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Convicting the Yorkshire Ripper (Hardback)

The Trial of Peter Sutcliffe

P&S History > British History P&S History > By Century > 20th Century P&S History > True Crime World History > UK & Ireland > England > Yorkshire & Humberside

By Richard Charles Cobb
Imprint: Pen & Sword True Crime
Pages: 232
Illustrations: 32 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399011877
Published: 6th March 2023

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Finally for the first time in over 40 years, the shocking true story behind the trial of most infamous serial killer in British criminal history comes to light.

In the mid-1970s, Peter Sutcliffe, aka The Yorkshire Ripper began a reign of terror across the North of England lasting five years, with 13 women brutally murdered and resulting in the largest criminal manhunt in British history.

His trial in 1981, the unfolding of a real-life horror story, attracted vast crowds from across the world, with every newspaper in the country sending journalists to cover what was dubbed the trial of the century.

For two weeks, both prosecution and defence found themselves embroiled in a shocking and unexpected turn of events when Sutcliffe entered a plea of insanity. What followed was an intense showdown between the psychiatrists and the prosecution as eyewitnesses who knew Sutcliffe best, medical experts and serving police officers all took the stand to answer the big question;

Was Peter Sutcliffe suffering from diminished responsibility? Or was he a cold and calculating killer?

The real story of what went on behind the scenes in the court room of the Old Bailey over those intense two weeks, has never been revealed… until now!

Using ground-breaking new research, never before seen images, original court transcripts, police reports, and eyewitness testimony, the author takes the reader on a step-by-step account of the court room drama, presenting the truth about what actually happened, and finally reveals just how close the Yorkshire Ripper came to getting away with murder.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is a great book which goes into details the entire trial which shocked the world. I found this well written and the plot has been extensively researched well done to the author!

NetGalley, Aisha Bari

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is really good and gives fascinating detail on the trial that I had never heard before. There are details in this that I did know. A welcome addition to the books on this subject that are out there.

NetGalley, Karl Wardlaw

I thought this was a very informative and well written true crime book.

NetGalley, Laura Fayle

Overall, a very well written book by an author who knows the subject and used fresh source material to tell the story.

The big take away from me is thank goodness for an independent judiciary who declined the easy, brush it under the carpet option and insisted on a full trial to air and deal with the dirty laundry, with the result Sutcliffe died in prison rather than being released at some point down the line.

five stars, well worth the purchase price.

Read the full review here

ARRSE (Army Rumour Service)

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Yes, loved this book. Personally interested in the chase, so this one kept my interest all the way through. What a unique and difficult offender... Excellent writing.

NetGalley, Cecilia Vettraino Brown

I thought it was very well researched, engrossing and all in a plainly readable manner

NetGalley, Matthew Higgins

An interesting and informative read for any true crime nerd. Clearly well researched and given exceptional attention to detail. Lots of facts about the case I didn't previously know about, such as how Sutcliffe tried to plead insanity.

The read is given a great insight into the court room and process of how The Ripper was actually convicted.

NetGalley, Katie Jackson

I enjoy reading True Crime if it is British so this one didn't disappoint - I can still remember laid in front of the fire reading the headlines in the News of The world which back then was a very large newspaper each time they found one of his victims. I was only about 12 This book was well written and it was good to have all of the information in one place. Being reminded of a time when everything was on paper, there was no ability to cross reference and yet after he was caught and convicted it started to pave the way to connect other forces and other crimes. It was shocking how prostitutes were treated differently to other women and nobody took their murders seriously. Its fascinating to read about his relationship with his wife and family. It is hard to believe that women wrote to him and wanted to visit him because of the crimes he committed.

NetGalley, Sylvia Vicary

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

So I would like to start off with the fact that the writing style of this book was super easy. Somtimes with non fiction books the writing is quite dry and academic, this was NOT the case for this book at all. Richard uses reports, evidence and transcripts to keep the readers engaged. I really enjoyed that the writer didn't glamorise the situarion either.

I would highly recommend if you are a fan of true crime and/or interested/intrigued by the Yorkshire Ripper.

