Yorkshire Ripper hoaxer 'Wearside Jack' found dead

The man who conned detectives into believing he was the Yorkshire Ripper has died after drinking himself to death.

Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 07:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th August 2019, 16:05 pm

John Humble, from Sunderland, died at the age of 63, with his death certificate listing chronic alcohol misuse and heart disease as the cause of death.

In 1978, Humble sent a tape recording and letters to the detective leading the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper, in which he claimed to be the serial killer who went on to murder 13 women in total.

Peter Sutcliffe

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The recording and letters, which diverted police attention away from the real killer, allowed Peter Sutcliffe to murder three other victims.

Humble, who used the name ‘Wearside Jack’ in his hoax communications with West Yorkshire Police – the force which led the hunt for the Ripper – threw police off the scent, with detectives believing they were looking with a killer with a north-east accent.

John Humble

Three other women were killed while detectives searched for ‘Wearside Jack’.

In the tape sent to Assistant Chief Constable George Oldfield, he said: "I'm Jack. I see you are having no luck catching me.

"I have the greatest respect for you George, but Lord, you are no nearer catching me now than four years ago when I started. I reckon your boys are letting you down, George. They can’t be much good can they?

“At the rate I’m going I should be in the book of records. I’ll keep on going for quite a while yet. I can’t see myself being nicked just yet.”

On his arrest in 2005, Humble said: “I shouldn’t have done it. I know that, because it’s evil.”

The real Yorkshire Ripper, Sutcliffe, is serving life for the murders of 13 women in West Yorkshire in a killing spree between 1975 and 1981.

He also attempted to murder seven other people.

Sutcliffe was arrested in Sheffield.

He had always been a suspect and was interviewed nine times by detectives during the police probe.

Humble was identified as the hoaxer nearly 30 years after he sent the tape and letters, when DNA samples from the envelopes they were sent in were entered into the national database and a match was discovered.

His DNA had been taken when he was arrested for being drunk and disorderly in 2001.

Humble was convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice in 2006 and given an eight-year prison sentence.