Just another ripping post into women …

Who couldn’t get excited about going to university?

Leaving home for a whole new life. (Well, not quite, but more on that later.)

Meeting really clever people, wondering if I would make the intellectual mark? (That was another delusion. Everyone else was as ordinary as me. Phew. Still, a slight let-down.)

I crossed the Pennines in the late 70s.

From Yorkshire to Lancashire. Don’t ask me why someone from Yorkshire went to university in Lancashire but I did.

And every weekend I went home to work on my parents’ market stall. Because, they couldn’t manage without me. So they said. I’m sure it wasn’t about parental control. (So, not quite the whole new life, only a weekday new life.)

But my trip across the Pennines coincided with the advent of the Yorkshire Ripper.

He’d started killing in Leeds when I was in sixth form. Leeds was nine miles away and somewhere I went occasionally to nightclubs. He killed first in 1975, then in 1976, and four times in 1977. He usually bludgeoned the women to death with a hammer and either stabbed them with a knife or sharpened hammer.

His initial murders were of prostitutes, often from Chapeltown in Leeds. But his third murder in 1977, ie his fifth one in total, was of a 16-year-old who was not a prostitute.

This put a new complexion on these killings. No woman was safe. Because prostitutes were different, yes? Or as one of my dad’s friends said regarding the other women who were killed, ‘Well, they were only whores* anyway.’ [*prostitutes, hookers, slags, sluts, I no longer remember his word of choice.]

So now, bright, pretty, young teenagers had become targets too.

And in the month I fled the murder stamping ground in the West Riding of Yorkshire for the safe haven of my university across the Pennines, the Ripper killed again. But not in Yorkshire, in Manchester. Across the Pennines.

Speculation grew that this killer was a lorry driver as his murders continued in the same areas: Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, Leeds, Manchester. Did he regularly travel from one area to the other, maybe across the Pennines, ie from Yorkshire to Lancashire, killing en route?

I was in touch with a schoolfriend and went to stay a few times with her in Leeds. In the heart of Ripper area. We went to pubs in Chapeltown and I wondered how she could live there with the threat of death hanging over the place. But, we all have to live, and accommodation was cheap in Chapeltown. So was life, sadly.

He was still killing when I graduated.

One Sunday night in the early new year, I’d gone to the local with my mum and dad. It was the semi-posh local, very old, wooden beams and all that.

Suddenly, John, the landlord, shouted to the whole bar: ‘They’ve got him. They’ve got the Ripper.’

The bar stilled. And then, the feeling of relief spread through us all.

No more worrying about which town or city would be next. Or who would be next. Or worrying about your wife, daughter, sister, mother, whenever they went out at night.

It’s more than 30 years ago but I remember that night.

John was listening to the news and the details that came through were limited. All I remember was a comment about basic policing and stolen number plates from a local scrapyard.

So although Sutcliffe was apprehended in Sheffield, with his potential next victim, he was brought to our local police station to be charged with stolen number plates because the scrapyard was within our area. Love the way the law works!

What other personal memories about this sad and vicious case? Well, the detective heading it up was the father of a girl in my year at school. She was actually our head girl at the time this was going on. The past plays tricks with our memories, but I remember this was mentioned at one point. Search wiki though and there’s no record of her. Search films made and yes, there she is, the daughter being portrayed, same name, studying for A levels, complete with glasses and long blonde hair.

Perhaps slightly more chilling is that the Ripper’s defence solicitor was one of my parents’ former employees. Spooky.

But I’d like to talk about Kerry for a moment. He came from a catholic family who lived on the local council estate. Well, there were lots of local council estates where I came from.

On Saturdays my mum and dad hired someone to help out on the market stall to cut cheese. At one point, Kerry was the cheese boy. Nice lad, quiet, studious and wanting to get away from the council estate. Hoping to study law, which was pretty difficult given his background. His Saturday job gave him and the family of seven or nine or eleven kids some cash.

And he did get away. Last thing I read of him while researching this post was that he retired, aged 62, as a circuit judge. He’d made it as a high court judge which isn’t bad for a lad from one of the most deprived areas in the UK.

The Ripper years dominated my late teens, early twenties. It was no joke to say that women in Yorkshire were frightened to go out.

