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True Crime February 1991
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Sutcliffe’s five-year spree of bestial atrocities has naturally attracted a great deal of interest and adverse publicity. So much has come under public scrutiny from the police handling of the case, the derisory amounts of compensation the victims received in comparison to the riches which were heaped on those with exclusive stories to sell – to the very area of Yorkshire itself. Brian Marriner points out that Yorkshire has bred a great many mass killers. christie came from Halifax, the Moors Murderers from Hattersley, Wakefield yielded Haigh, and Donald Neilson, the Black Panther, came from Bradford. Even legal killers, public executioners who took more lives than any of them (James Berry from Heckmondwike and the Pierrepoint brothers from Bradford) were born and bred in Yorkshire.
Finally, God was brought into the whole appalling saga – blamed for the unspeakable evil perpetrated by Peter Sutcliffe. For if Sutcliffe is to be believed, it was God who sent him forth on his mission to kill women.
The Sutcliffe case, being kept alive in a deluge of recriminations, will not be forgotten in a hurry. Yet police who were so misled for so long over the Ripper case managed to foil Mark Rowntree, who was operating in the same area at the same time. This second Yorkshire Ripper, captured by police lying in wait for him to come home after a double killing, got little publicity on a national level. Police efficiency does not make quite such interesting material for the press as police inefficiency, but when you read the story, you will probably agree that the capture of Rowntree took skill and deserves praise.