The 13 women murdered by the Yorkshire Ripper

By Tom Wilkinson, PA
·6-min read

Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe’s five-year reign of terror claimed the lives of 13 women. They were:

– Wilma McCann, 28, from Chapeltown, Leeds. Killed in October 1975.
The mother-of-four had been out drinking before Sutcliffe picked her up in his Ford Capri.
He later told police she asked if he wanted “business” before he drove them to playing fields near her home, where he murdered her.
Her son Richard McCann, just five at the time of her murder, has become a motivational speaker and gives talks about overcoming adversity.

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Richard McCann, the son of the Yorkshire Ripper’s first recognised victim Wilma McCann (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

– Emily Jackson, 42, a mother-of-three from Morley, Leeds. Killed on January 20 1976.
The month before, according to reports, she and her husband Sydney had agreed she would start doing sex work due to the financial pressures they faced.
Sutcliffe picked her up outside the Gaiety pub in Roundhay where her husband was drinking inside.
He drove about half a mile to the Manor Industrial Estate where he murdered her with a hammer.
Hearing of Sutcliffe’s death, her son Neil Jackson told YorkshireLive: “Thank f*** for that.”

– Irene Richardson, 28, a mother-of-two from Chapeltown, Leeds. Killed on February 5 1977.
The Glasgow-born victim was living in a bed and breakfast in Leeds’s red light district when she was picked up by the Ripper close to the Gaiety pub.
He drove to Roundhay Park, close to where he had previously attacked a woman who survived, and attacked her with a hammer after she got out of the car to urinate. He ripped her clothes and stabbed her in the abdomen and neck.

– Patricia Atkinson, 32, a mother-of-three from Manningham, Bradford. Killed on April 23 1977.
The divorcee, known as Tina, had been out in local pubs when Sutcliffe picked her up while kerb crawling. He went back to her flat where he savagely attacked her. He left a crucial piece of evidence at the scene – police retrieved a print of his size seven boot. It was the same as he left at the scene of Emily Jackson’s murder.

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Lorry driver Peter Sutcliffe, under a blanket, arriving at Dewsbury Magistrates’ Court (PA)

– Jayne MacDonald, 16, a shop assistant from Leeds. Killed on June 26 1977.
The Bay City Rollers fan was his youngest murder victim, although he did attack a 14-year-old who survived. Ms MacDonald’s murder sparked a huge public outcry and an increase in publicity that a serial killer was on the loose.
She had been on a night out in Leeds and was walking home after she missed the last bus when Sutcliffe pounced. Her body was found in a children’s playground in Chapeltown.
Police were to describe her as a “respectable young girl” who was attacked by chance.
Relatives were to later object to the police classifying victims as prostitutes and non-prostitutes.

– Jean Jordan, 20, from Manchester. Killed between September 30 and October 11 1977.
The Scottish-born sex worker was the Ripper’s first victim outside Yorkshire. He crossed the Pennines to pick her up from a red light district in Moss Side where she was living. He paid her £5 for sex and that banknote was another key piece of evidence he left at a crime scene. He attacked Ms Jordan by allotments with his hammer and hid her body.
It was only later he remembered that he had left the new note on her body, and returned to the crime scene the following weekend, becoming enraged when he could not find the cash, and mutilated her corpse further.
The police found the note in her handbag some time later and were able to identify from its serial number that it had been paid in a batch of pay packets days before the murder.

– Yvonne Pearson, 21, from Bradford. Murdered between January 20 and March 26 1978.
Sutcliffe murdered the mother-of-two near the mill where his father worked after he picked her up in Bradford. He was disturbed by another motorist during his deadly attack and had to hide her, still alive, before the car drove off. It was some weeks before she was discovered as it was wrongly thought she had gone to ground to avoid an upcoming court case.

– Helen Rytka, 18, from Huddersfield. Murdered on January 31 1978.
The twin’s murder showed police that Sutcliffe had widened his range from just the large red light districts of Leeds, Bradford and Manchester. He attacked Ms Rytka after picking her up and driving to a nearby timber yard. He hit her with a hammer close to two unsuspecting taxi drivers, had sex with her, then fatally stabbed her before leaving her body behind a stack of wood.

– Vera Millward, 40, a mother-of-seven from Manchester. Killed on May 16 1978.
Sutcliffe picked up the frail sex worker from Hulme and drove her to a secluded area of the Manchester Royal Infirmary car park where he attacked her with his hammer. Ms Millward tried to fight him off and a man was later to tell police he heard a woman scream three times.
Her body was dumped near a fence and was discovered by gardeners the next morning.

– Josephine Whitaker, 19, a building society worker from Halifax. Killed on April 4 1979.
With police closely monitoring red light districts across the North, Sutcliffe began to indiscriminately attack women wherever he could. He was cruising in Halifax when he came across Ms Whittaker while she walked home from visiting her grandparents.
He followed her on foot and attacked her in Savile Park with his hammer and a sharpened screw driver.

– Barbara Leach, 20, a student. Murdered while walking in Bradford on September 1 1979.
The third year social psychology student had been out with friends at a pub near the city centre when she decided to go for a late night walk.
Sutcliffe had been driving around when he spotted her and attacked her after she walked past his parked car. He hit her over the head with a hammer then dragged her into a backyard, hiding her body under a piece of carpet. She was just 200 yards from where she had left her friends.

– Marguerite Walls, 47, a civil servant from Leeds. Murdered on August 20 1980.
She had worked late at the Department of Education and Science office in Pudsey because she was about to go on holiday when she was attacked as she walked home. Sutcliffe spotted her as he was driving, parked up and lay in wait. He hit her with a hammer than strangled her with a rope, leading police to initially believe that this was not a Yorkshire Ripper murder.

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Marguerite Walls was the 12th murder victim of Peter Sutcliffe (PA)

– Jacqueline Hill, 20, a student. Killed in Headingley on November 17 1980.
The Middlesbrough-born final victim was in her final year of an English degree and had attended a probation officer’s seminar on the night she was murdered. Sutcliffe was in the area after eating a Kentucky Fried Chicken meal and picked his victim by chance after seeing her walking along the pavement. After hitting her with his hammer, he dragged her off the road then attacked her with a screwdriver, almost being spotted by a motorist before he escaped.