ITV is looking into the crimes of serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, aka the Yorkshire Ripper, in a new two-part docuseries.


Titled Yorkshire Ripper: The Secret Murders, the doc will explore missed opportunities to charge him for his earlier, unacknowledged crimes, with the first episode looking specifically at the murders of Judith Roberts in 1972 and Carol Wilkinson in 1977, and the two innocent men who were mistakenly charged with their killings

So, who was Peter Sutcliffe exactly? What did he do? And was he ever charged?

Here's everything you need to know as the documentary comes to ITV.

Who was The Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe?

Peter Sutcliffe

Peter William Sutcliffe, also known as Peter William Coonan, was an English serial killer, who was given the name the Yorkshire Ripper by press, as it was an allusion to Jack the Ripper - an unidentified serial killer who operated in London in the 1880s.

Following one of the largest and most expensive manhunts in British history, West Yorkshire Police was criticised for its failure to catch Sutcliffe, despite having interviewed him nine times in the course of its five-year investigation.

On 22 May 1981, Sutcliffe was found guilty of murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven others between 1975 and 1980.

He was sentenced to 20 consecutive sentences of life imprisonment, which was then changed to a whole life order in 2010.

Sutcliffe initially operated in residential areas, attacking women and young girls, but later moved to red light districts, preying on vulnerable prostitutes in the area.

He was picked up by police for driving with false number plates, and was found to fit the description of the elusive Yorkshire Ripper.

Sutcliffe confessed to the crimes and said he had been led on a mission to kill prostitutes by the voice of God. At his trial, he pleaded not guilty to murder on grounds of diminished responsibility, but was convicted of murder following a majority verdict.

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Is Peter Sutcliffe still alive?

No - he died in prison at the age of 74.

After being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, Sutcliffe was transferred from prison to a high-security psychiatric hospital in March 1984.

The High Court dismissed an appeal by Sutcliffe in 2010, stating that he would serve a whole life order and never be released, and in August 2016, Sutcliffe was transferred to HM Prison Frankland in Durham after a judge ruled that he was mentally fit to be returned to prison.

On 3 November 2020, Sutcliffe died from COVID-19-related complications in hospital while in prison custody.

Yorkshire Ripper: The Secret Murders starts on ITV on Wednesday 23rd February at 9pm. For something else, visit our TV Guide our check out dedicated Documentaries hub.


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