He was at the heart of many of Britain’s biggest manhunts.

Former Huddersfield detective John Stainthorpe was part of the team which investigated the Yorkshire Ripper killings by Peter Sutcliffe and child killer Robert Black.

Now the 83-year-old former detective has died after suffering a stroke two months ago.

He was one of the longest-serving detectives in West Yorkshire Police history, completing 40 years in the job, and his son David said: “If they had let him carry on he would have done it. It was his life”.

Mr Stainthorpe rose to become a Detective Chief Superintendent in the force and was proud of his family links with the police. He served 40 years, bis older brother Walter was a police officer for 34 years and son David served for 30 years.

Mr Stainthorpe was commended numerous times by Chief Constables and by courts for his work.

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He was born in Doncaster, the son of a miner, and held a variety of jobs before doing his National Servcie with the RAF in the unlikely surroundings of Blackpool.

He then enlisted in the former West Riding force at the age of 20 and began an illustrious career which saw him serve in areas including Shipley, Rothwell, Morley, Leeds and Harrogate before arriving in Huddersfield in the late 1970s.

It was while he was in the town that he began work on the Ripper case, as Sutcliffe killed teenage prostitute Helen Rytka in Great Northern Street in 1978. The killer also attacked Huddersfield teenager Theresa Sykes at Oakes, but she escaped with her life.

John Stainthorpe at the scene of the Helen Rytka murder in 1978

Mr Stainthorpe was also a key investigator into the murder of Morley schoolgirl Sarah Harper, who was one of Robert Black’s victims.

His son David, who folloqwed him as a detective, said: “He had to retire at 60 but did not want to give it up.

“He was well thought of by those who worked alongside him and was a copper’s copper”.

Mr Stainthorpe met his wife to be Shirley in Shipley and the couple married in 1954.

The couple have two sons, Robert and David, three grandsons Chris, Tom and James, and a great-granddaughter Millie.

Away from work Mr Stainthorpe loved travel. He went around the world three times and had also visited Cyprus 27 times.

He was a horse-racing fan and was part-owner of a horse, and also loved gardening.