It was exactly a fortnight after the murder of Jayne
McDonald in Leeds, a murder which triggered headlines in all the media
decrying the Yorkshire Ripper. Sutcliffe says he was greatly affected by
this murder. He knew from his own assaults the logistics of committing an
attack. He thought he could end the Ripper terror that was gripping the
area and he felt some sort of responsibility for arousing the Ripper. It
was 2.0 am, the exact time as the McDonald murder in Leeds.
Maureen Long was a respectable mother of three who had a
night out at the Mecca ballroom in Manningham. Manningham contains a long
back street called Lumb Lane, the area most associated with prostitution
in Bradford. Prostitutes may drink in the bars with their boyfriends but
when looking for business they stand conspicuously at intervals along Lumb
Lane and it is pretty obvious to anyone what their business is. They will
get into a car for sex once the price is agreed and some may take clients
to their homes close by or to a dark parking lot.
Most of these girls have a boyfriend or pimp. Some are on
the streets by choice usually to feed their kids or perhaps a drug habit.
Others are there through fear of violence from a pimp who lives off her.
The disturbed Peter Sutcliffe was prowling the area feeling he was in some
way responsible for the Ripper murders. He may have had a recent roasting
from his wife Sonia which triggered his action. His attack on Marcella
Claxton in Leeds was followed by three murders at regular intervals by the
Ripper. He, better than anyone knew that the Ripper was a reality. He read
the papers and was influenced by them. Maureen Long was waiting alone for
a taxi on the street.
She was happy, carefree, a bit drunk and vulnerable.
Sutcliffe, who was anything but horny, stopped and offered her a ride
home. He may even have thought he was protecting her from the Ripper, whom
he alone knew was prowling these streets at this time. He took her home
but her husband was in the house and she let Sutcliffe know she fancied
him and would have sex with him. Sutcliffe would have left her at home if
she hadn't wanted to have sex with him. Now he drove to a wasteland spot
nearby at her request and there Sutcliffe, who could not be sexually
aroused at will, battered her with his stone loaded sock in anger with her
A white Ford car was seen by a witness speeding away.
Maureen was found half conscious and with serious head injuries. She could
not give accurate information about her attacker or his car to police. The
crime was always linked by police to the Rogulsky and Smelt attacks and
little more was revealed by police. Until Sutcliffe's arrest it was always
regarded as only a possible Ripper attack but after his arrest it became a
definite Ripper attack and the injuries were exaggerated. They said she
was stabbed in the chest , abdomen and back three or four times but her
recovery shows that they were not life threatening wounds, more likely
scratch marks from his nails as he fumbled with her underclothes while
masturbating as he did in his earlier attacks.
Even if he ejaculated on her clothes the police would be
unlikely to discover semen. Sex was not considered a motive. Such a
strange sex attack was unheard of. They did it in the case of Lesley
Moleseed because she was murdered and a minute murder investigation took
place. They also found semen in the case of Tracey Browne and this was
never in the Ripper frame because of that. In the Smelt and Rogulsky
attacks both victims were taken to hospital and their clothes removed
there. Who would think of looking for semen on the clothes when they were
regarded as vicious unprovoked attacks, an oversight that caused much
Of course this was something Sutcliffe was at pains to deny
when he was arrested, preferring to use his Mission from God motive. The
M.O. was not Ripper style and indeed this attack did not go into the
Ripper frame until much later when the copy cat's crimes were to be
included with the Ripper's. It was always in that " gray " area that
George Oldfield referred to later. Oldfield was only just coming to grips
with the responsibility for the Ripper investigation and he was making
extensive use of the media. He initially thought it was the Ripper, who
had been disturbed and fled.
This attack, coming so soon after he took over the
investigation ensured much publicity for Sutcliffe's crime for the first
time. There seems no doubt that Sutcliffe was responsible for this attack.
There is much corroborating evidence and his statement is plausible and
detailed, unlike his statements about the Ripper's murders which lack
corroboration, are at odds with the facts and which are all reminiscent of
statements of his actual assaults. In addition, the fact of the matter is,
that the police did not regard this attack as a Ripper attack.
It lacked the Ripper's profile in every way. They knew the
Ripper was unambiguous, but they had no inkling that there were two
killers on the job, the one a calculating and sexually depraved dangerous
psychopath, who would soon be writing to them; the other a sexually
inadequate man, uncaring for his future and on a mission to end the Ripper
terror that was gripping West Yorkshire. The police always had their
sights set on the Ripper and anyone else would be unimportant to them.