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Ripper Visits Father's Ashes Site

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Do you think the "Yorkshire Ripper" should have been allowed out?  

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  • Elders (Admins)

The BBC.co.uk site reports:

Ripper visits father's ashes site

Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe has been allowed out of Broadmoor to visit the site of his father's ashes, the Home Office has confirmed.

Sutcliffe, 58, visited the site at Arnside in Cumbria on Monday after Home Secretary Charles Clarke ratified an earlier decision by David Blunkett.

The mass killer left the high security hospital and is reported to have been accompanied by four staff.

"It was the right and proper thing to do," the Home Office said.

Sutcliffe's father John died from cancer in a West Yorkshire hospice last year.

In a statement the Home Office said: "The decision on this individual was made by the previous Home Secretary David Blunkett.

"This decision was subsequently reaffirmed by Charles Clarke.

"A full and comprehensive risk assessment was made by the authorities and the individual was closely supervised at all times.

"At no point was there any danger to members of the public."

But Fabian Hamilton, Labour MP for Leeds North East, in whose constituency some of the Ripper's victims' families live, said he was disturbed by the visit.

"I'm pretty upset about it," he said. "I opposed the possibility of his release for his father's funeral.

"It seemed harsh at the time, but he didn't give any quarter or sympathy to any of the victims, many of whom were from my constituency.

Decision 'inconsistent'

"I think for the families that survived, this is quite a blow."

Keith Hellawell, the former chief constable of West Yorkshire who investigated the full scope of Sutcliffe's crimes after his trial, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he thought the decision was "odd".

"I think it is a little bizarre and also inconsistent because they have, all the time I was involved with Sutcliffe, refused him any concessions," he said.

"As his father died more than a year ago, it just seems rather odd.

"I don't think it is wrong, personally, because we don't have capital punishment in this country and we do keep people in prison for a long period of time.

"I think it would have been inhuman personally not to allow them to do things when there have been serious incidents within their family, such as deaths."

The husband of one of Sutcliffe's victim's said their feelings had not been considered.

Harry Smelt, whose wife Olive survived an attack in Halifax in 1975, said his wife was recovering from a stroke.

"She would be more concerned she gets better after having a stroke.

"Nobody worries about the victims at all these days.

"I think all the victims have moved on now.

"They have their lives to live. We have grandchildren and a family. Let's bring it to an end."

Tory MP Julie Kirkbride, who was at school with one of his victims, was scathing about the trip.

"I was a schoolgirl living in West Yorkshire when the Ripper was carrying out his murders.

"He killed a girl who was in my class at school, very close to my house.

"I don't think it's possible that the Home Secretary understands the fear in which women in West Yorkshire lived for many years, that they would be the Ripper's next victim."

Sutcliffe was jailed for life in May 1981 at the Old Bailey.

Between 1975 and 1981 he murdered 13 women and seven others were left for dead in a killing spree which gripped the north of England.

At his trial the former lorry driver claimed "voices from God" told him to purge the streets of prostitutes. 

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  • Elders (Moderators)

I have problems with Home Office view that "It was the right and proper thing to do." I don't agree. I do feel that prisoners, whoever they are, should be treated in a right and proper way, but that shouldn't, in my mind, extend to giving certain categories of prisoners certain privileges. What Sutcliffe was given was a privilege and in my own view, the only justification for that would be if it was part of a programme of psychiatric treatment. If, and only if, it would have made him understand better what he had done to all those other families, to stand by the burial place of someone who mattered to him, then that would have served a purpose. But the Home Office didn't put that point of view, the statement seemed only to refer to Sutcliffe.

Unless he's changed drastically, I suspect it was just a matter of him getting his own way and having a nice trip outside his prison. And at the taxpayers' expense.

I feel very sorry for the families of his victims who would have had a different experience standing by a graveside, and for the survivors. "No danger to the public", indeed - what about the hurt?

I don't support the death penalty - but there are some people who should be forever behind bars and should remain there always (except for medical care).

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Well, I can understand the points of view here....

The way I look at it is this.... It's not like he's getting to get out of jail to go to somone's wedding! There is no "reward" to viewing the site where your loved one is laid to rest. But, of course, there is no answer that is right for EVERY situation. Some prisoners in this situation have absoltly no regard for a father who has died, and it WOULD just be a way of "getting their way", and manipulating others to get a glimpse of freedom, if only for a moment. However, if this event is another chapter in the lessons this man needs to learn, then these are forces that we have no jurisdiction over.

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I could understand letting a serial killer out to .. oh I don't know, donate a kidney to his sister or something. To let him out to look at ashes - a year after his father's death just seems rediculus

For those of you that are against capital punishment. Do you hold it against Frank Black; that he killed the poloriod man?

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