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Evil serial killer Peter Sutcliffe has taken his twisted secrets to the grave after dying of coronavirus.
The Yorkshire Ripper, one of Britain’s most notorious killers, terrorised women in the 70s and early 80s.
He was serving a whole life term for murdering 13 women across Yorkshire and the North West.
The sex beast prowled Yorkshire and the north east “like a tornado” battering women with a hammer and mutilating their bodies.
He died aged 74 in hospital, the Prison Service confirmed.
Sutcliffe had apparently refused ALL treatment at University Hospital of North Durham.
The childhood home of Peter Sutcliffe at Manor Road Cottingley
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His lungs failed overnight and he was pronounced dead at 1.10am, with no visitors by his bedside because of coronavirus restrictions.
The Ripper had previously signed ‘do not resuscitate forms’.
Apparently he believed he would ‘go to heaven’ after his death because he had become a Jehovah’s Witness.
He had been back and forth from maximum security HMP Frankland but had recently tested positive for Covid-19 and returned to the Durham hospital.
A Prison Service spokesman said: “HMP Frankland prisoner Peter Coonan (born Sutcliffe) died in hospital on November 13.”
Today the families of those he killed likened him to “hitler” and survivors reacted with joy after hearing the “monster” was dead.
Peter Sutcliffe has died in hospital
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But many were also angry he had twisted the knife one last time by not confessing to his other crimes.
It has been claimed he could have killed another 22 women and attacked a dozen more.
Police have quizzed him about 17 other crimes but took no further action.
Tracey Browne, who was 14 when she was left her for dead, exclusively talked to The Mirror about her relief.
“It’s like a big cloud that’s eventually lifted. That elephant in the room has gone,” she said.
“But I feel sorry for the other victims and all the other survivors who haven’t had their confession He has taken it to the grave with him.
Survivor Tracy Browne is believed to be one of the earliest to be targeted
“I feel angry that he’s confessed with me but never been charged or convicted. I was forgotten and not listened to. West Yorkshire Police let me down big time.
“He’s evil but he’s made me a stronger person. I know this sounds like a cliché ‘but what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger’.
“Every challenge that gets thrown at me I can deal with partly because what he did.”
She was not named on the charge sheet for the Ripper’s trial and it was only in 1992 that Sutcliffe finally confessed to the attack which happened near her home in Silsden, West Yorkshre, while talking with former police boss Keith Hellawell.
In his disturbing confession, Sutcliffe, admitted: “I saw this Tracy Browne. She didn’t look 15, she looked 19 or 20. She were all dressed up.
She were walking slowly up this lane.
“I thought, ‘Oh, she’s probably one of these prostitutes’ because I had it in my mind Silsden must be full of prostitutes.
Police search for clues at the murder scene of Barbara Leach
“Anyway, I hit her with a branch or something, didn’t really injure her,
and threw her over a wall. I climbed over and I was thinking of bumping her off and this voice said, ‘Stop, stop. It’s a mistake’.”
Another survivor told how she still suffers from the effects of his attack in Leeds in May 1976, 44 years on.
Marcella Claxton, who was left needing more than 50-stitches after being over the head with a hammer said she was “happy” the Yorkshire Ripper had died.
She said: “I’m happy he’s gone. I’ve thought about what he did to me every day since and although the news that’s he’s died brings those horrible memories back at least now I may be able to get some closure.
“I’m hoping it will bring me a little peace knowing he’s no longer with us.
“I have to live with my injuries, 54 stitches in my head, back and front, plus I lost a baby, I was four months pregnant. I still get headaches, dizzy spells and black outs.”
Tracey Browne was bludgeoned with a hammer by serial killer Peter Sutcliffe
(Image: BBC/Wall to Wall))
Richard McCann, whose mum was Sutcliffe’s first victim, likened him to “Hitler.
His mum Wilma McCann, 28, Leeds, October 1975 when Richard was just five years old.
She was hit with a hammer and stabbed 15 times and her young son was left terrified he ws next.
He suffered a double tragedy after his sister, Sonia Newlands, 39, killed herself in 2007 unable to cope with the loss.
Richard, now a motivational speaker, said: “He ruined so many lives and he has gone down in history in the same league as Hitler.
“He went out there with tools and implements and murdered people again and again and again.
“He was like a tornado that went through Yorkshire and the north of England.
“I was convinced as a child…that he was out there and that he was going to kill me,” he said.
Peter Sutcliffe took his evil secrets to the grave with him
“I am sorry to hear he has passed away. It’s not something I could have said in the past when I was consumed with anger.”
He said he has been “ashamed” of being associated with Sutcliffe.
“I’ve had to live with that shame for all these years. There’s only one person that should have felt any shame – although I doubt that he did – and that was Peter Sutcliffe.”
Sutcliffe’s second victim, was Emily Jackson, 42, who was killed in Leeds, in January 1976.
Yesterday her son, builder Neil Jackson, now 62, and a grandfather, from Leeds, told how he wished he could go to the pub and celebrate.
He said: “I immediately thought ‘thank f**k for that’. It is such a relief that he’s gone.
“It will save this country some money.
“Over the years it has riled and angered me how much money he has cost the taxpayer, for his care and comforts.
Julie and her mum together in 2011
“His death may free up some money and be able to pay for the vital nurses we need right now.
“It’s sickening that he has lived this comfortable life, costing the nation a fortune, while we, the victims, have received nothing.
“When my mum was killed when I was 17-and-a-half we had no support, no compensation, nothing.
“Whatever I have gone through I have had to do it alone, with no help whatsoever. I have had a hard life and I wouldn’t like to live it again.
“That man should have been hanged. He shouldn’t have cost us a penny.
“My son rang me this morning to ask if I’d seen the news and to check that I’m okay. I do feel okay.
“If the pub were open I would be down there having a drink.”
The family of Olive Smelt, who was battered with a hammer and slashed with a pickaxe in 1975, welcomed the news.
Olive survived the attack but passed away in 2011.
Her daughter Julie Lowry said: “I think it’s about time, Sutcliffe should have died a long time ago.
“He’s taken a lot of people’s lives away from them. I’m not sad, not at all “It’s a bit of closure. We’ve had to live with what he did all our lives.
Not just us but all victims and their families, people whose lives he affected and destroyed.
“I think he’s been kept in luxury for how many odd years, so I won’t shed a tear or share any grief at this news.”
Former police officer Bob Bridgestock, who worked on the hunt for Sutcliffe, said he “won’t be shedding any tears”.
And this week Sutcliffe’s brother Carl told the Mirror how he would be “relieved” when his sibling finally dies describing the family’s ordeal as a “nightmare”.
Sutcliffe was convicted in 1981 and spent 30 years in Broadmoor Hospital in Berkshire, after being diagnosed as schizophrenic after claiming ‘voices from God’ told him to go out and kill.
He was transferred to HMP Frankland in 2016 after being deemed stable enough to serve time in prison.
Sutcliffe had been blind when he died after being stabbed in the eye in prison and having a detached retina in his second eye because of diabetes.
When he died he weighed more than 20 stone and had recently had a heart attack.
Asked about Sutcliffe’s death, Boris Johnson ’s spokesman replied: “The Prime Minister’s thoughts today are with those who lost their lives,survivors and with the families and friends of Sutcliffe’s victims.
“Peter Sutcliffe was a depraved and evil individual whose crimes caused unimaginable suffering and appalled this country.
“Nothing will ever detract from the harm that he caused but it is right that he died behind bars for his barbaric murders and for his attempted murders.”