The 13 victims of Peter Sutcliffe: remembering who they were

Peter Sutcliffe has died in prison where he was serving 20 life sentences for the murders of women in West Yorkshire and Manchester.

By Rebecca Marano
Monday, 1st February 2021, 1:04 pm

Serial killer Sutcliffe's five-year reign of terror claimed the lives of thirteen women.

Who were the Yorkshire Ripper's victims?

Sutcliffe's first victim was Wilma McCann, a 28-year-old woman from Chapeltown in Leeds.

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The mother-of-four was killed in the Prince Phillip Playing Fields, near to her home on Scott Hall Road, on October 30 1975.

She was just 28-years-old.

Her son, Richard McCann, who still lives in Leeds has since called on West Yorkshire Police to apologise for the language used to describe some of the victims.

Mr McCann, a motivational speaker, said: "45 years ago, my mum went out drinking. If only I had known what was to come, I maybe would have held her a little bit closer for a little bit longer and told her how much I loved her.

"Because the following morning the pair of us, me and (sister) Sonia, walked to the street looking for my mum and of course we all know what happened next.

"My mum was more than just a 'good time girl' or a 'woman of loose morals', as she was described by the police."

He added: "I want the force once and for all to give some closure and apologise for the way it described some women.

"The things that were said in particular by George Oldfield [former Assistant Chief Constable for West Yorkshire Police] were about some of the victims having 'doubtful morals' and the comments about Jayne MacDonald being an 'innocent victim'. Weren't they all innocent?

"These words, to me, suggested that some lives taken were worth more than others."

Emily Jackson, the mum killed with a hammer

Sutcliffe's second victim was Emily Jackson, 42, from Churwell, near Morley.

Emily, a mother-of-three, lost her 14-year-old son Derek in a freak accident in 1969.

After this, she began working as a sex worker when husband Sydney’s roofing business fell into major financial difficulties.

She and Sutcliffe drove along Roundhay Road before Sutcliffe struck her with a hammer.

She was killed on derelict land near Roundhay Road on January 20 1976.

She was just 42-years-old.

Her eldest son Neil Jackson was 17 when he had to go and identify his mother's body.

He has since written a book about the impact her murder had on his family.

Sutcliffe's third victim was 28-year-old Irene Richardson, from Chapeltown, Leeds.

Irene, who worked as a cleaner, was killed by Sutcliffe in Soldiers Field in Roundhay Park on February 6 1977.

She had two children.

The fourth victim was Patricia Aktinson, 31, from Manningham in Bradford.

Patricia, who was known as Tina, was working as a sex worker when she met Sutcliffe.

He killed her inside her flat on Oak Avenue on April 24 1977.

She had three children.

16-year-old Jayne Macdonald, followed home by Peter Sutcliffe

Sutcliffe's fifth victim was teenage girl Jayne MacDonald.

Jayne, 16, was a shop assistant at Grandways supermarket and had recently left Allerton High School.

Jayne had been enjoying a night out in Leeds city centre when she started walking back to her home on Scott Hall Avenue.

Sutcliffe saw her walking along Chapeltown Road and followed her before attacking her on Reginald Street on June 26 1977.

Her body was discovered the following morning at 9.45 am by children in the playground between Reginald Terrace and Reginald Street.

Wilfred MacDonald, her father, died two years later at the age of 60.

He was buried with his daughter

Killings begin outside West Yorkshire​

Sucliffe killed again on October 1 1977 – taking the life of mother-of-two Jean Jordan.

It was the first time he had killed outside of West Yorkshire.

Jean, from Manchester, lived with her partner lan Royle, and their two children in a Moss Side flat on Lingbeck Crescent.

He killed her in an old allotment near Princess Roads, Chorlton.

Chief Superintendent Ridgway of the Greater Manchester Police took charge of the investigation and recognised immediately the possibility of a link with the crimes in West Yorkshire.

Sutcliffe's seventh victim was 22-year-old Yvonne Pearson from Bradford.

The young mother of two was working on Lumb Lane when she was picked up by Sutcliffe.

They drove to Drummond's Mill where he attacked and killed her on January 21 1978.

Her body was not found until March 1978.

Helen Rytka, from Huddersfield. was Sutcliffe's eighth victim.

Helen had been in care with her twin sister Rita and their two other siblings after the break-up of their parents’ marriage.

When they left care, Helen worked in a sweet packing plant and Rita was at college.

They were both working as sex workers and were in the red-light area around Great Northern Street when Helen met Sutcliffe.

She was killed in Garrard's timber yard on January 31 1978.

The next victim was Vera Millward, 40, from Hulme, in Manchester.

Vera was working as a sex worker when she met Sutcliffe.

They drove to a parking lot at Manchester Royal Infirmary where Sutcliffe attacked and killed her on May 16 1978.

She was a mum of seven.

Josephine Whitaker, killed on her walk home after visiting grandparents

Teenager Josephine Whitaker, was Sutcliffe's tenth victim.

Josephine, a 19-year-old building society worker, had been visiting her grandparents Tom and Mary Priestly on the night of her death.

Her grandma had been at a church party and returned home late.

Josephine was invited to stay the night but decided to walk home as she had work the next day.

She set off at 11.40pm taking a route through Savile Park to her home on Ivy Street.

Sutcliffe followed her through the park and killed her on April 4 1979.

Barbara Leach, a twenty-year-old university student, was Sutcliffe's 11th victim.

She had just been about to start the third year of her social psychology degree.

Barbara had been at the Manville Arms with friends and stayed after closing time to help the landlord collect empties and clear up.

Sutcliffe saw her walking and pulled up in front of her in Ash Grove, Bradford.

He let her walk past him before attacking her from behind, killing her on September 1 1979.

'Working late to make up time before a holiday'​

Sutcliffe's 12th victim was Marguerite Walls, a civil servant from Farsley village in Leeds.

The 47-year-old worked Department of Education and Science office in Pudsey.

She had been working late on August 20 1980 to make up some extra hours as she was going away on holiday the next day.

She left her office between 9:30 pm and 10:30 pm to walk the half mile to her home.

Sutcliffe had been driving to Chapeltown when he saw her walking towards him

He stopped his car to catch up with her and killed her at 11pm.

Her body was found in the garden of a house in New Street.

The 13th and final known victim of Sutcliffe was student Jacqueline Hill.

Jacqueline, 20, was in the third year of her English degree at the University of Leeds.

She had been at a seminar in Leeds city centre on November 17, 1980.

After her seminar, she caught a bus from Cookridge Street at 9pm back to her student halls in Headingley.

She got off at a stop on Otley Road approximately 23 minutes later.

She turned up Alma Road to walk the 100 yards to her residence when Sutcliffe began to follow her.

He attacked and killed her.

Her body was found on wasteland near the Arndale Centre.

'Years of missed opportunities by police'

Sutcliffe avoided detection for years due to a series of missed opportunities by the police.

He eventually confessed in 1981 after he was caught in Sheffield.

Despite his 24-hour-long confession to the killings, Sutcliffe denied the murders when he appeared in court.

In May 1981, he was jailed for 20 life terms at the Old Bailey, with the judge recommending a minimum sentence of 30 years.

More than two decades later, a secret report disclosed that Sutcliffe probably committed more crimes than the 13 murders and seven attempted murders for which he was convicted.

He died aged 74 in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 on Friday, November 13.

A Prison Service spokesman said: “HMP Frankland prisoner Peter Coonan (born Sutcliffe) died in hospital on November 13. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been informed.”