The Yorkshire Ripper victims

Channel 5 documentary explores the untold stories of Yorkshire Ripper’s survivors

Untold stories of lives he allegedly shattered

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The Yorkshire Ripper claimed over a dozen victims but how many surviving victims of Peter Sutcliffe are there?

Channel 5‘s The Yorkshire Ripper’s New Victims tells the stories of those whose lives changed forever after they were brutally assaulted by a man they have reason to believe was Peter Sutcliffe.

The Yorkshire Ripper timeline of his crimes and is he still alive?
Peter Sutcliffe, officially, killed 13 people (Credit: ITV News / YouTube)

How many people survived The Yorkshire Ripper?

The exact number of survivors isn’t known, since the identity of the attacker in a number of cases remains unproven.

He was convicted of 13 murders and seven attempted murders, so seven is the official number. Sutcliffe was serving a whole-life term when he died last year.

Read more: Coronation Street actor Bruce Jones hopes Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe will ‘rot in hell’

But Channel 5’s documentary features the stories of several others who strongly believe they too were victims.

John thinks Sutcliffe attacked him with a hammer (Credit: Channel 5)

Who features in The Yorkshire Ripper’s New Victims

The documentary features former cab driver John, who was driving a man in his taxi, eight years before Sutcliffe’s official murders began in the ’70s, when he was attacked.

The customer hit him over the head 10 times with a hammer, leaving John with permanent brain damage.

He has been interviewed for a number of crimes on more than one occasion, but he hasn’t confessed anything else.

It also features a woman called Tracey, who was walking along a quiet road behind a man she believes, now, was The Yorkshire Ripper. He turned around as she bid him good night and he attacked her with a hammer.

Another survivor, Mo, recalls how she smashed her face on a wall when she fell after a man she believes was Sutcliffe attacked her from behind.

And she weeps as she recalls the terrifying encounter, which she survived thanks to some strangers who intervened.

Mo survived a horrific attack (Credit: Channel 5)

Who were the women Peter Sutcliffe murdered? Did he kill others?

Officially, The Yorkshire Ripper killed 13 women between 1975 and 1980, but he may have killed as many as 30 people, and attacked 17 others.

They were Wilma McCann, 28 (1975), Emily Jackson, 42 (1976), Irene Richardson, 28 (1977), Patricia Atkinson, 32 (1977), Jayne MacDonald, 16 (1977), Jean Jordan, 21 (1977), Yvonne Pearson, 22 (1978), Helen Rytka, 18 (1978), Vera Millward, 41 (1978), Josephine Whittaker, 19 (1979), Barbara Leach, 20 (1979),
Marguerite Walls, 47 (1980) and Jacqueline Hill, 20 (1980).

Keith Hellawell, who was chief constable of West Yorkshire Police from 1993 until 1998, says: “My understanding is that he has been interviewed for a number of crimes on more than one occasion, but he hasn’t confessed anything else.”

Former chief constable Keith Hellawell (Credit: Channel 5)

Failure of Operation Paintball

In 2016, police launched a new investigation – dubbed Operation Paintball – into his crimes.

With access to new technology, including advances in DNA, they hoped to link other attacks to him.

The Channel 5 documentary explains how it was cops’ last chance to prosecute Sutcliffe, though, as he died after contracting COVID-19 in November 2020.

Sadly, Operation Paintball failed to bring any new charges against him. As a result, he ended up taking many secrets to his grave.

Read more: Viewers divided as Gogglebox star compares Rylan to the Yorkshire Ripper

The documentary follows former Norfolk Police copper suggesting Sutcliffe could have claimed 30 lives.

Chris Clark said last year, as reported by the Daily Record: “I’ve been able to link the Ripper by method, motive and opportunity to cold cases that have remained dormant for decades.

“The investigation needs to be ground-breaking and led with fresh eyes. I believe the National Crime Agency would be best to carry it out.”


Will you be watching Channel 5’s Yorkshire Ripper victims doc? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know.

Nancy Brown
Associate Editor