Ripper must spend rest of his life behind bars

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The Independent Online

The Yorkshire Ripper will never be released from prison, a judge ruled yesterday. Peter Sutcliffe, who killed 13 women, must serve a "whole life" tariff, said Mr Justice Mitting at the High Court in London.

Now known as Peter Coonan, the former lorry driver, now 64, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, was convicted at the Old Bailey in 1981.

He received 20 life terms for the murder of 13 women and the attempted murder of others in Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. He is being held in Broadmoor top security psychiatric hospital after being transferred from prison in 1984 suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Sutcliffe is said to have believed he was on a "mission from God" to kill prostitutes, although not all of his victims were sex workers. He mutilated their bodies using a hammer, a sharpened screwdriver and a knife.

Psychiatrists were of the opinion that Sutcliffe "suffers from a chronic treatable mental illness for which he has been willing to accept appropriate treatment, which has successfully contained it for many years", the court heard. The judge said he was well-behaved, posed no threat to other inmates and was reported to have shown remorse for his crimes. But he said the number of victims meant a whole life sentence was appropriate.