Ripper will stay in prison for life, says Brown

It is “very unlikely” that Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, will ever be released, the Prime Minister said yesterday.

Doctors at the secure psychiatric hospital Broadmoor reportedly told Sutcliffe’s lawyers that the serial killer, who murdered 13 women and tried to kill seven others in the 1970s and 1980s, was no longer dangerous.

If the Justice Secretary Jack Straw agreed to classify him as low-risk, he could be moved to a medium-security prison and eventually released back into society, The Sun said. But, speaking at his monthly news conference at Downing Street, Gordon Brown said: “I don’t think he will ever be released. Any prisoner held under the Mental Health Act will only be downgraded, as is suggested might happen, if the Mental Health Tribunal is satisfied that it’s safe to do so. We’re not aware of any tribunal being asked for or arranged in relation to this case... in my view it is very unlikely that anything is going to happen that is different from the sentence that has been imposed upon him.”

Sutcliffe, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, was jailed in 1981 for his murder spree across Yorkshire and in Manchester. He was given 20 life sentences and was told by the judge that he would serve a minimum of 30 years. He began his sentence in prison but after three years was diagnosed with schizophrenia and transferred to Broadmoor.