Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Peter Sutcliffe

A Killer's Mask

It would be another two months before Peter Sutcliffe would kill again. His next victim as 41-year-old Vera Millward, an older woman, just as the letter from the man calling himself the Yorkshire Ripper had promised.

Vera Millward, a Spanish-born mother of seven, had been living with her Jamaican boyfriend, Cy Burkett, in their flat in Greenham Avenue, Hulme, at the time of her death. Vera had been very ill after an operation, the third in as many years. She left her home on Tuesday 16 May to buy some cigarettes and pick up some painkillers from the nearby hospital. Sometime after purchasing her cigarettes, she met Peter Sutcliffe.

On the grounds of the Manchester Royal Infirmary, in a well lit area, Peter Sutcliffe struck Vera on the head three times, then undressing her in his usual manner, he slashed her so viciously across her stomach that her intestines spilled out. He also stabbed her repeatedly in the one wound on her back, just below the lower left ribs, and punctured her right eyelid, bruising her eye. Her screams for help were heard, and ignored by a man and his son entering the hospital at the time of her attack. People in this area were well accustomed to such cries in the night.

When he had finished with her, Peter dragged her body twelve feet away and dumped her by a chain-link fence, on a rubbish pile in a corner of the carpark. She was found at 8:10 am the following morning, lying on her right side, face down with her arms folded beneath her and her legs straight. Peter had placed her shoes neatly on her body. Tyre tracks were found nearby. They matched those left at the murder site of Irene Richardson and at the site where Marilyn Moore had been attacked.