John Humble, aged 49, from Sunderland, will appear before magistrates in Leeds this afternoon charged with perverting the course of justice following a breakthrough in the hunt for the hoaxer behind the notorious Yorkshire Ripper tape.
The tape and letters were sent 27 years ago and fooled police into believing the Yorkshire Ripper was from the Castletown area of Sunderland.
Officers in the neighbouring Lancashire force said Humble could now be questioned about the unsolved murder of prostitute Joan Harrison.
The body of the 26-year-old was found in a garage in Preston in November 1975.
Detective Inspector Joe Kellett, of Lancashire Constabulary, said: "We are going to be liaising with our colleagues in West Yorkshire and we will be reviewing our case papers on the Joan Harrison murder.
"Then we will make a decision on whether to go and interview Mr Humble."
Humble was arrested on Tuesday night at his home in Flodden Road. Newspaper reports suggested the breakthrough came after police recovered the infamous hoax letters that were believed to have been lost and unearthed new DNA evidence.
The hoax letters and tape, from a man with a strong Sunderland accent who claimed to have carried out the Ripper murders, taunted officers and diverted vital resources from the investigation - as Peter Sutcliffe went on to kill three more times.
A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police refused to confirm reports that the arrest arose from a "cold case review" by the force's new Homicide and Major Enquiry Team.
The squad is known to have been using state-of-the-art DNA techniques to check for breakthroughs in cases.
It is understood the envelopes the letters came in may still exist, raising the possibility they could provide a DNA profile of the hoaxer through saliva traces.
The force refused to comment on suggestions that it was an apparent DNA match that led to the breakthrough.
Humble was arrested at the two-bedroom council house he shares in Flodden Road, in the Ford area of Sunderland.
Neighbours said he lived there with his brother after separating from his wife.
Yorkshire Ripper Sutcliffe, from Bradford, now 59, was jailed for life in 1981 for the murder of 13 women.
In the late 1970s and 1980 his murders brought terror across the north of England and there was huge pressure on the West Yorkshire Police murder team, headed by Assistant Chief Constable George Oldfield.
But the inquiry - the biggest manhunt Britain had ever seen - was led down a blind alley by the three letters and a tape sent to the investigation team by a man dubbed Wearside Jack due to his strong Sunderland accept.
The first letter was sent to Mr Oldfield in March 1978. The second was sent to the Daily Mirror and the third to Mr Oldfield again.
The tape was also sent to the detective and taunted him and his officers.
In July 1979 Mr Oldfield played the chilling two-minute message to a spellbound nation.
It began: "I'm Jack. I see you are still having no luck catching me. I have the greatest respect for you, George, but Lord, you are no nearer catching me now than four years ago when I started. I reckon your boys are letting' you down, George. They can't be much good, can they?"
The veteran detective announced he was sure it was the voice of the Ripper and a huge police effort was directed to the Sunderland area.
Linguistics expert Stanley Ellis concluded the voice on the tape came from a man from the former pit village of Castletown, Sunderland.
Suspicion hung over the small community for another year-and-a-half until Sutcliffe was caught in Sheffield early in 1981.
Sutcliffe had been questioned a number of times by the investigation team but was eliminated from the inquiry. Many believe this was because of his West Yorkshire accent as detectives were looking for someone from the North East.
The biggest controversy over the Wearside Jack tape and letters was whether Mr Oldfield's decision to concentrate so much effort on it meant Sutcliffe was able to murder three more women while the police were distracted.
Mr Oldfield died in 1985. Sutcliffe is currently in Broadmoor Special Hospital.Reuse content