Bad not mad: Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe to leave Broadmoor and go back to jail

Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe is set to move out of Broadmoor psychiatric hospital and back into jail after a mental health tribunal ruled him sane enough to do so.

Peter Sutcliffe. The Yorkshire Ripper.

The serial killer, 70, has spent 32 years inside the high-security institution in Berkshire after murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven more between 1976 and 1981.

He has been there since 1984 when he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia after being jailed for life in 1981.

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Sutcliffe, a former lorry driver from Heaton, Bradford, now uses his mother’s maiden name and calls himself Peter Coonan. The decision of the health tribunal has been referred to the Ministry of Justice, which still needs to confirm the move.

Yorkshire Ripper. Peter Sutcliffe, covered by a blanket and handcuffed to a police officer, is taken into Dewsbury Magistrates' Court after his arrest in 1981.

Last December, psychiatrists who examined Sutcliffe declared him no longer mentally ill and recommended he be returned to an ordinary prison.

Richard McCann, the Leeds son of Wilma McCann, Sutcliffe’s first victim, said at the time: “If that is what the MoJ decide, I am fine with that.

“I can understand why some people want to see him in prison. None of this will bring my mum back and where he is locked up does not really change anything.”

Sutcliffe, who was dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper because he mutilated the bodies of his victims using a hammer, a sharpened screwdriver and a knife, was given 20 life terms for his crimes.

Broadmoor hospital near to Crowthorne in Berkshire, as the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe is set to move out of the psychiatric hospital and back into jail after a mental health tribunal ruled him sane enough to do so, sources said. Pic: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

He was caught when police in Sheffield found him with a prostitute in his car. They became suspicious and discovered he had a fake licence plate and weapons including a screwdriver and hammer in the boot.

He told psychiatrists who gave evidence at his trial, that while working in a graveyard in 1967 he heard a voice, which he took to be divine, that eventually told him it was his mission to kill or eradicate prostitutes.

However, not all his victims were sex workers. Towards the end of his killing spree, which began and ended in Leeds, his victims were picked seemingly randomly and Yorkshire was gripped by genuine fear as police warned that no woman was safe while he was at large.

His final victim was a student, Jacqueline Hill, who was murdered as she returned to her halls of residence in Headingley.

Yorkshire Ripper. Peter Sutcliffe, covered by a blanket and handcuffed to a police officer, is taken into Dewsbury Magistrates' Court after his arrest in 1981.

At his Old Bailey trial in 1981, the judge, Mr Justice Boreham, called Sutcliffe beyond redemption, and said he hoped he would never leave prison.

Court of Appeal judges dismissed an appeal in 2011 by Sutcliffe, ruling: “Even accepting that an element of mental disturbance was intrinsic to the commission of these crimes, the interests of justice require nothing less than a whole-life order.”

Before he was moved to Broadmoor, Sutcliffe spent three years at Parkhurst prison on the Isle of Wight.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Peter Coonan will remain locked up and will never be released for his evil crimes.

Broadmoor hospital near to Crowthorne in Berkshire, as the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe is set to move out of the psychiatric hospital and back into jail after a mental health tribunal ruled him sane enough to do so, sources said. Pic: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

“Decisions over whether prisoners are to be sent back to prison from secure hospitals are based on clinical assessments made by independent medical staff.

“The High Court ordered in 2010 that Peter Coonan should never be released. This was upheld by the Court of Appeal.

“Our thoughts are with Coonan’s victims and their families.”

Sutcliffe was reported to have suffered a heart attack in Broadmoor in 2014, and was said by “friends” to be “close to death”.

He also suffers from diabetes, and lost an eye in an attack by a fellow inmate.

Last year, Broadmoor itself was rated inadequate by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission, with concerns raised about patients being physically restrained too often.