Yorkshire Ripper: How Sheffield police made five calls to investigation team after Peter Sutcliffe arrest
Detectives leading the investigation were convinced the Ripper was a Geordie
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The police offier who arrested the Yorkshire Ripper has revealed how it took five phone calls before the team leading the investigation would question him.
Former trainee PC Bob Hydes, now aged 74, said he called the incident room in Leeds after the arrest of Peter Sutcliffe on Melbourne Avenue, Broomhill, Sheffield, on January 2, 1981, but encountered resistance.
Investigators in the case asked whether he had a Geordie accent and were “not bothered” when told he did not.
Mr Hydes told the Daily Mail he made four calls to no avail before bosses in Sheffield got a senior detective to pressure West Yorkshire to collect Sutcliffe for further questioning.
The shocking revelation adds to a list of police blunders which allowed the Ripper to carry on killing.
Sutcliffe was interviewed nine times between November 1977 and February 1980, and his Sunbeam Rapier car had been seen 39 times in red light areas in the North.
But the officer leading the case, assistant chief constable George Oldfield, was convinced the killer had a North East accent after a hoaxer sent a cassette, in June 1979, claiming responsibility. The decision left Sutcliffe free to kill for more than a year. Two days after his arrest in Sheffield he admitted the murder of 13 women.
Mr Hydes said: “I was so frustrated by what had happened that night, with the delays from West Yorkshire. We knew he was a strong suspect and we also knew there was a risk he'd be set free.”
At trial Sutcliffe was found guilty of 13 counts of murder, and attempting to murder seven others, and was sentenced to 20 concurrent sentences of life imprisonment. He died in hospital on November 13, 2020 after contracting Covid.