THE man who has admitted being the Yorkshire Ripper hoaxer known as `Wearside Jack' was going on trial today.
A judge has already heard how John Humble, 50, admitted sending three letters and an audio tape in the late 1970s in which he taunted police by claiming to be the Ripper.
The claims were shown to be a hoax when Peter Sutcliffe was arrested and admitted the killings in 1981.
By that time a huge amount of police time and resources had been wasted as detectives concentrated a huge effort on the North-East.
The letters were posted in Sunderland and the voice on the tape had a distinctive Wearside accent.
Former labourer Humble, of Flodden Road, Sunderland, was arrested last year and charged with four counts of perverting the course of justice in relation to the hoax.
But he has pleaded not guilty to the offences.
At a previous hearing reporting restriction were partially lifted.
His lawyer, David Taylor, said: "The issue now is not one of whether it actually was him.
It's solely the question of intent."
His trial - which is expected to start at Leeds Crown Court later today - will focus on the issue of Humble's intentions.
The letters and tape caused a sensation when they were publicised by West Yorkshire Police in 1979.
This was at the height of the Ripper's killing spree.
Two of the letters were sent directly to Assistant Chief Constable George Oldfield, who led the investigation in the late 1970s.
A third letter was sent to a national newspaper office in Manchester.
The audio tape, which purported to be from the murderer and taunted the police for not catching him, was played to a spellbound public by detectives.
Sutcliffe, now 59, from Clayton, Bradford, was jailed for life in 1981 for the murder of 13 women.
He is being held at Broadmoor Special Hospital.
One of his murder victims was teenage Huddersfield prostitute Helen Rytka, whop was killed in Great Northern Street, Hillhouse.
Sutcliffe also attacked Oakes teenager Theresa Sykes, but she survived.