NetGalley, Casanova Macleod

I really really liked this book. It was a really good true crime. It had a lot of good information. I learned a lot of things about what really happened. It was so good. Definitely a reread for me.

NetGalley, Kara C

The author uses reports, evidence, and transcripts to give the reader a good view of the case and what happened. Their writing style makes it easy to understand and become immersed in what happened.
I would definitely suggest this book to fans of true crime.

NetGalley, Morgan Frazier

Article: How the Ripper was finally convicted

Yorkshire Post

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Convicting the Yorkshire Ripper by Richard Charles Cobb was a well written and researched book about the Trial of Peter Sutcliffe the Infamous Yorkshire Ripper who was caught by a chance encounter with the Police after causing years of terror to the People of the North of England.

I liked the way this book was written as it wasn't too academic. It covers how the police (eventually) caught Peter Sutcliffe and then goes on to go through the trial in great detail. I haven't read anything about the trial before and it was very interesting hearing about what actually happens at The Old Bailey. The book didn't glamourise the situation but was true to life with real facts.

A great book for any fan of true crimes.

NetGalley, Hazel Thomson

This book was interesting and it kept me reading. You can tell the author had done tons of research.

I recommend this one. In fact I just recommended this book to everyone I know who loves reading books like this .

NetGalley, Chantale Ferguson

I have read quite a few books based around The Yorkshire Ripper. I found this one very interesting and well written. I loved how this book gave lots of details about the trial which is something I haven't read much about before

NetGalley, Mel Smith

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Let me just start this review by saying Richard Charles Cobb knows how to write a great book! Sometimes when writing nonfiction it all sounds dry an academic but not the case with convicting The Yorkshire Ripper! Mr. Cobb start with momentum and keeps going they have details in this book that you will not find another box because it covers the trial in many quart room appearances he made it also talks about the victims no one thinks about. The first lead detective on the case the police commissioner Peter Sutcliffe wipe Sonia and many others. Starting in 1975 Peter Sutcliffe went on to murder or attempt to murder over a dozen women some were street walkers some were school girls but all had someone who loved them and didn’t want them to be murdered in the street. This book covers the attempts that were made to stop him that all went up to them finally doing so it was a great book taken from horrible circumstances but everyone deserves to have this story told and I think the author did a great job and I will definitely be looking forward to reading more from Richard Charles Cobb in the future. This is a book I highly recommend!

NetGalley, Janalyn Prude

I did not know what to expect from this book but I was positively surprised! Although it's about the trial of Peter Sutcliffe, the author managed to find the perfect way of describing every detail of the trial without being boring. The level of detail of both the cases and the trial is also impressive and it gives even more credit to the author. I enjoyed knowing the behind the curtains of the Yorkshire Ripper sentence and I have to say that at times I was convinced the jury wasn't going to find him guilty of murder, even if I knew already the verdict.
In summary this is an entertaining read for fans of true crime!

NetGalley, Chiara Cooper

I have been watching real-life police interrogations and true crime videos on various media lately, so when I stumbled across this book and was sufficiently interested to learn more about this case.

The Yorkshire Ripper terrorised Northeast England in the 1970s, brutally killing 13 women and attempting to murder 7 others. There are many who believe the victim numbers are significantly higher.

This book describes the life of Peter Sutcliffe, including comments from his friends and most significantly his relationship with his wife Sonia. The author meticulously details each of the victim’s murder’s, including the horrific injuries sustained by these poor women, most were sex workers. This section was gruelling and confronting.

However, the part of the story I was most fascinated by concerns the court proceedings at the Old Bailey in London. It was interesting to note the prosecutor was none other than the Attorney General himself, Sir Michael Havers (father of actor Nigel Havers). Anyway, Sutcliffe pleaded guilty on the grounds of diminished responsibility to be charged for manslaughter. The judge listened to both the prosecution and defence team regarding this plea deal but was unable to accept it. The judge decided a jury would need to decide if Sutcliffe was suffering from a mental illness (manslaughter) or if he was a cold-blooded killer (murder).

