There were five acknowledged Ripper victims in the frame
after the murder of 16 year old shop assistant Jayne MacDonald in Leeds on
June 26th 1977.
George Oldfield was now leading the hunt and there was
massive national publicity about the Yorkshire Ripper.
After Peter Sutcliffe's arrest he stated that "he felt terrible after this
murder, that the devil had got into him and that he was a beast." This
disturbed and sick man had himself committed several assaults on women in
the same general area but there was no publicity about them.
ignored and he was a non entity, There was no linkage to his crimes and no
special squad on them. His blood group and teeth pattern always ensured he
would be eliminated as the Ripper but he didn't know that. The Ripper was
on every policeman's mind. He was the real prize because he was taunting
them with clues.
Even if Sutcliffe had told the West Yorkshire police that
he was the Ripper, they would not detain him after a blood test. The sheer
ferocity of the Ripper's murders, their injuries known only to policemen
and himself, the ritual redressing and arrangement of the bodies and the
clothing, the sexual assaults, the bites and the flesh torn from some
victims with the claws of the hammer, the total package ensured that
nobody could duplicate the act.
Sutcliffe, this disturbed man wished to be caught but he would have to go
outside West Yorkshire if he was going to be caught as the Ripper.
say what went through his mind but I have to go on the evidence of his
crimes and fit it into the jigsaw puzzle of events strictly on the basis
of evidence, both known before his arrest and his own accounts after his
Bear in mind that he was not a known criminal or known to be
violent. His violence stemmed from frustration with a dominating,
incessantly nagging, bossy and sexless wife and when it spilled over he
vented this pent up hatred for her by attacks on other women and
masturbated over their bodies. In this way he had several assaults under
his belt all of which were glancing blows to the head with a stone loaded
sock not resulting in death followed by masturbation over a dazed body
then fleeing the scene.
Most of the victims described him and remembered
him when he was arrested. This looked very convincing at his trial and at
that stage the police wanted to load all of his unsolved crimes into the
Ripper frame to make it look more convincing to a skeptical public. They
moved the goalposts.
Sutcliffe traveled to Manchester to prove he was the Ripper. He picked up
prostitute Jean Jordan in Hulme and drove to Southern Cross Cemetery, a
quiet non residential allotment area. He parked on the side of a busy road
and they walked inside a double hedge.
He struck her on the head 11 times, unlike the Ripper's 2
or 3 heavy blows, and left her body hidden between the hedges. Then he
went home to Bradford.
Frustration set in. Nobody found his victim and
there was no news about a Manchester murder. He returned one week later
and pulled Jean's body out of the concealed hedge. He scattered her
clothing around and used a broken pane of glass from a nearby glasshouse
to slash the stomach and the limbs. On both occasions his car was parked
on the side of a busy motorway but the police didn't notice him.
the body was found and the Manchester police started their investigation.
They combed the scene for any clues and put out an internal police report
to find Jeans handbag.
At a press conference George Oldfield stated that there was no reason to
connect this murder with the Yorkshire ones.
Six days later ,Sutcliffe returned to the scene and planted
Jean's handbag there in which he had placed a brand new five pound note
issued by the bank after her murder. Chief Superintendent Ridgeway, realising he had a nut case on his patch, traveled to Bradford within 48
hours with 30 detectives. He set up an incident room in Baildon and
started checking on the businesses where the note originated. Ridgeway
told the press "we are looking for a very strange man."
As they progressed
through their list of possible's they met Sutcliffe who was moved to a
short list of suspects. Ridgeway and his men left Bradford with a bundle
of statements and reports and the months dragged on.
January 1978 saw the Ripper murder of Helen Rytka followed by a blaze of
publicity. But one week before this murder Peter Sutcliffe had claimed his
next victim whose body was to remain undiscovered for two months.
Pearson was a prostitute soliciting on Lumb Lane on Saturday night 21st
January 1978. She had been standing on the same corner from where Tina
Atkinson had been last seen the night she met the Ripper. She felt so safe
because she was under the gaze of Ripper squad police as live bait, who
reported that she was picked up by a man resembling "a white Asian."
she was reported missing the police sent out internal alerts to trace her.
