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Ripper hoaxer admits his 'evil'.

Byline: By DAVE HIGGENS

THE Yorkshire Ripper hoaxer known as Wearside Jack had a fascination with the original Jack The Ripper, but admitted to police that what he had done was "evil", a court heard yesterday.

Unemployed labourer John Humble, 50, said he was probably drunk when he posted the three letters and an audio tape which taunted detectives searching for the Ripper in the late 1970s.

Leeds Crown Court heard the hoax sent the whole Ripper inquiry in the wrong direction as senior detectives believed he was the murderer.

Yesterday, Humble spoke only four times to enter guilty pleas to four counts of perverting the course of justice. But his Wearside accent could be clearly heard.

Paul Worsley QC, prosecuting, told the court how, in the early 70s, Humble had a fascination with the 19 th century murderer known as Jack The Ripper.

He said Humble would borrow books about the brutal killings in London from his local library in Sunderland.

Later, after Peter Sutcliffe confessed to being the Yorkshire Ripper, Humble became fascinated with the murders.

Mr Worsley said he would even have read about himself as the mysterious hoaxer.

Humble, from Sunderland, was arrested after modern forensic techniques matched his DNA with a sample found on one of the envelopes.

The court heard how he told police: "I know it was wrong. I was probably drunk when I done it."

He later said: "I shouldn't have done it, I know that."

Asked why, he responded: "Because it's evil."

Humble made two brief attempts to alert police about the hoax in 1979. A recording was played of a short telephone call made to the Sunderland incident room which included the words: "Tell him it's a fake."

In his police interviews he said: "I phoned in to tell them that it was a hoax, but they didn't take any notice. I phoned in twice. I tried to tell them it was a hoax."

Asked why, he said: "Because I felt guilty."

Referring to the murder of Barbara Leach, he said: "Because that lass, one of the lasses, was murdered. I blamed myself for it. That's why I phoned in. They took no notice and another two got killed."

Mr Worsley said Humble attempted to kill himself in 1979 by jumping off a bridge into the River Wear but he was rescued by police.

In one of the letters Humble referred to the murder of Joan Harrison in Preston, Lancashire, in 1975.

The murder, which Sutcliffe has always denied, had some similarities to the Ripper killings and the murderer had the same rare blood group as Humble.

Yesterday Lancashire Police said they were keeping an open mind. But Detective Superintendent Graham Gardner said there was nothing to suggest he was involved.

welshnews@dailypost.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

Above, four envelopes and two signatures relating to letters sent by hoaxer John Humble purporting to be the Yorkshire 'Ripper'. Former labourer Humble, 50, pictured left in an artist's impression, taunted police when he claimed to be the Ripper in three letters and on an audio tape which he sent in the late 1970s
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 21, 2006
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