Victims welcome life in jail for Yorkshire Ripper
Jul 17 2010 Huddersfield Daily Examiner
VICTIMS attacked by the Yorkshire Ripper welcomed news that he will die in jail.
The High Court ruled that mass murderer Peter Sutcliffe must spend the rest of his life behind bars.
The decision was announced by Mr Justice Mitting, sitting in London.
And it was welcomed by those who survived his attacks, including a former Huddersfield woman.
Theresa Toth was known as Theresa Sykes when she was attacked by the Ripper in November 1980.
She was living in Oakes with her boyfriend and their six-month-old baby when Sutcliffe attacked her as she returned from a local shop.
“He has absolutely spoilt my life. Why should he get out and have a life. I’ve haven’t really had one.
“I lost so much time with my little boy. Over the years he's taken a lot away from me.
“It’s never going to end with me so why it should end for him?”
Another of the Ripper’s surviving victims rarely thinks about the man who left her in need of brain surgery, her husband has said.
Olive Smelt was attacked by Peter Sutcliffe as she walked home in Halifax on a summer evening in 1975.
She was hit twice on the head with a hammer and needed brain surgery to overcome her injuries, but later made a full recovery.
Now 81 and married with three children, her husband, Harry, 85, said the ruling that Sutcliffe must spend the rest of his life behind bars was the correct decision for Sutcliffe’s own good.
“I think it’s as well for him that he does have to remain in,” Mr Smelt said.
A former detective who worked on the Ripper investigation said today that “evil” Peter Sutcliffe should die in prison.
John Stainthorpe, a retired Huddersfield detective superintendent, said he thought the High Court ruling that Sutcliffe never be released from jail was entirely correct.
“I agree fully with the verdict,” he said, “and just think that it’s beyond belief that anyone could ever consider releasing such an evil man.
“He killed at least 13 women in very brutal circumstances and tried to kill seven others – a man who is capable of that kind of thing should never be released.
“He should die in prison – and probably will now.”
Now known as Peter Coonan, the 63-year-old former lorry driver, from Bradford, was convicted at the Old Bailey in 1981.
He received 20 life terms for the murder of 13 women and the attempted murder of seven others in Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.
His victims included teenage Huddersfield prostitute Helen Rytka, 18, who was murdered in a woodyard off Great Northern Street.
The judge ruled that “early release provisions” were “not to apply”.
Mr Justice Mitting said he had read statements by relatives of six murdered victims.
“They are each moving accounts of the great loss and widespread and permanent harm to the living caused by six of his crimes.
“I have no doubt that they are representative of the unspoken accounts of others who have not made statements.
“None of them suggest any term other than a whole life term would be regarded by them as appropriate.”
Mr Justice Mitting said: “This was a campaign of murder which terrorised the population of a large part of Yorkshire for several years.
“The only explanation for it, on the jury’s verdict, was anger, hatred and obsession.
“Apart from a terrorist outrage, it is difficult to conceive of circumstances in which one man could account for so many victims.
“Those circumstances alone make it appropriate to set a whole life term.”
Sutcliffe, who is detained in Broadmoor top security hospital, has been attacked several times.
In one assault, his right eye was put out and in another, an attempt was made to put out his left eye.
He was said to be well behaved and had posed no threat to other inmates.