- Exclusive by CHRISTINE TALBOT and SHERON BOYLE
The Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe has written to ITV News admitting: “I did some bad things.”
Sutcliffe is serving 20 life sentences for the murders of 13 women between 1975 and 1980.
But he wrote to ITV Calendar News from Durham’s top-security Frankland Prison following our investigation into whether he had previously attacked two men, killing one of them.
In his letter, Sutcliffe – writing under his adopted name of Peter Coonan – says: “Yes, I did some bad things, but I just want people to know that I did not attack or murder any males.”
He says he is writing with “100% honesty”.
The letter, written to Calendar’s Christine Talbot, follows an investigation into whether Sutcliffe murdered Fred Craven, a bookmaker from Bingley in West Yorkshire, and left Leeds taxi driver John Tomey with lifelong injuries in attacks carried out before those for which he was convicted.
Father-of-five Mr Craven was beaten to death with a hammer in his town centre office in 1966.
His daughter, Irene Vidler, 74, told Calendar she remains convinced Sutcliffe was behind the attack.
"He knew us quite well, he used to come to our house for tea when we were children,” she said. “He placed bets with my dad. My sister Jenny, he asked her to go out with him and she refused because she didn’t like him.
“At the time of the attack, Sutcliffe was working in the Bingley graveyard. I think that given the way he was killed with a hammer on his head, that it was the same way Sutcliffe killed his victims.
Mr Tomey suffered life-long brain injuries when he was attacked by a passenger with a hammer as he drove him across the moors near Bingley in 1967.
Now 77, Mr Tomey says his life was ruined by the early morning attack, carried out using tool similar to that which Sutcliffe used on most of his murder victims.
An artist’s impression of the man responsible for the attack, based on his description, bore a striking resemblance to Sutcliffe. Mr Tomey is adamant he was a victim of the Ripper.
Shortly after Sutcliffe's arrest, detectives showed Mr Tomey images of possible suspects to see if he could identify his attacker. It took him “less than 20 seconds” to pick out Sutcliffe, he said.
“By the time we'd turned the first page, they started to turn the second page. I said, ‘Go back, it's him’. It took me 20 seconds and I'm a man with brain injuries,” he said.
Sutcliffe, who has been told he will never be released, was interviewed earlier this year by West Yorkshire Police about 17 unsolved attacks. The force refused to confirm that Mr Craven was among them.
Calendar wrote to Sutcliffe putting to him the allegations that he attacked Mr Craven and Mr Tomey.
Replying before recent eye surgery, he used a prison buddy to write his responses to our questions. In the letter he denies knowing Mr Craven “on a personal level” or where his business was, then states: “I can tell you with 100% honesty I did not murder Mr Craven. And never have I attacked a male.”
He also says he was questioned about 16 not 17 non-fatal attacks and “the police are satisfied I was not involved with any said attacks.”
“I was not questioned about Mr Craven or Mr Tomey,” he says.
Mrs Vidler said she simply wants closure.
“All I want from Peter Sutcliffe is for him to say I did it,” she said.
“I don’t want any witchhunts, I don’t want anything. I know they can’t do anything more to Peter Sutcliffe than he’s already got. But I want closure and there’s other families that want the closure as well. I believe he’s done a lot more.”
- Click below to watch the video report from Christine Talbot: