Ripper hoaxer jailed for eight years

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A man who falsely claimed to be Britain's "Yorkshire Ripper" serial killer was today jailed for eight years for perverting the course of justice.

John Humble, from Sunderland, was charged in October with sending three letters and an audio tape to detectives hunting the killer in the late 1970s.

The claims led police to scour the Sunderland area for the killer, who preyed on prostitutes during a five-year murder spree in northern England. Police said Humble's actions wasted thousands of hours of police time.

The hoax helped to delay the capture of Peter Sutcliffe, a truck driver who was jailed for life in 1981 after admitting he killed 13 women.

Investigators initially discounted Sutcliffe as a suspect because his accent and handwriting did not match those in the audio tape and letters, which police believed were genuine.