Inquest into death of Peter Sutcliffe to examine final 17 days of his life

An inquest into the death of serial killer Peter Sutcliffe will concentrate on the last 17 days of his life.

The 74-year-old died from Covid-19 last November, having fallen ill in prison on October 27, a pre-inquest review was told.

Sutcliffe, who changed his name to Coonan, had been suffering from increasing breathlessness and needed additional levels of oxygen.

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The serial killer was transferred from jail to the University Hospital of North Durham, where he died on November 13.

University Hospital of North Durham, where Peter Sutcliffe died on November 13
University Hospital of North Durham, where Peter Sutcliffe died on November 13

He had been serving a life sentence at HMP Frankland in Durham for the murders of 13 women in the 1970s across Yorkshire and the North.

Before he was caught in 1980, his spree terrified much of northern England.On Wednesday, assistant senior coroner for County Durham Crispin Oliver set out the scope of the inquest, which will be held in September.

He said the death in custody was from natural causes, does not have Human Rights Act implications and will not require a jury hearing.

He will hear evidence from HMP Frankland, Spectrum, which provides healthcare for prisoners, pathologist Dr Clive Bloxham, and Detective Sergeant Alistair Rogowski, from Durham Police.

Sutcliffe’s next of kin, his ex-wife Sonia, is aware of the proceedings and will be invited to make a statement.

Mr Oliver is still waiting for a final report from the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman.

He said: “My preliminary view at the moment is that the medical records do not reveal anything unusual or untoward in Mr Sutcliffe’s death.”

He said the timeline for the inquest will be from October 27, when Sutcliffe fell ill, to his death on November 13.

The serial killer tested positive for coronavirus on November 5, and had been suffering from diabetes and heart disease, known risk factors for Covid-19.

He received palliative care before he died and a post-mortem examination confirmed severe heart disease, including stenosis of three coronary arteries, with the cause of death being Covid-19.