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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 October 2005, 14:17 GMT 15:17 UK
Man remanded in Ripper hoax probe
John Humble
John Humble was arrested in Sunderland on Tuesday night
A 49-year-old man has been remanded in custody charged with being the infamous Yorkshire Ripper hoaxer known as Wearside Jack.

John Humble appeared at Leeds Magistrates' Court charged with sending letters and a tape to police at the height of the Ripper's reign of terror.

Mr Humble, of Flodden Road, Ford Estate, Sunderland, was charged with perverting the course of justice.

West Yorkshire Police were wrong-footed by the tape during the Ripper inquiry.

The clerk at Leeds Magistrates' Court read the charge to Mr Humble, which said he was accused of sending the letters and audio tape between 1 March 1978 and 30 June 1979.

She said: "You sent a series of communications, namely three letters and an audio tape, to West Yorkshire Police and the press claiming to be the perpetrator of a series of murders that at that time were the subject of a police investigation."

Forensic teams have been examining the house in Flodden Road where Mr Humble is believed to have lived with his brother.

Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, from Bradford, now 59, was jailed for life in 1981 for the murder of 13 women.

The house where Humble was arrested in  Flodden Road
Forensic experts have searched Humble's house in Sunderland

In the late 1970s and 1980 his murders brought terror across the north of England and there was huge pressure on the West Yorkshire Police murder team, headed by Assistant Chief Constable George Oldfield.

But the inquiry was thrown off course after the three letters and a tape were sent to the investigation team by a man who was to be nicknamed Wearside Jack due to his strong Sunderland accent.

In June 1979, Mr Oldfield had been sent a tape recording by a man claiming to be "Jack" who had carried out the grisly murders.

The cassette followed three letters sent over the previous 12 months by what appeared to be the same man claiming responsibility for the killings.

The voice on the tape taunted Mr Oldfield, who was coming under tremendous pressure to catch the Ripper, and suggested his police colleagues were letting him down and that the killer would strike again.

'Strike again'

It said: "I'm Jack. I see you are still having no luck catching me. I have the greatest respect for you George, but Lord! You are no nearer catching me now than four years ago when I started. I reckon your boys are letting you down, George. They can't be much good can they?

"The only time they came near catching me was a few months back in Chapeltown when I was disturbed. Even then it was a uniformed copper not a detective.

"I warned you in March that I'd strike again. Sorry it wasn't Bradford. I did promise you that but I couldn't get there. I'm not quite sure when I will strike again but it will definitely be sometime this year, maybe September, October, even sooner if I get the chance. I am not sure where, maybe Manchester,

"I like it there, there's plenty of them knocking about. They never learn do they George? I bet you've warned them, but they never listen.

'Nice chatting'

"At the rate I'm going I should be in the book of records. I think it's eleven (sic) up to now isn't it?

"Well, I'll keep on going for quite a while yet. I can't see meself being nicked just yet. Even if you do get near I'll probably top myself first. Well, it's been nice chatting to you George. Yours, Jack the Ripper.

"No good looking for fingerprints. You should know by now it's as clean as a whistle. See you soon. Bye.

"Hope you like the catchy tune at the end. Ha Ha."

The recording finished with a 22-second clip from the song Thank You For Being A Friend, by Andrew Gold.

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