Let me finish with some facts:

  • Peter Sutcliffe killed 13 women and attempted to kill seven others within a six-year period. Plus an earlier attack on a prostitute in 1969.
  • He was interviewed nine times during the course of the investigation. He was a lorry driver.
  • Sutcliffe claimed he heard god’s voice, telling him to kill prostitutes. Right. That would explain killing women who weren’t prostitutes wouldn’t it? Well?
  • He is serving twenty concurrent services of life imprisonment. But naturally he appealed against all that, because, you really want this nice chap on the streets yes?
  • Sutcliffe is in Broadmoor. This is a high-security psychiatric hospital. He has been assaulted twice while incarcerated.

Let’s look at a little religion here though. God told Sutcliffe to kill prostitutes. Somehow. Telephone? Holy Email? Oh, not then. Well maybe spiritual virtual something.

An eye for an eye.

Sutcliffe duly carried out his god-given duties (failed on 30% of them actually) and gets into Broadmoor only to be stabbed in the left eye. Ten years later, another Broadmoor inmate tries to blind him in the other eye:

You fucking raping, murdering bastard, I’ll blind your fucking other one.

It seems, our fucking raping murdering bastard is not too happy:

Sutcliffe was reportedly “terrified” as he was already blind in his left eye following the 1997 stabbing incident.

Hmm. I wonder how his twenty victims felt as he bludgeoned 13 of them to death and attempted to kill the others? Terrified? Possibly?

This man terrified women in a huge geographical region for six years.

So when Clarkson makes jokes about lorry drivers killing prostitutes, it isn’t funny at all.

  • Killing prostitutes isn’t funny.
  • Killing women isn’t funny.
  • Judging women because they are prostitutes isn’t funny.
  • Reminding women of the fear they face every day isn’t funny.

And telling them there is no patriarchy and everyone is equal is beyond derisive.

Should you want to read more about the Ripper:


And the obv wiki:


From which I idly took my material that wasn’t personal.

Please people. Don’t joke about using, abusing, raping, threatening or killing women. It really isn’t remotely funny for us to live a life of fear.

Especially a god-given one.

ETA Don’t you just want to know this convicted murderer became a Jehovah’s Witness this year. Guess all his sins are absolved. I love me this religion. Repeat rhetoric. Forget crimes. That is right, yes? Because, repentenance forgives killing.

About roughseasinthemed

I write about my life as an English person living in Spain and Gibraltar, on Roughseas, subjects range from politics and current developments in Gib to book reviews, cooking and getting on with life. My views and thoughts on a variety of topics - depending on my mood of the day - can be found over on Clouds. A few pix are over on Everypic - although it is not a photoblog. And of course my dog had his own blog, but most of you knew that anyway. Pippadogblog etc
This entry was posted in Atheism, christianity, history, journalism, Religion, WPlongform. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Just another ripping post into women …

  1. makagutu says:

    Well Kate, there is nothing to say except to agree that killing anyone isn’t funny, abusing and all the rest isn’t funny and should not be taken lightly


    • There is a lot to say. Making jokes is unacceptable. Treating prostitutes as of less value than other women is unacceptable. Whether or not any of us agree with sex work is a whole different debate, but regarding them as inferior is despicable.

      But two points. None of this is humour, as you agree, and we shouldn’t perpetuate stupid jokes about any of this.

      And the second one, is that this sort of killing causes women to live in fear. Simple as that.

      Because I can’t count, the third is … god told me? Yeah. He probably did.

      Liked by 3 people

      • makagutu says:

        I honestly can never read a story of rape and not shudder regardless of whether the lady is known to me or not.
        And to treat a woman as less than human because of her occupation is unacceptable.
        How does god told me differ from I did it? Such kind of defense annoy me


        • I can’t imagine what rape is like. The fear of it is bad enough, walking alone, anywhere, but on top of that, the victim-blaming/shaming that goes in is terrible. I’ve been out on my own in lots of places, late at night in the city centre, in my Spanish village, I’ve been walking in the countryside alone, in the UK, in Spain, in New Zealand, I’ve accepted lifts from strangers. Do all those activities mean I was asking to be raped? No. What is at fault with our society is victi ising women and restricting their freedoms by blaming them for putting themselves in a position where some man chooses to rape thrm. There is only ever one person to blame for rape, and murder. And it isn’t the victim.


