was the reality for women who were just trying to be daughters, sisters, mothers, grandmas, employees, friends, neighbours and women between the years 1975-1980.
The Yorkshire Ripper’s anonymity and brutality was enough to leave once tight-knit communities questioning everything and everyone.
Sutcliffe was convicted on 22nd May 1981.
Relief. Locals had protested for Sutcliffe’s arrest for years and gathered on the streets when justice was finally served.
According to The Tab Leeds, there has been 4,622 violence and sexual offences in Leeds’ predominantly student areas since October 2019 (Jones, 2020). 17 of these cases have taken place in one isolated location. The now infamous Headingley Stadium alleyway has been the talking point amongst students for weeks. Young people feel unsafe living in the area or walking nearby. The same fear from The Yorkshire Ripper era has been reborn thirty-nine years later by his disciples.
Another similarity. Protests. Brave locals and students have been protesting for greater safety measures and for a best-case scenario of the alleyway being closed from 11pm till morning. “Reclaim Headingley Alleyway” posts have filled the timeline and widespread support has been shared, but still little action has been emplaced by the council. This lack of action will only fuel Sutcliffe’s followers as like in 1975 no justice is being served for the victims of these lifechanging assaults.
Jacqueline Hill, aged 20 and University of Leeds student was murdered by Sutcliffe in Headingley. Young people are now being targeted again in the same area.
It is too late to ask questions. It is now the time for action.
The Yorkshire Ripper died on 13th November 2020. Will the pain caused from his disciples die too?
In memory of the thirteen, the seven survivors and all sexual assault and abuse victims both past, present and unfortunately future.
Wilma McCann (28) Leeds, October 1975
Emily Jackson (42) Leeds, January 1976
Irene Richardson (28) Leeds, February 1977
Patricia Atkinson (32) Bradford, April 1977
Jayne MacDonald (16) Leeds, June 1977
Jean Jordan (21) Manchester, September/October 1977
Yvonne Pearson (22) Bradford, January/March 1978
Helen Rytka (18) Huddersfield, January 1978
Vera Millward (40) Manchester, May 1978
Josephine Whitaker (19) Halifax, April 1979
Barbara Leach (20) Bradford September 1979
Marguerite Walls (47) Leeds, August 1980
Jacqueline Hill (20) Leeds, November 1980
National Domestic Violence Helpline: 08457 023 047
The Survivors Trust: 0808 801 0818
Equality and Advisory Support Service: 0808 800 0082
Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service: 0845 747 4747
National Stalking Helpline: 0300 636 0300
Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre: 0808 802 9999
The Rape and Abuse Line: 0808 800 0123 (answered by women)
0808 800 0122 (answered by men)
Find Out More:
Corey Jones- The Tab (Leeds)
Reclaim Headingley Stadium Alleyway
Reclaim Headingley Stadium Alleyway Petition https://community.sumofus.org/petition/1ce21f50-c53c-4e59-add6-1bc4e4107aee/?source=fb&fbclid=IwAR3fY_ZlTPJ9YgsWAaxRf3snM2JbVkJ8yK7qqWYZvFJfvhPAG4u4aDqesuo