Wilma McCann


Wilma McCann worked as a prostitute in Leeds. She was the first publicly acknowledged victim of the Ripper, who was to be branded as such after the linked murder of Emily Jackson in Leeds on the 20th January 1976 some 11 weeks later. Jackson’s murder was immediately linked to the murder of Wilma McCann because they were both prostitutes and in the same area and within a short interval of time and both were murdered with brutal violence by only 2 or 3 blows to the head, accompanied by sexual ritual. The Ripper was believed to have used a stone or some other blunt instrument to strike her down first. The subsequent murders were carried out with a hammer. Wilma had her throat cut. She received multiple stab wounds and was stripped. B blood semen was found on her. Only minimal details were released by police about her injuries.


Wilma McCann was the mother of four children

The police probably have other linking factors never disclosed but these murders were always linked as Ripper murders. Hammer attacks were unheard of at that time although they are not unheard of now. Killer blows to the head, prostitutes, Leeds and timing, were the linking factors.


Police (Right) make an inch by inch search of the murder scene


The murder scene

The knife that Tracey used to stab Wilma was to be buried into prostitute Barbara Booth’s skull only nine weeks later in another part of Leeds. That murder was quickly taken off the books by Detective Dick Holland with the arrest of Mark Rowntree. If the murderer did not go on to taunt the West Yorkshire police with more linked murders these would have been forgotten about in time and put down to pimp violence. But this was not an ordinary man. This was a man on a mission to show the police that he was unafraid of them and hated them. This was a criminal of the most violent type who was taunting the police and chose to link some of his crimes deliberately so that they would be in the same frame. This was a man who knew he was inviting serious attention to himself and the attention of every policeman.