From 1975 to 1981 one man cast a pall of fear over the North of England. He committed more than a dozen ritual murders which were attended with a vicious brutality.
He linked the murders by specific atrocities and wrote mockingly to the police while they desperately hunted him.
His victims were mostly prostitutes, some vulnerable poor girls and also ordinary working girls just out late at night.
His modus operandi, or method, was to strike the victims with a hammer blow to the head, drag her if not already in the darkness, into the shadows, sexually assault her, rob her, then mutilate her with a flurry of knife wounds, sometimes biting her on the breasts; redressing and re-arrangement of the clothing, particularly the shoes, and finally covering the remains with her own coat.
In this way twenty three children were left motherless.
They were a terrorising series of murders at irregular intervals, in different cities, over a wide area of Northern England.
They caused widespread ripples of fear and were accompanied by letters from the Ripper to the police, who were hunting him.
These letters promised further murders with chilling accuracy and added a new dimension of a cunning maniac playing games with the police.
More than 300 detectives worked full time on this hunt for three years.
It caused widespread suspicion, interrogation and fear as well as costing more than £4 million pounds.
The Yorkshire Ripper murders apparently came to an end in 1981 with the arrest and subsequent conviction of a bearded lorry driver called Peter William Sutcliffe.
This man confessed to all the Ripper’s acknowledged murders except one, that of Joan Harrison, a poor girl from Preston, Lancashire.