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Yorkshire Ripper will die in jail, rules court

The notorious crimes committed by Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe -- who is never to be released -- were described as being at the "extreme end of horror" by top judges yesterday.

Four British Court of Appeal judges dismissed an appeal by the serial killer against an order that he must serve a "whole life" term.

Sutcliffe, now 64, received 20 life terms for the murder of 13 women and the attempted murder of others in Yorkshire and Greater Manchester after being convicted in 1981.

Rejecting his challenge against a High Court judge's decision last year that he can never be freed, the judges said an examination of the "entire catalogue of the offences as a whole demonstrates that this was criminal conduct at the extreme end of horror".

Sutcliffe, a former lorry driver, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, was dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper because he mutilated the bodies of his victims using a hammer, a sharpened screwdriver and a knife.


He was to tell psychiatrists who examined him that while working in a graveyard in 1967 he heard a voice, which he took to be a divine voice, which eventually told him it was his mission to kill prostitutes.

In yesterday's ruling, the judges said the "passage of time does not make the appellant's account at trial of how he came to commit these offences any more likely to be credible now than it was then".

The "sheer abnormality of his actions themselves suggest some element of mental disorder". But added: "There is, however, no reason to conclude that the appellant's claim that he genuinely believed that he was acting under divine instruction to fulfil God's will carries any greater conviction now than it did when it was rejected by the jury.

"Even accepting that an element of mental disturbance was intrinsic to the commission of these crimes, the interests of justice require nothing less than a whole-life order.

"That is the only available punishment proportionate to these crimes."

Irish Independent