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Last Updated: Monday, 20 March 2006, 15:32 GMT
Relief of Ripper victims' families
A former labourer whose hoax letters and tapes seriously affected the police hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper in the late 1970's has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

John Humble from Sunderland who became known as Wearside Jack was caught last year. Relatives of those killed by the real Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, have spoken about the effect Humble's actions had on them.

Richard McCann
Richard McCann still associates the tapes with Sutcliffe

The tapes, made 27 years ago, still live in the memory of Richard McCann, whose mother Wilma was the first woman to be killed by serial killer Peter Sutcliffe.

Mr McCann said Humble's arrest last October in connection with the "Wearside Jack" hoax had brought the story of the Ripper back to the surface for him and for the other victims' families.

He told the BBC how he first heard the tapes while he was sitting in his local social club, when he was 10 years old.

"I remember being petrified - like an electric shock had hit me - just being rigid and thinking 'that's my mum's killer'.

"I could now put a voice to the person who killed mum, and also I thought 'why are people allowing me to listen to this'."


Mr McCann said hearing the tapes "created a lot of anxiety" and since then he has always associated the voice on the tapes with Peter Sutcliffe.

He should have realised he was misdirecting the police and that he was causing criminal damage to people
Beryl Leach
Victim's mother

"I've never heard Peter Sutcliffe talk. I came down [to court] today to hopefully hear John Humble's voice, and disassociate that voice on the tape from Peter Sutcliffe."

He said Humble, who only spoke briefly, looked a "sorry character" as he sat in the dock, but Mr McCann said the guilty plea would bring some closure for "part of the story".

"Peter Sutcliffe is still alive and I don't think, until he passes away, the story itself will be fully closed for me."

Beryl Leach, whose daughter Barbara was killed by Sutcliffe, described Humble as a criminal and said she was happy someone had been held responsible for the hoax.

"It started off as a hoax but he should have realised he was misdirecting the police and that he was causing criminal damage to people."

Man admits to 'Ripper' tape hoax
20 Mar 06 |  West Yorkshire


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