He murdered 13 women during a sickening crime spree in the 1970s, but Peter Sutcliffe died where he belonged – behind bars.
The serial killer known as the Yorkshire Ripper passed away last November aged 74, having suffered a series of worsening health problems before contracting coronavirus.
Today a coroner requested medical notes from the last six weeks of his life ahead of a full inquest later this year, but said “on the face of it, it is a natural death”.
Convicted in 1981, the depraved murderer spent 32 years at Broadmoor Hospital, where he was treated for paranoid schizophrenia, before being transferred to HMP Frankland in County Durham in 2016.
Described as a “holiday camp like Butlins” by a biographer, Sutcliffe enjoyed a life of notoriety during his time at Broadmoor, welcoming a legion of warped female admirers and striking up a dark friendship with paedophile Jimmy Savile.
And even at Frankland, he was given “enhanced” privileges, which allowed him his own DVD player and catalogues to shop from, until his death.
Savaged and blinded by inmates
Sutcliffe was attacked by a number of inmates over the years, with one brutal assault leaving him blind in his left eye.
After being sentenced to a minimum term of 30 years, he was initially sent to HMP Parkhurst.
Here, career criminal James Costello stabbed him twice in the face with a broken coffee jar, which left the killer with 30 stitches.
Having previously claimed that he had heard voiced from God telling him to kill sex workers, Sutcliffe was then transferred to Broadmoor.
Despite being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, many feared he was attempting to “game” the system to enjoy an easier lifestyle.
“I think Sutcliffe always wanted to end up in Broadmoor, an environment which he saw as softer, as easier to game than a prisoner environment,” his biographer, Geoffrey Wansall, told the Channel 5 documentary Broadmoor: Serial Killers and High Security.
“There’s no doubt in people’s minds Broadmoor is a bit like a holiday camp, like Butlins.”
Nonetheless, here he found himself subjected to further attacks.
In 1997, robber Paul Wilson tried to strangle the Ripper with a headphones flex.
The assailant, said to have a deep hatred of sex offenders, went to Sutcliffe’s room saying he wanted to borrow a video.
He was only saved when fellow murderers Jamie Devitt and Kenneth Erskine, the Stockwell Strangler, heard his screams and called nurses. No one was charged over the attack.
The following year, Sutcliffe was set upon by robber Ian Kay, who blinded him in the left eye after stabbing him with a ball point pen.
Kay later admitted to attempted murder, saying: “I was going to … walk into the room and cut his jugular vein on both sides and wait there until he was dead.
“Killing has always been in my mind, ever since I’ve been here [at Broadmoor]. In hindsight, I should have straddled him and strangled him with my bare hands.
“He said God told him to kill 13 women, and I say the Devil told me to kill him because of that.”
In 2007, Sutcliffe was repeatedly stabbed in the face by murderer Patrick Sureda during a frenzied attack.
Sureda yelled “I’ll teach you, you b*****d, for killing all those women” before knifing Sutcliffe under his remaining good eye.
Nurses dashed to grab a seven-inch knife from the 43-year-old attacker, who only left the Ripper with a small wound below his right eye.
A judge decided Sureda, who killed his own mother, was not fit to stand trial for attacking Sutcliffe, but a jury ruled he did carry out the assault.
Flock of female admirers who visited killer
While his notoriety may have won him enemies on the inside, on the outside twisted fans of the Ripper fought for his attention.
Sutcliffe was said to have have a “very big postbag” from female admirers, according to The Sun, and some even visited him in person.
The killer would often hold hands with the women – including a 21-year-old artist he called Siona – as they dropped by in the visiting room.
“Sutcliffe always had a couple of young women with him, different women every time,” biographer Fred Dinenage told the Channel 5 documentary.
“Always holding his hands, stroking his hand. It was very very strange.
“I guess they liked the thrill of being near a dangerous man, but knowing he couldn’t harm them because all around the room were the hospital staff.”
Cups of tea with Jimmy Savile
One of Sutcliffe’s most famous visitors, however, was the paedophile Jimmy Savile, who visited Broadmoor while still a famous TV star in the early 1980s.
The disgraced DJ’s charity work meant he had an office in the grounds of the hospital, a bedroom that he called his “cell” and his own personal set of keys to the hospital wards.
One young female patient said she had been repeatedly raped by Savile at the hospital during the early 1980s, before he moved on to other patients, according to The Guardian.
Another former resident said that when she was 17, Savile had groped her breasts while she watched TV in a ward.
The pervert nonetheless also found time to strike up a friendship with Sutcliffe, even drinking tea together in the killer’s cell.
Speaking to the Daily Star, ex lag James Grant revealed: “Jimmy Savile was quite a regular at Broadmoor. He paid a lot of attention to Sutcliffe.
“It made me think there was something going on there, it just wasn’t quite right.”
“He was always going in to Peter’s cell and chatting with him and they’d drink tea together.
He added: “I used to think it was a bit weird, that Savile spent so much time talking to him.
“I thought maybe, I was a bit paranoid but now I wonder at times, now that we know the full story about Savile.”
Pizza deliveries and shopping from catalogues
Sutcliffe’s decadent life at Broadmoor was met with fierce criticism from the families of his victims.
Speaking about life after the Ripper murdered his mother, Emily, Neil Jackson said: “It was hard. I was 17 and left to struggle.
“But he went on to live a life of luxury inside Broadmoor, ordering pizza deliveries.”
On one occasion, Sutcliffe was left furious after wardens at Broadmoor confiscated a £5,000 Rolex watch sent to him by his brother.
A source told The Sun: “Sutcliffe moaned he wasn’t allowed the Rolex and was furious when he saw a member of staff had one.
“He said that was unfair and breached his rights, but if other patients spotted him wearing a Rolex it would cause problems.
“But the fact that he was even sent it shows the kind of life he has been enjoying.”
In 2016, Sutcliffe left Broadmoor to live out his final years in HMP Frankland, a maximum security prison.
Yet even here, he was said to have been given “enhanced” privileges, benefiting from an incentives scheme that meant he could have an increased number of visitors, shop from catalogues and wear his own clothes.
According to a Metro investigation, the serial killer was allowed to buy a games console but chose a DVD player instead.
Waning health before Covid death
By now, though, the killer was beginning to suffer from a number of health conditions – including obesity, diabetes and heart issues.
Weeks before Sutcliffe’s death, he had been treated for a suspected heart attack before returning to prison.
He was then readmitted to hospital after testing positive for Covid-19, but is believed to have refused treatment for the virus.
Following his death on Friday November 13, a Downing Street statement said he was a “depraved and evil individual” and it was right that he died behind bars.
“The Prime Minister’s thoughts today are with those who lost their lives, the survivors and with the families and the friends of Sutcliffe’s victims,” Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said.
“Nothing will ever detract from the harm that he caused, but it is right that he died behind bars for his barbaric murders and for his attempted murders.”