Yorkshire Ripper dead: Halifax survivor 'lived with the horror' of Peter Sutcliffe attack

A survivor of an attack by the Yorkshire Ripper lived with the horror of that fateful night since 1975.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Olive Smelt was struck twice on the head with a hammer and had her body slashed by the maniac who went on to murder 13 women.

Her family said she never recovered and relied heavily on them for support.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Mrs Smelt, died unexpectedly at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary after contracting pneumonia in 2011 aged 82.

Yorkshire Ripper victim Olive SmeltYorkshire Ripper victim Olive Smelt
Yorkshire Ripper victim Olive Smelt

Speaking to the Courier after the death death of her mum daughter Julie Lowry said: “She never got over that night in 1975. She did well to survive and had to learn to accept what happened mentally. But physically her mobility was never the same.

“She has been through hell and suffered in pain in silence. She never complained.”

Peter Sutcliffe, a lorry driver, of Bradford, was convicted of killing 13 women and seven attempted murders betwen 1975 and 1981 when he brought terror to the north of England.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Some of his victims were prostitutes but his two Halifax victims were not.

Bank worker Josephine Whitaker, 19, was murdered on April 4, 1979, in Savile Park.

Sutcliffe attacked her with a hammer and screwdriver.

Mrs Smelt was his second victim during his reign of terror. She had been drinking in the Royal Oak in Halifax and was targeted by Sutcliffe who was also in the pub.

As he drove home towards Bradford with a friend he noticed Mrs Smelt and stopped the car and told his friend, Trevor Birdsall, to wait.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He approached her then viciously assaulted her near her home in Woodside Road.

He was disturbed and fled, returning to the car up to 20 minutes later.

After reading about the attack, Birdsall had his suspicions but did nothing.

Sutcliffe was arrested in Sheffield in 1981 with a prostitute in his car. The investigation had been waylaid after police were sent hoax letters and a tape which sent them looking for a man in the north-east.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Sutcliffe has died in hospital on Friday, a Prison Service spokesman said.

The 74-year-old, had tested positive for Covid-19 and was suffering from underlying health conditions.

A Prison Service spokesman said: “HMP Frankland prisoner Peter Coonan (born Sutcliffe) died in hospital on November 13. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been informed.”

Sutcliffe had reportedly suffered from a range of conditions before his death including heart trouble, diabetes and obesity.

Yorkshire Ripper victim Olive Smelt who survived an attack from Peter Sutcliffe, has died aged 82.