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Real Crime: The Hunt For Wearside Jack ITV, 10.30pm; Unmasking the Ripper hoaxer.

REAL Crime tells the true story of the man who hoaxed the biggest manhunt in British history by pretending to be the Yorkshire Ripper.

He diverted police enquiries for almost three years before the real Ripper - Peter Sutcliffe - was caught.

Wearside Jack earned his name after he sent in a tape recording of his voice taunting Assistant Chief Constable George Oldfield - head of the Ripper investigation.

After voice experts analysed the recording Oldfield focused the hunt on the Castletown area of Sunderland.

During this time three more murders were committed.

At the Ripper's trial, Mr Justice Boreham said: "The scent was falsified by a cynical, almost inhuman hoaxer. I hope that one day he may be exposed." But more than two decades later, Wearside Jack is still at large.

The Hunt For Wearside Jack reveals new evidence, shocking theories and exclusive interviews that may lead to the hoaxer being unmasked.

The programme meets Patrick Lavelle, a regional journalist, who has conducted an investigation into Wearside Jack.

He believes the hoaxer was present at the murder of Joan Harrison and that there is a link between the hoaxer and Sutcliffe.

Then there's Olive Curry, a local woman who claims she saw Wearside Jack with Sutcliffe at her cafe on more than one occasion. She believes the two were working together. Rob Roher is an ex-northern editor of The New Statesman.

He believes the theory that the hoaxer acted alone and gathered all his information from newspapers.

And author David Yallop who believes that the hoaxer was a serving police officer.

Recent advances in DNA analysis throws doubt on the forensic evidence suggesting Wearside Jack might be linked to the murder of Joan Harrison.

The programme also uses the latest audio technology to age the hoaxer's voice artificially, revealing how he might sound today.

This stunning documentary explores why the investigators failed to spot the work of the hoaxer more quickly, and asks West Yorkshire Police - given the information now available - why they are not still actively hunting for Wearside Jack.
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Title Annotation:TV Preview
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 2, 2001
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