  2. davidprosser says:

    I can remember the atmosphere of fear he caused during his killing career and I remember not once any sign of regret at what he did. I have to say I also remember the bastard who wrote letters to the police taunting them which hampered the investigation as they were taken to be genuine. That’s a man who should be taken out and shot alongside Sutcliffe. He probably prolonged the killing spree.
    I doubt Sutcliffe was immediately forgiven his crimes as he became a J.W. there was probably a penance like the half dozen Hail Mary’s another religion would have asked for. I will never excuse this man by saying he was sick as I believe he was just vicious and like so many of my breed just sure he couldn’t be wrong and wouldn’t be caught.
    I actually approve of prostitution but believe it should be in a safe house with full medical care and protection on the premises from the nasty element. It should only be by choice and it should be available to both sexes who can’t form a relationship and I don’t mean in a weird way I mean perhaps because of looks, or if not prostitutes then at least some kind of licensed sex therapist. It takes sex off the streets and away from young eyes, it makes it safer for the girls themselves and it also means they can pay taxes like everyone else to stop others moaning.
    I fully agree with your post Kate, jokes like Clarkson’s are not funny.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx
    p.s Crossing the border isn’t all bad is it? I forgave my wife for coming from Leeds.xxx


    • It really was an atmosphere of fear David, you have summed it up so well, sadly.

      Wearside Jack, I think. Reading around for this post, I think he got eight years. Should prob have charged him with complicity seeing, as you say, he probably prolonged the period of murders.

      When I was in the health service, there was an automatic investigation into any murders or suicides committed by someone registered with the mental health services. The question colleagues and I would often discuss was, ‘was he mad or bad?’ (it was invariably a he), bad usually won out :(.

      Prostitution is a complex issue and by no means do I profess to know the ins and outs (sorry) of it. But my main gripe is that however you look at it, it does perpetuate the image of women as sex objects. And, prostitutes are judged and derided. Just look at the change in public perception when Sutcliffe killed a young woman who wasn’t a prostitute. It was as though people sat up and said’oh, we’d better take this seriously now’.

      Crossing the border was great. I fully enjoyed my time at university. Liverpool has a place in my heart.


  3. I really expected to see Victoria NeuroNotes comments down here because she is my go-to Lady regarding the neurology and the human-psyche, ESPECIALLY when they both involve extreme religiosity! Hmm, surprised a bit. ❓

    My stomach churned a few times as I read this. I’m not a fan of such brutal gore, but pleasantly surprised, you didn’t go down that road. Thank you Kate. I read on. The reality of your story, your teen/early 20’s personal version of it, and just how small Yorkshire is and consequently most everyone knows everyone fairly well, made it too personal(?). Shit, I would’ve been suspicious of every single man I saw or came in contact with during that time! Considering that constant anxiety, I can halfway imagine your daily/nightly high-alert fear. How exhausting! 😦

    As much as I am a Humanist, and generally optimistic & encouraging of humanity…WITHIN the law(!), I have no sympathy whatsoever for Sutcliffe or his eye, his other eye, or his body and psychiatric fucked up brain. Yes, if it’s possible, I am a Humanist that believes in the usefulness (for the greater good) in the death-penalty. In Broadmoor, Sutcliffe is merely taking up space. Maintaining his existence is only costing (tax payers?) someone, some group, too much money for such a “too far gone” case! In fact, I’d campaign for just terminating him for the sake of science…psychiatric and neurological studies of insane, socially damaging religiosity! Mmmm, yes…or perhaps some wildlife preserve with several famished predators might get through to him in his final minutes? 😈

    HAH! 😛


    • I think Victoria is like all of us, sometimes there is nothing to say. (QV your condom post) But, she did comment on my soft pic intensive roughseas post reminding me she reads but doesn’t always comments. I don’t expect comments all the time, I can’t keep up, especially offline, so I appreciate the ones I do get.

      Having said that, yes, her take on it would have been interesting. But unless you are clued up on serial killers who kill women, initially prostitutes because God Said, but later anyone he got his miserable hands on, it may be difficult to add the neuro perspective. Hell, I don’t know, she’s my personal expert too. I think she’s a lot of peoples’ personal experts 🙂

      When I’m reading/editing books, one thing I reject is unnecessary gore. I’ve read some books with graphic violence that I usually throw in the rubbish bin without completing. The murders were horrific, there’s no doubt about that. And I had no intention of repeating in detail what the women suffered, hence a very short sentence saying how. As short as I could get.