On the 26th March her body was found where it had lain for more than two
months, concealed under an old settee on waste land at Arthington street
not far from where Sutcliffe had picked her up.
Her arm was sticking out and this led the police to believe her killer had
returned to the scene to ensure the discovery.
revealed a copy of the Daily Mirror dated weeks earlier and containing a
big story about the Ripper murder of Helen Rytka whose body was found on
the 3rd February indicating the killer had returned a second time.
Superintendent Trevor Lapish of Bradford CID told the press "We must now
face the very real possibility that there is a second man preying on women.
It may be that he is jealous of the Ripper. There is no doubt that some
sick people do get unhinged when they read about killers like the Ripper
and they decide to jump on the bandwagon." And "It could be a person
jealous of the publicity the Ripper is getting. As a result of Professor
Gee's post mortem we are able to say that this killing is not in all
probability one of the killings already under investigation. The injuries
do not coincide.""
Before Vera Millward ,a 42 year-old woman who had been a prostitute and
now only had a few private clients for sex but didn't solicit on the
street, was Tracey's next victim.
Detectives examine the scene of Vera Millward's murder
He knew her of old when his own wife was on the game in the
same area years earlier. His hallmarks on the victims body were
unmistakable. More massive publicity ensued. The letters were known only
to the police and the Ripper at that time.
Two weeks later the first
Manchester murder by Peter Sutcliffe was included in the Ripper frame
publicly by the police on the basis of information confided to them by
Billy Tracey. They reasoned that he was bragging rather than winding them
up. From now on Sutcliffe's murder was in the Ripper frame and subsequent
interviews he had with police were in that context. He was never a
candidate and was always eliminated.
The Yorkshire Ripper murder investigation continued over 1978 and 1979
culminating in the huge publicity campaign of Summer 1979 which I chanced
to read about in Ireland.
I decided my information was so sensitive I
would go to the U.K. It would be impossible to explain a man like Tracey
over the phone and very dangerous. I missed my flight booked to Leeds
Bradford and decided to take the next one to Manchester. Having phoned the
Manchester police ahead, I arrived about 8.0 or 9.0 pm. Detectives Page
and Henderson met me at the airport.
The next day I was taken to see Chief Inspector Frank
Atkinson in Longsight police station. Despite a hostile reaction from
every policeman I met I felt that I had done my best and got the message
across. It was now up to them and they didn't want any help from me. They
gave me no feedback and confided nothing in me. I had to pay for the
sandwich they gave me.
The Sunday Telegraph article I had read made no mention of an Irish
suspect. The description of the stocky bearded Irishman identical to
Billy Tracey with rings, tattoos and scars was not known to me for 18 more
months when I read about their number one suspect in a book written by
David Yallop, after Sutcliffe's trial.
The existence of the gap in the Rippers teeth came to me later still.
Tracey has a gap in the same place.
At that time, Tracey never indicated to me that he visited England since
he claimed he voluntarily left it in 1976.
Although he constantly talked
about his life of crime in England he left me in no doubt that he had
never gone back. I had no evidence that he ever visited the U.K. and the
Ripper discovery had shattered me.
Two weeks after my trip to Manchester I
searched his room in my house and tucked away in a drawer I found a
business card with the name" MJT photography" with an address in Skerton
Road, Moss Side in Manchester.
On the back was written in his writing "13th
August 10 days." This was solid evidence that Billy Tracey had been to the
North of England within days of the last Ripper murder of Barbara Leach in
Bradford. It placed this man, a foreigner, who had been deported from
England 4 times and who had no business there, in the murder zone at the
time of the murders.
In all the time he worked for me he never mentioned
the North of England or Manchester. It was always London. This evidence
meant a lot to me for all these reasons. In all probability MJT
photography was a massage parlour or a cover name for a prostitute.
I later found that he stopped in a house in Cecil Street, Moss Side the day
he murdered Mrs Millward.