Netflix’s ‘The Ripper’ Will Take Viewers Into The Chilling Case Of The Yorkshire Ripper

One of Britain's most notorious serial killers

Between 1975 and 1980, Peter Sutcliffe, a.k.a. the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’ brutally murdered thirteen women and assaulted countless others across England’s North West. Now, Netflix tells the harrowing story of his victims and how he evaded capture for so long in new docuseries, The Ripper.

The four-part series has been produced by the same people who brought us Don’t F**k With Catsand Netflix has just released the first trailer—just five days after Sutcliffe died in prison while serving a life sentence at the age of 74.

The Ripper will include interviews with senior police officers, journalists and family members who were involved and affected by the killings as well as real-life footage from the time of the initial investigation.

Sharing the trailer on Twitter, the streaming service included a list of Sutcliffe’s victims: Wilma McCann, Emily Jackson, Irene Richardson, Patricia Atkinson, Jayne MacDonald, Jean Jordan, Yvonne Pearson, Helen Rytka, Vera Millward, Josephine Whitaker, Barbara Leach, Marguerite Walls and Jacqueline Hill.

The serial killer‘s last two victims were murdered while he awaiting trial for a drunk driving charge. 

yorkshire ripper victims
Vera Millward, Jayne MacDonald, Josephine Whittaker, Jean Jordan, Helen Rytka and Barbara Leach

Throughout the extensive investigation, Sutcliffe was interviewed a total of nine times for his various connections to the crimes, including a £5 bill that was found with one of his victims’ bodies that could be traced back to his workplace payroll. At once point, a coworker of his even reported him as a suspect to the police, but the information was lost. 

One interview subject in the docuseries can be heard remarking that he “successfully hoodwinked the entire police force”. 

After being arrested in 1981 for solicitation, he was questioned for two days about the Yorkshire Ripper case, seeing that he fit the description to a ‘T’. He eventually confessed to the killings and was sentenced to life in prison at the age of 34. He would go on to claim throughout the trial that God had told him to murder the women. “The women I killed were filth”, he told police. “Bastard prostitutes who were littering the streets. I was just cleaning up the place a bit.”

peter sutcliffe yorkshire ripper
Peter Sutcliffe

According to Netflix, the series will also explore the cultural impact of his killing spree, covering “how the prejudices and misogyny of the time played a part in these women being so tragically let down.”

Before Sutcliffe confessed, the police’s delayed response to a serial killer being at large and attempted to ease people’s minds by claiming that women just needed to be careful sparked outrage from the public. It was also announced that women who weren’t sex workers had nothing to fear, despite many of his victims not being involved in sex work. 

Though he had already mercilessly bludgeoned many other women, it wasn’t until the 1977 murder of 16-year-old Jayne MacDonald that police seemed to ramp up their investigation. Their description of MacDonald as the first “innocent” victim prompted backlash from the public, resulting in protests in defence of the victims that the police neglected.

And though it’s certainly not the first or last time that authorities were quick to dismiss cases involving people they deemed to have ‘high-risk’ lifestyles, such as sex workers, the infamous case did shine a light on the matter.

yorkshire ripper protests

The Ripper launches on Netflix on December 16. 

Watch the full trailer here.

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