Man remanded over Ripper hoax

A man has been remanded in custody in connection with the 'Wearside Jack' hoax letters and tape sent during the Yorkshire Ripper investigation.

John Humble, 49, was arrested in Sunderland on Tuesday. He appeared before Leeds Magistrates Court on Thursday afternoon charged with perverting the course of justice.

Mr Humble was remanded in custody until October 26, to appear before Leeds Crown Court.

The letters and tape, claiming to be from the killer, changed the course of the investigation into the series of murders of women across the north of England in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The man on the tape, who was nicknamed Wearside Jack because of his strong Sunderland accent, led police to divert their hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper to the north east of England, leaving the real Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, to commit another three murders.

During the investigation, Sutcliffe, who was from Bradford, was questioned and eliminated from the inquiry. It is widely believed that he was eliminated because he did not have a Sunderland accent.

Two of the letters and the tape were sent to Assistant Chief Constable George Oldfield, while a third letter was sent to the ‘Daily Mirror’.

Wearside Jack boasted about the police’s failure to catch him on the tape.

On the tape, he said: “I’m Jack. I see you are still having no luck catching me… You are no nearer catching me now than four years ago when I started. I reckon your boys are lettin’ you down, George. They can’t be much good, can they?”

The tape was broadcast to the public in July 1979.

Sutcliffe, who is now 59, was convicted of the murder of 13 women in May 1981 and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Later judged to be criminally insane, he was transferred to Broadmoor mental hospital.


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