Ripper 'No Longer Mentally Ill'

1 December 2015, 14:15

Peter Sutcliffe

Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe is no longer mentally ill and should be returned to prison, psychiatrists have said.

Doctors have recommended that Sutcliffe, 69, is taken out of Broadmoor Hospital, the high-security psychiatric centre in Berkshire, and moved into a specialist prison unit.

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said the final decision on whether Sutcliffe will be moved would be made by Justice Secretary Michael Gove.

An MoJ spokesman said: "Decisions over whether prisoners are to be sent back to prison from secure hospitals are based on clinical assessments made by independent medical staff.

"The High Court ordered in 2009 that Sutcliffe should never be released. This was then upheld by the Court of Appeal.

"Our thoughts are with Sutcliffe's victims and their families."

Richard McCann, the son of Wilma McCann, Sutcliffe's first victim, told the Mirror: "If that is what the MoJ decide I am fine with that.

"I can understand why some people want to see him in prison. None of this will bring my mum back and where he is locked up does not really change anything."

Sutcliffe was given 20 life terms for the murder of 13 women and the attempted murder of others in Yorkshire and Greater Manchester after being convicted at the Old Bailey in 1981.

He was moved to Broadmoor from Parkhurst jail in 1984 after being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

The former lorry driver, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, was dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper because he mutilated the bodies of his victims using a hammer, a sharpened screwdriver and a knife.

He was to tell psychiatrists who examined him, and gave evidence at trial, that while working in a graveyard in 1967 he heard a voice, which he took to be a divine voice, which eventually told him it was his mission to kill or eradicate prostitutes.

Sutcliffe carried out his first attack on a woman on July 5 1975 - but not all of his victims were sex workers.

Court of Appeal judges dismissed an appeal in 2011 by the serial killer, ruling: "Even accepting that an element of mental disturbance was intrinsic to the commission of these crimes, the interests of justice require nothing less than a whole-life order."

Meanwhile, Broadmoor has previously been rated inadequate by a watchdog, with concerns raised about patients being physically restrained too often.

Inspectors from the Care Quality Commission said they did not see convincing evidence that seclusion and restraint were only being used in cases when it was deemed absolutely necessary.

Michael Spurr, chief executive of the National Offender Management Service, said he could not provide a timescale for when a decision would be made.

He told the Commons Justice Committee: "I can't say when the decision will be finalised.

"I don't think it would be right to talk about an individual case.

"The process is that clinicians make a determination about whether an individual still requires detention in a hospital.

"They have determined this individual does not, as is a matter now of public record.

"We will consider that and the decision will be made by the Secretary of State in terms of agreeing to move the person back to prison or not. "

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