The Yorkshire Ripper’s ashes were scattered at a seaside scenic spot that “meant a lot to his family”, his niece has revealed.
Peter Sutcliffe, 74, was serving a life sentence for the monstrous killing spree that terrorized Yorkshire and the north of England in the 1970s before he died in 2020.
He was finally caught in 1981 and found guilty of murdering 13 women as part of what he described as “a mission from God” to “kill prostitutes.”
Sutcliffe spent nearly three decades in a secure psychiatric ward before being declared fit in a regular prison and transferred to Frankland.
Sutcliffe died in hospital on November 13 after contracting Covid, where an investigation last year revealed he knew he was going to die hours before he died.
The court heard that he suffered from increased shortness of breath and received supplemental oxygen in the days before his death.
Sutcliffe’s niece Emily spoke up for the first time and told the Mirror that some of his ashes had been scattered in the rural village of Arnside in Cumbria – a place he used to visit as a child.
The Ripper visited the area as a boy, staying in his uncle’s caravan.
Emily, 28, said: “I was taken there once or twice when I was a kid. It’s darling.
“This area means a lot to the whole family. A family we were visiting lived in the area at the time.”
Speaking about her uncle for the first time, Emily said the killer had a terrible impact on her life.
The young mother 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 it. When I was younger, I was told that I look like my dad, who has similar characteristics to my uncle.
“It was so bad that I wanted plastic surgery to change everything about my appearance. If I had money, I would have it.
The Yorkshire Ripper’s ex-wife Sonia Sutcliffe became his executor and the ashes are believed to have been split up and sent to family and friends.
She said: “I remember going to school and telling my friends because I thought my uncle was famous. I didn’t understand what he did then.
“Unfortunately, it was the perfect age for bullying and it scared me.” She said a close friend from elementary school told how her parents knew one of the victims. Emily added: “I wanted to say, sorry, but that wasn’t me.”
“My family told me you’re quiet, you’re artistic, just like Uncle Peter.”
“I was afraid that I was inherently evil, and I thought that evil must run through my veins. It had a crazy effect on my self-esteem. I developed an eating disorder and was massively underweight due to the stress.”
Emily believes the Ripper’s crimes may have influenced her decision to study criminology and psychology. She said, “A few months before his death, I seriously considered visiting him.”
She thinks her uncle’s alcoholic father may have triggered the killing spree by smashing a glass over Ripper’s head when he was a boy.
Emily said it was similar to Ripper’s hammer attacks. She added: “His crimes affected so many people – even me, many generations later.”
It comes after a serial killer’s friend said they spread his ashes in Lanzarote to grant one of his last wishes last August.
Timeline of the victims of the Yorkshire Ripper
- October 1975 – Wilma McCannm, 26, from Chapeltown, Leeds, was struck twice with a hammer and stabbed 15 times in the neck, abdomen and belly. Her body was found on a sports field a few hundred meters from her home.
- January 1976 – Emily Jackson, 42, was picked up by Sutcliffe outside the Gaiety pub in Leeds, taken to some abandoned buildings, struck over the head with a hammer and stabbed over 50 times with a sharpened screwdriver. A shoe print was left on her thigh, which was used as a clue to the police.
- February 1977 – Irene Richardson, 28, was struck three times in the head with a hammer and then stabbed in the neck and abdomen in Leeds. Her body was found behind the sports pavilion in the park with tire prints near the body.
- April 1977 – Patricia Atkinson, 32, was picked up at The Carlisle Pub in Bradford. Sutcliffe returned to her apartment and attacked her with a hammer as she walked through the door, leaving a boot print on the blood-stained sheet.
- June 1977 – Jayne MacDonald, 16, was attacked on her way home from a night out in Leeds. She had been struck three times in the head with a hammer and stabbed about 20 times in the chest and back. Her body was found in the playground by children the next morning. The shop clerk was Sutcliffe’s first non-prostitute victim.
- October 1977 – Jean Jordan, 20, was picked up by Sutcliffe in Manchester’s red light district, taken to a patch of overgrown wasteland near a churchyard, and struck 11 times with a hammer. Her body was found 10 days later, and police realized the body had been moved and mutilated after the murder. Police found a new £5 note in her bag and traced it back to the Yorkshire hauliers T and WH Clark who employed Sutcliffe. Detectives questioned him twice, but his alibi convinced them that he was at a housewarming party with his family.
- January 1978 – Yvonne Pearson, 21, was picked up by Sutcliffe in Bradford and taken to a piece of wasteland behind an industrial estate. He hit her several times on the head with a hammer as she got out of the car. When another car pulled up, Sutcliffe dragged her onto an old sofa, pulled our horsehair out of it, and stuffed it down her throat to stop her screaming. When she stopped breathing, he made a makeshift grave out of dirt and debris and covered it with a couch. Her body was found two months later.
- January 1978 – 18-year-old Helen Rytka was caught by Sutcliffe in the red light district of Huddersfield, hit in the head with a hammer and stabbed repeatedly in the chest. She was the only known victim Sutcliffe had sex with.
- May 1978 – Vera Millward, 40, was picked up by Sutcliffe and driven to the Manchester Royal Infirmary car park, which is regularly used by prostitutes. Sutcliffe struck her three times with a hammer on the head and stabbed her lifeless body in the stomach and back.
- April 1979 – Josephine Whitaker, 19, a building society clerk, was walking home alone in Halifax when Sutcliffe started talking to her and walked with her. As they crossed some pitches, he attacked her with a hammer and stabbed her with a screwdriver, 21 times in the chest and abdomen, and six times in the right leg.
- September 1979 – Barbara Leach, 20, was murdered just meters from her home after spending the night in a pub near Bradford University. The student was struck on the head and stabbed eight times.
- August 1980 – Marguerite Walls, 47, was leaving her office late on her way to her home in Leeds when Sutcliffe spotted her. He got out of the car and attacked the clerk, hitting her on the back of the head with a hammer and choking her with a piece of rope.
- November 1980 – 20-year-old Jacqueline Hill was returning to her dorms in Leeds when Sutcliffe got out of his car and began following her. He hit her on the head and dragged her to an empty spot where he stabbed her in the chest and eye with a screwdriver.
A woman who regularly visited the Ripper in prison claimed that she traveled to the Canary Islands with his remains in an urn and dumped them in the Atlantic Ocean.
After his death more than two years ago, Sutcliffe’s ashes were reportedly buried near his hometown of Bingley, with some being sent to twisted ‘superfans’.
Some of it is also said to have been released into the sea at Arnside, about 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 his respects to his father.
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