How and where was the Yorkshire Ripper caught?

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Police spent five years pursuing the elusive killer - but Peter Sutcliffe was actually caught on a trivial pretext.

Sutcliffe was stopped by police in Sheffield in January 1981, because they suspected his car had false number plates.

Melbourne Avenue in Sheffield

Melbourne Avenue in Sheffield

He was in the company of a 24-year-old prostitute called Olivia Reivers at the time, and was parked up in the driveway of the Light Trades House on Melbourne Avenue in the suburb of Broomhill. Broomhill is an affluent area and the street is close to the fee-paying Sheffield High School for Girls and the Rutland Hotel. Melbourne Avenue cannot be viewed on Google Street View.

Sutcliffe was transferred to Dewsbury to be interviewed, as he matched many of the known characteristics of the Ripper. A knife, hammer and rope he had discarded after telling police he needed to urinate were discovered near the scene of his arrest when officers returned the next day. A second knife had been hidden in a police station toilet before he was searched.

During the search, he was found to be wearing an upside-down V-neck jumper under his trousers which exposed his genital area. He also wore elbow padding. He admitted to being the Ripper after two days of questioning. He described all of the attacks, and only denied the murder of one woman he was suspected of killing, Joan Harrison. Notorious hoaxer Wearside Jack had linked Joan’s death to the Ripper spree, and it was not until 2011 that DNA evidence proved that a convicted sex offender, Christopher Smith, had actually killed her.