Recently, a former cop came out with a belief that Peter Sutcliffe had committed more murders than he was made accountable for. Chris Clark, formerly with Norfolk police, has carried much research into unsolved attacks and murders, bearing some resemblance or MO to Sutcliffe. Naturally, he has come in for criticism for saying such things, as the Ripper saga will always be a nasty can of worms waiting to be opened. The attacks Sutcliffe carried out were all in the North, West Yorkshire and one in Manchester. Yet, one point about Sutcliffe that could justify the claims of Mr Clark, is that he was a lorry driver, and we know they travel all over the country. Why is it not feasible that he carried on elsewhere? His journeys would give him the opportunity. And another important point would be that "The Ripper only attacks in the North" mentality that could have existed with some cops. Really? And when did Sutcliffe start his attacks? What about the positive ID by a taxi driver brutally battered with a hammer by a passenger he was carrying? The attack was in 1967, and after Sutcliffe`s arrest in 1981, the victim was shown photofits of suspects plus two arrest photos of Sutcliffe. One taken in 1969, the other, 1981. He immediately picked out the 1969 photo as his assailant. Thanks to the tunnel vision of British Police, this was dismissed. "He only attacks women" was the response of a senior officer. Why was he arrested in 1969? "Going equipped for theft" What was he carrying? A hammer and a screwdriver! Where was he? The red light district.
When Lawrence Byfield launched an investigation into the hunt, this conducted by the Inspector of Constabulary office. In other words, very senior cops with great powers. This team was given scathing comments by some senior WY cops, yet it is difficult to argue with some very simple points they made. Such as the photofits put on display to them. It was very apparent that he was dark haired, with a beard and moustache. They examined twenty unsolved attacks on women, concluding that ten were committed by Sutcliffe, the other ten he had to be a good suspect for. What attacks were these? As Sutcliffe was positively identified as the 1967 assailant and arrested two years later carrying a hammer and screwdriver, then what was he up to between 1967 and 1975? Plus what about his travels in his lorry?
Mr Clark has carried out a lot of research into his claims, and if he can prove Sutcliffe was in the vicinity of these attacks at the right time, then that it is the most incredible and bizarre set of coincidences you could think of. Police say that all open cases are given reviews, but is it a case of relying on forensics to do everything, or do detectives actually go out and reinvestigate, ala "New Tricks?" Feelings of some local people are that Police want this case closed once and for all. If his findings are circumstantial, as he has admitted, again, it`s bizarre.
A couple of things about the case that stand out to me. Did Sutcliffe actually kill Margueritte Walls? She was strangled. I do not believe Sutcliffe had the guts to fight with somebody. He wanted them immobilised as soon as possible, hence the hammer. Plus, Bob Taylor, a detective involved in the hunt, says that they were told by a senior cop that it was not a Ripper killing. Later, it was. The other point was when it was announced that an arrest had been made, we remember seeing Chief Constable Gregory and George Oldfield with big grins on their faces. Gregory dodged a most important question from a journalist. "Is he a Geordie?" "I have not heard him speak" was the reply. I do not believe for one minute they were not told he was local, dark haired, beard and `Tache, looks exactly like a number of the photofits. Because the press would have had a field day with them both. I do not think this case will ever close because it is knowing exactly what Sutcliffe was up to, where and when.