Yorkshire Ripper refused to shield in prison before Covid death, inquest told

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Yorkshire ripper Peter Sutcliffe refused the shield before dying of the coronavirus, despite warnings by prison officials that he was vulnerable, an inquiry was told.

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The serial killer died at the age of 74 after contracting the virus at the University Hospital in North Durham on November 13, 2020.

Coroner Crispin Oliver said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and that he died naturally after receiving good medical care.


Mr Oliver said: “Obviously I think of his family at the moment, but (my thoughts) also go back to the women whose names I read at the opening of this inquiry last November – they were his victims. My continued best wishes to their families, loved ones and friends.

“Speaking to the bereaved families, loved ones and friends, I hope you have some sense of closure at this point and that your loved ones, the victims, can rest in peace now that Peter Sutcliffe is dead.”

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Sutcliffe, who changed his name to Cunanan, was serving a life sentence at HMP Frankland for the murders of 13 women in the 1970s.

Prison governor Lee Drummond told interrogation that Sutcliffe, who suffered from a range of health conditions including heart disease and diabetes, was one of several vulnerable inmates who had been diagnosed with Covid-19 when the country was locked down in March last year. I was warned.

Prisoners were offered similar measures of community shielding, kept separate from other inmates at mealtimes and used separate phones, but were turned down by Sutcliffe.

The killer was taken to the hospital on October 27 for the first time after suffering from dizziness and was diagnosed with a blocked heart in the prison’s health unit.

He returned to Frankland on 4 November and tested positive for COVID-19 after this first hospital stay.

Prison health care chief Angela Spence said Sutcliffe had been treated with antibiotics for the cough and tests showed he had a fast heart rate.

Mr Drummond said Sutcliffe went in and out of the hospital over the coming days, before he was last admitted on 10 November.

His close relative – ex-wife Sonia Woodward – had been informed of his deteriorating health and eventual death, the interrogation was heard.

She knew of the investigation and was invited to appear in person or remotely, but declined, the coroner heard.

Sutcliffe, who arrived in 2016 after being held at Broadmoor Secure Psychiatric Hospital, was a Category A inmate and was placed on the alpha wing – a “more relaxed environment” for prisoners with mobility issues.

Pathologist Dr Clive Bloxham said via video that his post-mortem examination showed Sutcliffe had “extremely heavy lungs” – typical of someone with coronavirus.

He said the cause of death was Covid-19 infection, which contributed to heart disease and diabetes. He confirmed that the death was not suspicious and was due to natural causes.

PA. Additional reporting by


Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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