Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe dead at 74 – Serial killer who murdered 13 women dies from Covid

THE Yorkshire Ripper died this morning in hospital aged 74 after refusing any treatment for coronavirus.

The frail serial killer today became the pandemic's latest victim at precisely 1.10am after his lungs finally collapsed.

Strict coronavirus protocols mean he is thought to have spent his last moments alone – with visitors barred from his bedside.

Sutcliffe had spent almost 40 years locked up in Broadmoor and prison for murdering 13 women and attempting to kill seven others between 1975 and 1980.

His five-year reign of terror in the north of England led to one of the biggest police manhunts of the 20th century.

Confessing to cops after his eventual arrest, Sutcliffe notoriously claimed he was "a beast" driven on "by a devil" inside him.

But a source said of his final moments: "No tears were shed.

"His death was as pitiful as the vile life he had lived."

It is understood no formal cause of death has yet been established.

A Prison Service spokesman said: "HMP Frankland prisoner Peter Coonan (born Sutcliffe) died in hospital on 13 November.

"The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been informed.”

The Sun revealed on November 7 how Sutcliffe had tested positive for coronavirus in prison. He was put in isolation and monitored closely. 

But the Ripper's catalogue of health problems – and his own paranoia – meant he always feared the worst. 

Sutcliffe had already spent five nights on a cardiac ward with suspected heart issues earlier this month before being discharged.

He had told prison pals he was convinced he would ultimately be killed by Covid – terrified his age, obesity, diabetes put him in the highest risk category.

And just two days after his positive test result, jail medics at top security HMP Frankland, in Co Durham, became alarmed at how quickly he was going downhill. 

He was taken to University Hospital of North Durham, but stunned doctors by telling them he would not allow them to treat him medically. 

The devout Jehovah's Witness instead insisted he did not want to prolong his life "artificially" and that his time was drawing to an end. 

By Wednesday, sources said the Ripper was "rapidly deteriorating". 

And a day later, The Sun learned he had just hours to live. Sutcliffe's handful of friends and family were warned of his prognosis. 

But strict Covid protocols meant they were barred from his bedside because of the risk of infection. 

Timeline of terror

June 1946: Peter Sutcliffe is born in Bingley, West Yorks

August 1974: Sutcliffe marries Sonia Szurma

October 1975: Sutcliffe kills Wilma McCann in Leeds – his first murder.

January 1981: Sutcliffe is arrested by police in Sheffield. He confesses to being The Ripper.

May 1981: He is given 20 life sentences at The Old Bailey over 13 murders and seven attempted murders. He starts sentence at HMP Parkhurst, Isle of Wight.

March 1984: Sent to Broadmoor High-security Hospital after being declared paranoid schizophrenic

August 2016: Sutcliffe moved from Broadmoor to Category A Frankland Prison, County Durham

November 13, 2020 – Sutcliffe dies.

Even his prison guards were forced to keep their distance, safe in the knowledge that there was now little risk of escape. 

And by 6pm on Thursday, as Sutcliffe's evil life ebbed slowly away, an undertaker was placed on standby.

Sutcliffe's funeral arrangements have been discussed in depth by officials for weeks. 

But they remained a closely-guarded secret last night. 

Sutcliffe's death ends any chance of police proving his links to other attacks. 

A 1982 government report into the Ripper killings by former Inspector of Constabulary Sir Lawrence Byford concluded: "Between 1969 and 1980, Sutcliffe was probably responsible for many attacks on unaccompanied women which he has not yet admitted, not only in the West Yorkshire and Manchester areas but also in other parts."

Sir Lawrence added: "We feel it is highly improbable that the crimes in respect of which Sutcliffe has been charged and convicted are the only ones attributable to him."

And in 2016 it emerged cold case review cops were probing 15 other cases.

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