British serial killer the “Yorkshire Ripper”, who murdered 13 women between 1975 and 1980, died from Covid-19 after ignoring self-isolation guidance in prison, an inquest ruled Wednesday.
Sutcliffe, who died in November aged 74, was convicted in 1981 of the killings and seven more attempted murders after a reign of terror that is still seared on the public memory.
He received 20 life sentences, which are typically 15 years or less in the UK, then ordered to serve at least 30 years in prison, but in 2010 a High Court judge ruled that he should never be freed.
Sutcliffe tested positive for Covid-19 having ignored the prison’s shielding guidance, said jail governor Lee Drummond.
Drummond said vulnerable prisoners were been warned of Covid’s dangers and offered shielding measures including being kept apart from other inmates at meal times.
Pathologist Clive Bloxham, appearing by videolink at the inquest in Durham, north east England, said the post-mortem showed Sutcliffe had “extremely heavy lungs” — a common result of coronavirus.
He said the infection was the cause of death, with heart disease and diabetes contributing, adding that the death was not suspicious.
Former lorry driver Sutcliffe, who was assessed to have had paranoid schizophrenia at the time of his crimes across northern England, had spent time after his sentence at a high-security psychiatric unit.
But he was transferred to a prison in northeast England after his mental state was deemed stable enough.
The hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper was one of Britain’s biggest but police failings and shortcomings led to an overhaul of how complex criminal investigations were conducted.
Sutcliffe evaded capture for years despite being interviewed several times, eventually confessing to the crimes in 1981 after being arrested for using stolen number plates on his car.
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