Friday, 22 May 2009

Looking Back - Yorkshire Ripper Jailed For Life

On this day in 1981, Peter Sutcliffe (pictured with wife Sonia on their wedding day), known as the Yorkshire Ripper, was sentenced to life imprisonment at the Old Bailey. Sutcliffe, a lorry driver from Bradford, was found guilty of murdering at least 13 women over six years. Passing sentence the judge, Mr Justice Boreham, described Sutcliffe as 'an unusually dangerous man' and imposed a 30 year jail term, and recommend he serve his full term. The jury returned a majority verdict on 13 counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder between 1976 and 1981. Sutcliffe's wife Sonia said "I couldn't believe it of him because he had behaved so normally at home. Most of the victims were prostitutes who were beaten about the head and their bodies mutilated.

Sutcliffe remained impassive as he listened to the verdict - crowds outside the court cheered when they heard it. In reaching their verdict, the jury had rejected three psychiatrists' statements that he was a paranoid schizophrenic driven to kill by a 'divine message'.

Yorkshire police spent nearly six years trying to track down the killer and by the end of the investigation, the incident room in Leeds was crammed full of facts and information relating to the case. These included a quarter of a million names, individually filed on cards and more than 30,000 statements were taken. But none of it led to his arrest. The investigation was seriously hampered in 1978 and 1979 by a hoax tape, that sent the police to the North East of England, as the voice on the tape had a Geordie accent. Police registered millions of car number plates seen in the red light districts all over the north. Sutcliffe was seen over 60 times and was interviewed nine times before his final arrest.

The end finally came for Sutcliffe when police discovered he had put false number plates on his car and was carrying weapons in the boot. He soon admitted he was the Yorkshire Ripper and spent 15 hours giving the police graphic details of his crime.

In 1983 Sutcliffe was transferred from Parkhurst Prison on the Isle of Wight to Broadmoor secure mental hospital, after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Whilst in jail Sutcliffe was attacked many times by other inmates. In 1998, he was stabbed in both eyes by convicted murderer Ian Kay and lost the sight of one eye. Apart from the hoax, detectives working on the Ripper case were hampered by not having information stored on a centralised system. Thousands of documents and information were stored at individual police stations. This led to a new computer system being installed called Holmes (Home Office Large Major Enquiry System), saving time and reducing the risk of human error.

In October 2005 police arrested a man called John Humble, from Sunderland, and charged him over the hoax letters and tapes. He pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and was jailed for eight years in March 2006.

If you would like to watch a video clip of the police investigation into the Yorkshire Ripper mystery, click on the link below:


In 2003, police in Warwickshire, England, opened a garden shed and found a whimpering, cowering dog. It had been locked in the shed and abandoned. It was dirty and malnourished and had clearly been abused.

In an act of kindness, the police took the dog, which was a female Greyhound. to the nearby Nuneaton Warwickshire Wildlife Sanctuary, run by a man named Geoff Grewcock and known as a willing haven for animals abandoned, orphaned or otherwise in need.

Geoff and the other sanctuary staff went to work with two aims: to restore the dog to full health, and to win her trust. It took several weeks, but eventually both goals were achieved.

They named her Jasmine, and they started to think about finding her an adoptive home. But Jasmine had other ideas. No one remembers now how it began, but she started welcoming all the animal arrivals at the sanctuary. It didn't matter if it was a puppy, a fox cub, a rabbit or any other lost or hurting animal, Jasmine would peer into the box or cage and, where possible, give a welcoming lick.

Geoff relates one of the early incidents. "We had two puppies that had been abandoned by a nearby railway line. One was a Lakeland terrier cross and another was a Russell Doberman cross. They were tiny when they arrived at the centre and Jasmine approached them and grabbed one by the scruff of the neck in her mouth and put him on the settee. Then she fetched the other one and sat down with them, cuddling them."

"But she is like that with all of our animals. even the rabbits. She takes all the stress out of them and it helps them not only to feel close to her but also to settle into their new surroundings.

"She has done the same with the fox and badger cubs, she licks the rabbits and guinea pigs and even lets the birds perch on the bridge of her nose."
Jasmine, the timid, abused, deserted waif, became the animal sanctuary's resident surrogate mother a role for which she might have been born. The list of orphaned and abandoned youngsters she has cared for comprises five fox cubs, four badger cubs, 15 chicks, eight guinea pigs, two stray puppies and 15 rabbits. And one roe deer fawn, Tiny Bramble, 11 weeks old, was found semi-conscious in a field. Upon arrival at the sanctuary, Jasmine cuddled up to her to keep her warm, and then went into a full foster mum role. Jasmine the greyhound showers Bramble the roe deer with affection and makes sure her fur is not matted.
Jasmine will continue to care for Bramble until she is old enough to be returned to woodland life. When that happens, Jasmine will not be lonely. She will be too busy showering love and affection on the next orphan or victim of abuse. "They are inseparable" says Geoff, "Bramble walks between her legs and they keep kissing each other. They walk together round the sanctuary."

From left, Toby, a stray Lakeland dog; Bramble, orphaned roe deer; Buster, a stray Jack Russell; a dumped rabbit; Sky, an injured barn owl; and Jasmine with a mother's heart doing best what a caring mother would do....Such is the order of God's creation.

Low Budget Airlines

I guess you get what you pay for....Swine Flu!

Wildlife Pictures No.15

The latest brilliant picture from our Wildlife Pictures series.
(Click image to enlarge)

Remarkable Rare Film Footage - POW Camp

Rare footage showing life in a British prisoner of war camp is going on display at a new exhibition at the Imperial War Museum North in Manchester.
There were over 1,000 prisoner of war camps in Britain from World War II, but few moving pictures remain.
Click link below, full screen mode and sound on.

Maxine's World