Coronation Street actor Bruce Jones makes an appearance in Netflix's true-crime doc The Ripper

Laura Jane Turner
·4-min read
Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

From Digital Spy

Note: The following article contains a discussion that some readers may find upsetting.

Yes, that was Coronation Street actor Bruce Jones - who played the iconic role of Les Battersby - in Netflix's new true-crime offering, The Ripper.

The four-part series details the horrendous crimes of serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper, who plagued West Yorkshire and Manchester in the '70s. It also offers a play-by-play of the investigation, and a window into the climate and attitudes of the time.

Why then, did the former soap actor appear in episode two? Well, similarly to many living in the area at that time, Jones had a traumatic personal anecdote to share. His experience was a particularly harrowing one, which he recalled for the filmmakers of the docu-series.

In 1977, Sutcliffe's sixth victim, 20-year-old Jean Jordan, was found on an allotment in Manchester. It had been Jones, at the age of 24, that discovered her body, and he recalled what he saw in the Netflix series.

Photo credit: Netflix
Photo credit: Netflix

"I had a good mate at work and he was a keen gardener. So we got an allotment and we were going to grow our own veg and stuff there," he told the cameras. "It was a lovely, sunny day. I'd got the day off work, he'd got the day off work, we thought we'd go down the allotment and get the shed up.

"I was getting all the old bricks in there to lay a base. And I… I'd only realised later on that I'd rolled my wheelbarrow over this girl."

In the documentary series, Jones was visibly upset when he went on to describe the scene and the injuries that had been inflicted on Jean Jordan.

"She was cut in the most horrendous ways a person could cut someone," he said. "I'd run to the phone box across the road, and rung 999. They were there within minutes."

The police investigation into the Yorkshire Ripper had not thrown up much success, and at that time they had little concrete information and no real suspects.

Bruce Jones was spoken to by authorities, as a result of him finding the body. He talked of the "pure panic" he felt at being linked to the case, as part of a BBC One interview with Piers Morgan in 2008.

Photo credit: Steve Meddle / ITV - ELLEMEN
Photo credit: Steve Meddle / ITV - ELLEMEN

In that same televised interview, it was noted that newspapers had dug up and published this story just as Jones was starting his job on Coronation Street. He described that he felt "ill" when the event resurfaced, and "felt like leaving" his new acting role.

Jones also opened up about feeling as though he lost everything after discovering Sutcliffe's victim. Struggling to deal with what he had seen, he described a need to run away from it all.

In a 2013 interview with the Mirror, he said: "I lost my first marriage, my children."

"I lost everything because of that," he continued. "It actually destroyed me to learn that people can do that to a human being. I had nightmares like you wouldn't believe."

In the same interview, Jones also touched on a number of other difficulties in his life and his experiences with depression.

In 1981, after years of terrorising and brutally killing women, Peter Sutcliffe - who had been questioned by police, as part of the investigation, around nine times - was arrested and charged with the murder of 13 women, as well as the attempted murder of seven others.

For the survivors, those that lost loved ones and those that were personally affected by the fear that he caused, the effects can be life-long.

The Ripper is available on Netflix.

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