To mark the Huddersfield Examiner reaching the 50,000 edition milestone on Wednesday 9 August we are running a series of nostalgia features. Today we remember how the Examiner reported the chilling murders carried out by the Yorkshire Ripper
Beneath the chilling headline ‘Maniac killer strikes in town’ the Examiner reported in February 1978 on the murder of Helen Rytka.
Reporter Neil Atkinson wrote: “The Ripper - sadistic killer of five Yorkshire women - has claimed a victim in Huddersfield.”
The victim was 18, had been working as a prostitute and was reported missing by her identical twin sister, Rita.
Helen’s body was found off Great Northern Street, behind Garrards timber yard.
“As Murder Squad detectives began their painstaking work to try to trap the brutal killer, a senior officer gave a warning to the town’s other prostitutes,” the report stated.
George Oldfield, head of West Yorkshire CID, said: “I can only urge them, as I have in the past, to be careful if they have to go out. Keep your eyes open and let us know at once if you see anything suspicious.”
Mr Oldfield revealed that Helen had lived in Huddersfield for only two months. She and her sister had been living in a flat in Elmwood Avenue, Highfields.
The detective said Helen was seen to climb into a blue saloon car, driven by a white man aged about 35, and of smart appearance.
He added: “I cannot discount the possibility that the man we are looking for is the one responsible for other similar attacks on women in West Yorkshire over the past two-and-a-half years. There are certain indications that it could be linked.”
The article continued: “Today more than eighty police officers were involved in the inquiry, and a Murder Control room was set up in Huddersfield.
“Experts were at the site where the body was found, and they have begun an intensive search of the area.
"The area is notorious for the activities of prostitutes, and police admitted that it was the town’s red-light district.”
Several more women were killed before Helen’s killer was identified as Bradford lorry driver Peter Sutcliffe - who had been interviewed nine times by police during the murder hunt.
On January 6 1981 we reported that Sutcliffe, 35, had faced court charged with the murder of 20-year-old student Jacqueline Hill in Leeds. Eighty reporters attended Dewsbury magistrates court to hear the six-minute court hearing.
Outside the court a crowd of around 1,000 people had gathered.
“Men and women screamed obscenities as the defendant was led into the court rooms,” we reported. “One group stood with a makeshift noose and a placard demanding the death penalty.”
In a separate piece headlined ‘The man with the right to smile’ we pictured a smiling George Oldfield, the Grange Moor detective who had worked 16-hour days on the Ripper inquiry.
Sutcliffe was found guilty in May 1981 of murdering 13 women and jailed for life. The judge described him as “an unusually dangerous man”.
In 1966 the Examiner reported on the trial of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in the notorious ‘Bodies on the Moors’ murders.
At the end of the 14-day trial, a jury found both guilty of the murders of Edward Evans and Lesley Ann Downey and Brady alone guilty of the murder of John Kilbride.
Our report of May 7 1966 said: “The Judge told Brady: ‘These were three calculated, cruel, cold-blooded murders, and in your case, I pass the only sentence which the law now allows.’”
He told Hindley: “You have been found guilty of two equally horrible murders.”
“Hindley swayed forward a little and closed her eyes when sentenced,” the Examiner reported.
Twenty years later, in December 1986, Hindley was taken from Cookham Wood Prison in Kent to desolate Saddleworth Moor to help find the bodies of the missing children.
A report in the Examiner said: “The killer was flown to the snow-lashed moor by police helicopter as armed police sealed off all roads leading to the area.
“The helicopter...landed on the main A635 Holmfirth to Greenfield Road near the border between Yorkshire and Lancashire, and a convoy of police vehicles then drove further on to the moor.
“Hindley was being taken to an area stretching for hundreds of yards on either side of the road, where police have been searching for the bodies of the missing children for the past three weeks.”
We reported that police sealed off two roads leading up to the remote moorland. Roadblocks were set up outside the Ford Inn and the Huntsman Inn on the A635, and in Wessenden Head Road, Meltham. Similar roadblocks were erected on the A635 on the Lancashire side of the moor.
Photographers who tried to walk across the moor at the Isle of Skye were caught by police and escorted back to the main road.
The report added: “Home Office minister Mr David Mellor said this morning that the decision to allow Hindley to return to the moor was taken after a request from the police.”
The hunt for the bodies of Pauline Reade and Keith Bennett was being led by Det Chief Supt Peter Topping.
Later, the hunt for the bodies shifted to the Wessenden Moors at Meltham.
On July 1 1987, after more than 100 days of searching, police found the body of Pauline Reade buried three feet below the surface, around 100 yards from the place where the body of Lesley Ann Downey had been found.
Police called off the search in August 1987 despite not having found Keith Bennett’s body. His body has yet to be found.
Hindley died in 2002, aged 60. Brady died, aged 79, in Ashworth Hospital on May 15 this year.