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Yorkshire Ripper link to unsolved murder.

Byline: Paul Watson

A PERVERSE loyalty between the Yorkshire Ripper and infamous hoaxer Wearside Jack could hold the key to the unsolved 1970s' murder of prostitute Joan Harrison and the identity of the hoaxer himself, it was claimed yesterday.

Peter Sutcliffe, who killed 13 women, has always denied murdering the mother-of-two in Preston 2 7 years ago. Author and award-winning investigative journalist, Patrick Lavelle, who has spent five years investigating the identity of Wearside Jack, claimed yesterday his evidence shows Sutcliffe killed Joan Harrison but denied the murder because the hoaxer was with him at the time.

Despite the 1975 murder being investigated as part of the Ripper inquiry, her killer has never been found.

Neither has the infamous hoaxer who sent an audio tape and three letters to police in 1978 claiming to be the Yorkshire Ripper. The bizarre tape was broadcast nationally and sent police on the biggest wild-goose chase in British criminal history with the hoax inquiry costing police hundreds of man -hours and more than pounds 4m. West Yorkshire Police concentrated their efforts in finding the hoaxer and during an 18-month period when they focused on Sunderland, Sutcliffe killed a further three times. Sutcliffe was questioned during the Ripper inquiry but at one point eliminated because he did not speak with a North East accent, as heard on the cassette tape. Wearside Jack repaid his ``friend'' Sutcliffe by sending the ``I'm Jack'' hoax tape to detectives to divert attention from his friend, Mr Lavelle alleged. Mr Lavelle, a graduate in Criminal Justice Studies and Criminology, believes Wearside Jack then went on to kill and is responsible for the death of Sunderland prostitute Julie Perigo in 1986, itself a long-standing unsolved murder. In his new book, Shadow of the Ripper, published by Blake, Mr Lavelle, details his reasons for the link between Sutcliffe and Wearside Jack and unearths a wide range of evidence to back up his claims.

West Yorkshire Police said: ``All we can reiterate is that much effort was put into this aspect of the inquiry at the time of the original investigation, to no avail.

Sutcliffe was jailed for life in 1981 but later ruled to be criminally insane and was committed to Broadmoor where he is still being held.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jan 22, 2003
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