Yorkshire Ripper murders revisited by school

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Peter Sutcliffe, who became known as the Yorkshire Ripper, murdered 13 women in Halifax, Leeds, Bradford and across the North of England.

Although his reign of terror was finally brought to an end in the early 1980s, the Yorkshire Ripper is still prevalent in the minds of many people, as many found themselves living in fear despite not directly affected by the case.

Criminologist Dr Louise Wattis, senior lecturer in criminology in Teesside University’s School of Social Sciences & Law, is researching how the fear of crime in relation to the Yorkshire Ripper case affected the daily lives of many people.

She is hoping to speak to people who were living across the Bradford and Leeds areas during the mid-1970s to early-1980s, to investigate their memories of the murders and how it shaped their lives at that time.

Dr Wattis said: “I started looking into the background of the case as several people locally talked about how the case had affected them. Reports and commentaries on the murders indicate that it became a prominent feature in the lives of not only those who lived in Leeds and West Yorkshire, but also further afield.

“The murders clearly had an impact on women’s fear of crime, as well as more general fears and concerns across the community. For instance, I’ve read about how recordings of the telephone calls made by hoaxer Wearside Jack were played in pubs, nightclubs and youth clubs.”

Dr Wattis is aiming to conduct face to face interviews over the summer and can travel to those interested in speaking to her as part of the British Academy funded research project.

She said: “I am particularly hoping to speak to people who were aged around 16 in 1975 who would now be in their mid-50s.”

Dr Wattis, who is also a member of the University’s Social Futures Institute, began her interest in criminology as an undergraduate student at Teesside University, continuing with PhD research into the fear of crime.

Anyone interested in speaking to Dr Wattis can contact her on 01642 384463 or email l.wattis@tees.ac.uk.