Netflix’s newest true-crime series ‘The Ripper’ focuses on British serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, a.k.a. the ‘Yorkshire Ripper.’ Here are 5 key things to know about Peter and his shocking crimes.
The true-crime obsession continues with Netflix’s The Ripper, a 4-episode docuseries that follows the “Yorkshire Ripper” that is streaming now. The serial killer, later identified as Peter Sutcliffe, terrified people in northern Britain over a 5-year span. He eluded capture by police, which resulted in an expansive search to find him. So, who is Peter Sutcliffe? HollywoodLife has rounded up the key facts you need to know about one of Britain’s most notorious killers.
1. Peter Sutcliffe committed at least 13 murders. Peter murdered at least 13 women and assaulted 7 others in northern England from 1975 to 1980. His first victim was a 28-year-old woman named Wilma McCann. She was a sex worker and a mother, according to Biography. His murderous rampage sparked a years-long manhunt. Peter, who was dubbed the “Yorkshire Ripper,” was eventually found guilty of 13 murders and 7 counts of attempted murder in 1981. Peter was sentenced to 20 life terms, with the judge recommending a minimum sentence of 30 years. He had married his wife, Sonia, in 1974. Despite his conviction, Sonia stayed married to Peter. They officially divorced in 1994.
2. He was arrested after a years-long manhunt. Peter was arrested on Jan. 2, 1981. Police spotted his fake license plates while he was in his car with sex worker Olivia Reivers. Following a search, police found a hammer and a knife stashed nearby that Peter had hidden from them.
3. Peter confessed to the murders he committed. After his arrest and during his interrogation, he told police, “It’s all right, I know what you’re leading up to. The Yorkshire Ripper. It’s me. I killed all those women.” When his trial came around months later, Peter actually pleaded guilty to manslaughter but not guilty to murder. He claimed “diminished responsibility,” which is similar to pleading insanity in the U.S. He said during his trial that “he was on a mission from God to kill prostitutes,” according to CNN. Peter’s “diminished responsibility” plea did not help him in the end.
4. He was attacked while serving his sentence. Peter spent most of his time after he was sentenced at Broadmoor Hospital, a high-security psychiatric facility in Crowthorne, England, after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. In 1997, an inmate stabbed Peter in the face, which resulted in him losing vision in his left eye.
5. Peter died of COVID-19 related complications in 2020. Peter died on Nov. 13, 2020, at the age of 74. He was reportedly hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19. The serial killer was “in ill-health, was obese and had diabetes, but reportedly refused treatment,” according to The Guardian. Two weeks prior, Peter had been treated for a suspected heart attack.