Spanish-born mother of seven was killed in the grounds of the Royal
Infirmary, Manchester. She was a small and frail figure.
The crime scene
Billy Tracey knew Vera Millward of old, when his own wife
was on the game in the same area years earlier, while he was doing time in
Strangeways jail in Manchester, where he lived for a period of time. He
never forgot anyone he knew no matter how long since he had seen them.
Vera was not an active soliciting prostitute and very likely went to the
car park of the Infirmary with him because of this old acquaintance. She
trusted him. His hallmarks on the victims body were unmistakable. More
massive publicity ensued. The letters sent to Oldfield two months
previously 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 in letters he posted while visiting
She was an" older" prostitute and "in Manchester again" as he promised in
the letters. This fulfilment of his promise led the police to include the
Jordan murder in the Ripper frame. They couldn't believe that a criminal
would be winding them up in this fashion. But they should have known that
they were dealing with an extraordinary criminal.
Because she was murdered in a car park they wrongly assumed the killer was
a motorist. Tyre tracks found near the scene could have been from
anybody's car who used the park and in any case it is something of a red
herring, because I have never observed tyre impressions on a paved car
park. The police often put out such red herrings to scare the culprit into
panicking. Diaries of victims were another scare tactic often employed by
the police, but it was highly unlikely that the Ripper would give a victim
his name and address. Every known acquaintance of every Ripper victim
became a suspect, especially the nearest and dearest.
Sutcliffe's statement relating to this murder was never published to my
knowledge. The ring of truth that attaches to his own crimes such as Jean
Jordan or Yvonne Pearson, just doesn't exist on his statements of how he
killed the Rippers victims.