Yorkshire Ripper’s Appeal Court bid over sentence
Nov 30 2010 Huddersfield Daily Examiner
YORKSHIRE Ripper Peter Sutcliffe will today challenge a High Court judge’s order that he can never be released.
Mr Justice Mitting announced his decision in London on July 16, ruling that the serial killer of 13 women must serve a “whole life” tariff.
His case will be heard today at the Court of Appeal by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, Mr Justice Calvert-Smith and Mr Justice Griffith Williams.
Now known as Peter Coonan, the former lorry driver, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, was convicted at the Old Bailey in 1981.
Sutcliffe, now 64, received 20 life terms for the murder of 13 women and the attempted murder of others in Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.
His victims included teenage Huddersfield prostitute Helen Rytka, who was murdered in a woodyard off Great Northern Street after Sutcliffe picked her up in his car.
One of those to survive his attacks was Oakes teenager Theresa Sykes, who was attacked by Sutcliffe as she made her way home from a local shop.
She survived a brutal attack with a hammer.
Mr Justice Mitting, when giving his ruling, said the murderer had caused “widespread and permanent harm to the living”.
He 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.”
He 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.”
He said he had no doubt that the “appropriate minimum term is a whole life term”.
Sutcliffe is being held in Broadmoor top security psychiatric hospital after being transferred from prison in 1984 suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.
It was on July 5, 1975, just 11 months after his marriage, that he took a hammer and carried out his first attack on a woman.