      What I did want to write about, as both you and David correctly realised was, in David’s words, ‘the atmosphere of fear’ (nice alliteration there). It was tangible. Or to me as a late teens/early twenties woman, I felt the fear.

      Yorkshire is the largest county in England! We are like Texas, no less. Well, sort of. Yes, there was a serial killer on the loose targeting, initially prostitutes (oh, I’m ok, I’ve got a badge on that says I’m not a prostitute), but then any woman. But this sort of fear is something that women contend with all the time. For all the UK is small, we have had some seriously fucked-up killers. Or maybe they just all surfaced when I grew up. But, in 99% of cases it was men killing and/or raping women. And/or torturing them.

      What’s interesting is that you and David both suggest the death penalty for these killers. Yes, they are costing the taxpayer. I could probably google the cost of Broadmoor per day and it certainly won’t be cheap. But, I can’t endorse the death penalty. If some other crazy inmate resolves it I wouldn’t grieve. In the meantime, just keep that sort of person away from society. Jehovah or not. In fact, especially Jehovah.

      Poor predators would probably suffer food poisoning.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Just looked it up. £820 a day. Or £300,000 a year. Per inmate.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Wow that’s sad Kate. Sounds familiar. I believe (and don’t quote me on this, yet) the U.S. has the exorbitant number (and honor!) of highest incarcerations and felons in prison, IN THE WORLD! Now, multiply our population to the average conversion rate of the Dollar-to-British-Pound, and that gives you a mind-blowing idea of what we taxpayers are burdened with…and here’s the shameful irony…

        Our conservative governments and politics still feel it’s necessary to cut public educational funding AND public psych/A&D rehab programs MORE every four years! Can you say “asinine”? 😦


        • No. I can say arsehole though, as I frequently do. Does that count? In terms of decisions the two blur. And yet, hand on heart, i could not authorise someone’s execution. Life or death situation is different but … I wouldn’t be giving them fucking TVs though 😦

          Liked by 1 person

          • Death-penalty? That’s why my last paragraph was necessary! If we don’t even TRY to rehabilitate them, much less give them the a priori CHANCE to succeed via quality high education beyond primary & secondary levels, with a good-paying job…then we force ourselves into these inhumane corners because the proverbial open-wound injury soon festers if not treated properly and wisely, let alone becomes lethal. :/


          • Two issues. One is rehabilitation which a prison governor colleague told me was her main job. But how do you rehabilitate serial killers? I think not.

            The second is preventing crime and that society in the first place. But you won’t prevent everything even with education. And you certainly won’t prevent vicious sadistic murderers.

            So different horses for different courses.


  4. Two issues. One is rehabilitation which a prison governor colleague told me was her main job. But how do you rehabilitate serial killers? I think not.

    Yes, I agree with that most of the time. I was speaking in general terms about less heinous criminals. Crime-rates always rise for two primary reasons: 1) poor economy and employment rates — offering fewer wage choices for the immoral, which fuels a widening economic (and social?) gap between economic classes, and 2) based upon conditions in #1, there are subsequently little to NO rehabilitation programs (with highly qualified staff unless they’re paid WELL!) available for the above struggling populace, even the ones who don’t want to murder or steal, but turn to drug or chemical abuse. Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, both Nobel Prize Winners in Economics agree…

    The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this has been something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Often, however, they learn it too late.” — The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided [American] Society Endangers Our Future, by Joseph Stiglitz

    And they essentially repeat the philosophy of an 1835 Alexis de Tocqueville…”Some “individualized” Americans independent of a majority often have the pragmatic realization that looking after the welfare of others is not only good for the soul, but is equally good for business and wealth.” More specifically, a pragmatic and HAPPY 1 percent (hell, 10%!) to contribute to a state & federal infrastructure (including public health programs as I’ve mentioned here), as opposed to exorbitant personal opulence reminiscent of the unfettered, unregulated Guilded Age of the Industrial Revolution.