The author then described the details of the prosecution case (cold-blooded killer), the defence case (paranoid schizophrenia), psychiatrists, victims who survived attacks, those closest to the defendant, police officers and remarkably, Sutcliffe himself. We read the judge’s interjections, advice to the jury and sentencing comments. The author also describes the considerable challenges imposed on the police and specifically the senior officers in charge of the case, this over a gruelling 5-year period.

I was fascinated by the details of the court proceedings and the advice offered by the medical experts. This author has written a detailed account of this case and this book is one well worth reading for those interested in the subject matter or true crime in general.

NetGalley, Mark Porton

An intriguing and gripping book talking about what happened at the Yorkshire Ripper's trial.
It's fascinating and terrifying at the same time but it's also a document to what happened.
Recommended.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I remember that as a student of a criminology course at the university, I research P Sutcliff’s case. I read a lot of files, documents and books on this subject. This book is the first one which revealed what happened behind the closed door of the court. It was a good read full of new facts.
I highly recommend this book.

NetGalley, meg gajda

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have read a few books on this topic over the years but this is a different take on the story. This focuses on the battle in the courtroom to determine if Sutcliffe was “mad or bad”.
Using details taken from police records, court transcripts and testimony from those close to the case, this delves into the mind of this sadistic murderer and details what happened in the courtroom as prosecution and defence both try to prove their case.
Psychiatrists had determined that Sutcliffe had a mental illness but the judge said that all the facts should be put before a jury and it was up to them to decide.
It’s a powerful insight into one of the biggest and most controversial trials in Britain. Although the descriptions of the injuries the victims suffered were horrendous, the details of what happened in the courtroom were fascinating.
Knowing this is fact and not fiction makes it all the more terrifying. It’s well researched, well written and compulsive reading.

NetGalley, Anne-marie Cox

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A must-read for true crime fans, a great insight into the trial and how Sutcliffe behaved throughout. Glad I had the chance to read this and would definitely recommend.

NetGalley, Toni Wade

Have you ever heard of the Yorkshire Ripper? Well, you should have if you are a true crime fan. He carved a path of victims in Yorkshire, England that has grabbed many comparisons with the Infamous Jack the Ripper. He left many bodies in his wake and we may never know exactly how many people he killed. While his life was claimed in a relatively quite manner (he died of Covid in 2020), that is not how he killed. This is the story of how he was finally convicted and put behind bars.

NetGalley, Terri Ladage Randolph

I think I may be in the minority, but I read this book knowing very little of the Yorkshire Ripper. I think I listen to a podcast a few years back, but remembered little of it.
So I was really excited to get into this book. It was full of details and lots of information. I learned so much and it was a quick read. I would recommend it to anyone who loves true crime.

NetGalley, Jennifer JonesDay

The psychology behind the minds behind one of the world’s deadliest Serial killers is amazing. It is fascinating book to read, and I am now even more interested and intrigued on the human behavior of serial killers after reading this book and gaining more insight into Sutcliffe’s behavior. It is extremely professionally researched and written by Richard Charles Cobb
I found a lot of answers to a lot of questions I have asked myself over the years, so I feel I now have a clearer understanding about this dangerous dark evil being after reading this book. Remember to never forget their victims and families as they are the true victims as their suffering never ends. A truly sadistic and calculating killer.

NetGalley, Kathleen RIGGS

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is the third book that I have read by this author and the second about the Yorkshire Ripper. The book itself is very well researched, and is very readable. I have read lots of true crime books, including some about the Yorkshire Ripper but this and the previous book on the subject both have more to offer. This book focused more on the court case and the sentencing as well as the debate about Sutcliffe's mental health. I like the fact that the author takes the time to explain processes and language for the lay reader and this makes it more accessible. I would certain recommend the author and both of the books to lovers of true crime. I am excited to see what else this author has to offer.

NetGalley, Claire Knight

Finally for the first time in over 40 years, the shocking true story behind the trial of most infamous serial killer in British criminal history comes to light.

