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The BBC's Jane Peel
"They felt Peter Sutcliffe had manipulated them"
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Wednesday, 9 May, 2001, 08:02 GMT 09:02 UK
Ripper's pen pals revealed
The Yorkshire Ripper
Peter Sutcliffe: Reign of terror in late 1970s
The voice of the Yorkshire Ripper has been heard on television for the first time since he was jailed for life for killing 13 women 20 years ago.

Taped prison conversations between Peter Sutcliffe and a graphologist were broadcast on BBC One's Everyman programme on Wednesday night.

The programme, entitled Dear Peter - Letters To The Yorkshire Ripper, focused on three women who have kept in constant contact with Sutcliffe while he has been in Broadmoor high security psychiatric hospital.

I guess I'm a guy who needs friends

Peter Sutcliffe
Between 1976 and 1981, Sutcliffe killed 13 women, mostly prostitutes, in the north of England. Many of their bodies were horribly mutilated.

It is believed to be the first time that his voice has been heard in public since he was sentenced 20 years ago with a recommendation that he serve at least 30 years in jail.

He was sent to Broadmoor after being diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic.

Despite his notoriety, Sutcliffe receives an average of 30 letters a week from women, many of them admirers.

Broadmoor Prison
One woman moved closer to Broadmoor to be close to Sutcliffe
The extracts arise from a conversation Sutcliffe had with Diane Simpson, a graphologist who interviewed him in prison.

On the tape, a softly spoken Sutcliffe says: "Dianne, thanks for all the happiness you've brought me.

"You've brought me zillions and zillions of happy moments.

"You've filled my heart with gladness, and all the good wishes you've sent me and the way you've helped me - I'm just lost for words.

"There's nothing adequate enough to describe the way I feel about you as a friend

"You mean the world to me, all right?

Carried away

"But enough of that because I tend to get carried away and all sloppy and I don't think you'd like that.

"I won't let anybody down who visits me. I will always give them a really nice visit. I guess I'm a guy who needs friends."

The programme also featured interviews with two women who were admirers of Sutcliffe's.

Artist Sandra Lester even moved closer to Broadmoor to be near Sutcliffe, but her hopes were dashed when he refused to allow her to visit him in prison.

Olive Curry, from Tyneside, did visit Sutcliffe and believes he used to visit the Seaman's Mission Cafe in Sheffield where she worked before he was caught.

In all cases women have been disillusioned and dejected and played one off against another by him.

Christine Morgan, programme producer
She said he was always accompanied by a man with a Wearside accent who she believes could have been his accomplice in many of the murders.

The programme's producer Christine Morgan said: "Most people would express some surprise that anybody would like to write to him.

"There are elements of curiosity, grim fascination and excitement for these women.

"A lot of woman believe they can heal him.

"In all cases women have been disillusioned and dejected and played one off against another by him."

Everyman was broadcast on Wednesday, 9 May at 2235BST on BBC One

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31 Jan 00 | The Shipman files
Shipman joins Britain's chamber of horrors
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