    To your second paragraph Kate, I completely agree. Regarding “different horses for different courses” yes indeed. As long as there are plenty of horses of various breeds to go around fairly, AND the various courses are also designed and managed on level playing fields for the greatest good for the greatest number! It’s niave to think that power and wealth never corrupt in a hyper-“free society.” LOL

    P.S. Apologies that this reply was so…full of boring academia. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • It was interesting. I can never understand the American opposition to a public-funded health care system like our NHS. I’ve heard horror stories of people being refused care and treatment by their insurers. Especially mental health cover. Or cancer drugs. Pernicious system. The only good thing I can see out of it is that Americans seem awfully clued up on drugs. Probably comes of learning what insurers will fund and won’t. Or maybe just ‘cos y’all seem to take a lot of (prescription) drugs.

      A good health and welfare system should be the hallmark of a civilised society. Sadly the UK is attempting to dismantle ours by withholding as many handouts as possible. I read one horror story where people were going to be sent to job centres for ‘advice’ if they had mental health problems. Duh. What sort of half-baked policy is that?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have just a few minutes before my little students arrive so I must be quick…

        I abhore oversimplifying complex important subjects like this, oversimplification happens WAY TOO MUCH around here (laziness!), but I feel the major cause of the overcrowding in the American penal system is the DISproportionate tax revenue & distribution from its populace — the American middle-class, especially the lower third — have been overburdened the last two decades and for all intents & purposes slipped into the lower-class! Stiglitz, Krugman, and several other politically “neutral” economists say the same thing.

        Sadly Kate, you are spot on about American’s being the largest consumers (addicts?) of prescription drugs and illegal drugs, being obese (surprise, right?), and poorly insured or not insured at all — this includes me! — while the increasingly deep-funded interest groups/corporations puppeteer our municipal, county, state, & federal congresses to legislate for their interests. Not ironically, the Land of Opportunity and home of the “Free and the Brave” is in reality the modern Roman Empire: governed and heavily influenced by the oligarchy and “Praetorian Guards.”


        • I don’t like being negative or saying something that may cause offence to people from another culture (I’m talking country here, not lifestyle 😉 ) but what I’ve seen of America is the Great American Myth, not people achieving their dreams. I read about a woman with two degrees struggling to pay her rent and her student loan in her mid-late forties, a skilled computer programmer having to deliver newspapers, and a woman having to go out of (your) state, or cross state to get an abortion, and having to appeal for funds to pay for it.

          And yes, I read about so many people on drugs for anxiety and depression (although given the above examples, one can see why).

          It’s also the modern Roman, or any other, empire by way of its invasive action and ‘colonisation’ just under a different guise. But that’s another issue.

          For the most part, the Americans I meet on the internet have similar views and politicsto me about major issues, which is why I am wary of appearing to be critical. People are easily offended. Most of the fascist Americans I have met dropped me years ago. Note, they dropped me. Because you don’t question America. I’m pretty mild and moderate these days 🙂


  5. EllaDee says:

    I don’t find it at all funny. I’m sad.
    Last Saturday Stephanie Leeton should have been getting married.
    Instead “Brides honour Stephanie Scott with #PutYourDressOut social media tributes…”
    “The tribute was the brainchild of Mamamia editor Jamila Rizvi, who highlighted that 30 women had lost their lives to violence this year alone.”
    Stephanie’s “High-profile murder case sparks renewed calls for Australia to confront ‘epidemic’ of violence against women”
    This, on the back of “Adrian Ernest Bayley has been convicted for three more brutal attacks on women committed in the lead-up to Jill Meagher’s murder”


    • What was most interesting about those stories was the second one where the anti-violence campaigner Cleary was talking about changing culture. That’s really the key issue to me. And while DV was mentioned, only one of those murders was allegedly carried out by a partner. The others were a school cleaner and Bayley out on parole? Doesn’t bear thinking about. Thanks for the—depressing—links. It’s all too easy not to be aware that women are frequently killed all over the world, sometimes by someone they know/live with, but not always. As I said, depressing.


  6. EllaDee says:

    Roughseas, I commented but an over-abundance of links has sent it to Spam… EllaDee


  7. disperser says:

    Actually, it’s not fun to joke about anyone being killed, man or woman.

    . . . but I don’t want to spiral this into another discussion on how far is a person, any person, allowed to go to feel safe.


  8. Pingback: Troubled | Clouds moving in

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