The Yorkshire Ripper’s gruesome murders have been mapped out for the first time in a new tell-all book about what actually happened all those years ago.
Richard Cobb’s book, On the Trail of the Yorkshire Ripper: His Final Secrets Revealed, explores the possibility the murderer was a twisted sexual deviant rather than someone on a mission to kill prostitutes.
The historian and his team have re-examined the killings and laid out the crime scenes in full, something that has never been done before due to controversy over the police investigation.
Although the locations of where the bodies were found have been detailed before, the exact locations where Peter Sutcliffe murdered his 13 victims between 1975 and 1980 in Leeds and Bradford have not.
Cobb and his investigative team have exhaustively gone through original police reports and newspaper clippings, as well as interviewing eyewitnesses, to collect the necessary information for his book. The historian said he also went through Sutcliffe’s confessions and old news footage to ‘pinpoint’ exactly where the murders happened, and how they happened.
After hours of painstaking research, the 44-year-old author has now been able to map out exactly where victims like Jayne MacDonald, Yvonne Pearson and Elena Rytka were killed. ‘I was able to find the original press photographs at the time [and] from those I could work out roughly where the crimes had taken place,’ he explained.
This image examines the murder of Elena Rytka, whose body was discovered at the rear of Garrard’s Timber Yard in Huddersfield in February 1978:
This image shows the murder location of Jean Jordan in Manchester, revealed for the first time in over 40 years:
This map shows the layout of the room and where Patricia Atkinson’s body was found:
This map gives a detailed account how the murder of 16-year-old Jayne MacDonald was carried out in Leeds on June 26, 1977:
It was a rush job to get Peter Sutcliffe to court, and ever since then all of the archives have been sealed tight. So to get new information about the Ripper you have retrace all of the crimes.
We looked through newspapers, spoke to survivors’ families and people who worked in the area. We’ve reconstructed the events as they actually happened. It’s the first time in more than 40 years that the whole Yorkshire Ripper investigation is laid bare.
Through the research, the author believes he’s discovered the real motive for Sutcliffe’s terrible crimes, stating: ‘Most people I spoke to say he thought God told him to kill prostitutes. That claim is nonsense when you consider the people he attacked – who didn’t die – were not prostitutes.’
After carrying out extensive interviews, he believes the Ripper was a necrophiliac who murdered his victims to get sexual pleasure – something he claims started when the murderer worked as a grave digger.
Cobb claimed there were ‘all sorts of quirky morbid stories’ about how Sutcliffe would open the coffins and look at the bodies, stating: ‘During the time he worked as a grave digger, he was getting sexual kicks from the bodies.’
The historian and his team also think Sutcliffe’s murder trousers – which he fashioned out of a green silk shirt and added kneepads on the elbow and a hole in the crotch area – show he was a twisted deviant.
This was designed to kneel over the body exposing himself, and pleasure himself over the body. After he lost his job as a grave digger I think he wanted to find a way of regaining that sexual high.
And that’s when I think he started going out and attacking prostitutes. Hitting them on the back of the head immobilises them, and then they’re lying on the ground resembling a dead body. Sutcliffe then performs his sexual deeds, and he kills them with a knife.
Catching Sutcliffe was the biggest manhunt in British policing history, with the murderer eventually convicted in 1981.
He is still in prison to this day.
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A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).