I was 10 at the time of Sutcliffe's trial and I remember how scared women were to go out in the cities near where I lived. I remember the take back the night marches and how the women of Bradford tried to move on from this but found it nigh on impossible.

This is the most in depth book on the trial I've read and I found it fascinating and horrifying at the same time.

NetGalley, Jay F

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What a read! This one kept me on the edge of my seat. This gives so much insight into this case. Very well written.

NetGalley, Jacqueline Van Der Merwe

This is a well-researched book. It is the best of non-fiction... I highly recommend this book. If one is interested to read more, the author has another book: On the Trail of the Yorkshire Ripper: His Final Secrets Revealed.

NetGalley, Patricia Balster

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Soooo good…. Finally for the first time in over 40 years, the shocking true story behind the trial of most infamous serial killer in British criminal history comes to light.
In the mid-1970s, Peter Sutcliffe, aka The Yorkshire Ripper began a reign of terror across the North of England lasting five years, with 13 women brutally murdered and resulting in the largest criminal manhunt in British history. Very interesting and covered the trial so well.

NetGalley, Michelle Coates

I thought to myself another Ripper book. Okay let's give it go and see if I learn anything new. Boy did I!!!!!
This is the two weeks in court when Peter Sutcliffe stunned the public when he entered the plea of diminished responsibility. He was a serial killer of women end of story. But this book delves into those two weeks when the prosecution and the eye witnesses, the psychiatrists who has been studying this man's behaviour verbally fought amongst themselves. To answer and prove that their client was insane.
Personally I have always been a sceptic when diminished responsibility is brought up in a murder case. For me it was a cop out. But this book had me wavering. A compelling and thought provoking read.

NetGalley, Peggy Beaver

I liked the raw truth of this book it felt very factual with little opinion and for a truly disturbing topic I feel the detail was just right, I think true crime fans would thoroughly enjoy this. I think this book showed the Yorkshire Ripper as exactly what he was, as a coward who killed young women who were simply trying to live and make a living and the attempt for the insanity plea.

NetGalley, Elena Corsan

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I am fascinated by the whole Yorkshire Ripper case. As a small child it seemed to be on the local news every week that he had killed someone else, clearly this wasn't the case but it seemed it to a 7 or 8 year old. I was worried about this bad man that they couldn't catch but a little more relieved to know that Leeds, Bradford and so on were quite some way from where I was growing up. Fast forward to adulthood and I have read many books about him and his reign of terror, one of the best being a huge book about the bungled investigation.
This book is about his trial and I was shocked to find the defense and prosecution had agreed to manslaughter on diminished responsibility....thank goodness for the judge. It was interesting to hear Sutcliffe's own words rather than just those of an author.
A really good book.

NetGalley, sadie powell

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Such a good read with information that hasn’t been covered in many a documentary that are available to view online. It’s very in depth and the respect paid to the victims is shown so clearly in this book from the author.
Having read several books on the the murders this, I found was the best one. Having the reports from the trail was a really interesting read, and even though you know how it ends the defence and prosecution team with the questions transcript in the book made it even more informative. I would recommend anyone that is interested in the subject to read this book.

NetGalley, Beverly Swift

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Would recommend this to any true crime fan.

NetGalley, Michelle Griffiths

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

In depth, thorough analysis of the case right through to what happened to key people after the trial. Really interesting and detailed account of a high profile case, offering verbatim reports from the trial itself. This is up there with the best true crime accounts in that it offers facts and context while never losing sight of the victims and always offering respect to their memories.

NetGalley, Louise Gray

About Richard Charles Cobb

Richard C Cobb is regarded as one of the world's leading authorities on Jack the Ripper and the Whitechapel murders. He is a true crime author and founder of The Dagger Club which gathers together experts and historians in the field of true crime for research projects, social occasions, conferences and events. Richard also runs award-winning tours in and around London, focusing on Jack the Ripper, the Kray twins and the cultural history of Spitalfields and Brick Lane. Originally from Ireland, he now lives in London.

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