Transferring the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, from Broadmoor psychiatric hospital to jail will save the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Ruth Tully, a consultant forensic psychologist at the University of Nottingham, said cost would not have been a factor in the ruling to transfer the serial killer.
Sutcliffe, 70, who has spent 32 years in the high-security institution, in Berkshire, after murdering 13 women and attempting to kill seven, between 1976 and 1981, will also face a much tougher regime in prison, Dr Tully said.
Dr Tully said: “His clinical team have made a clinical decision, not based on cost, that he is well enough to be transferred to prison. The clinical team are there to assess mental health, risk to the patient, risk to the public — they cannot be weighted by a costs decision.
“It costs more to keep somebody in psychiatric care, because there is a lot more treatment going on. It costs hundreds of thousands of pounds per year to keep someone in psychiatric care, and thousands of pounds to keep someone in a category A prison.”
It costs £325,000 per year to keep a patient in Broadmoor, and £45,000 per year in a category A prison.
Sutcliffe, who has been in Broadmoor since 1984, after he was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia (he had been sentenced to life in 1981) will continue to have his mental health assessed in prison. He could be returned to a psychiatric hospital if there is a change in his condition.
Dr Tully said: “This is a decision, at this time, but mental health is dynamic and changeable. If he became unwell again, psychiatrists would recommend him for sectioning back to hospital, which would have to be agreed.”
Sutcliffe, a former lorry driver from Bradford, now calls himself Peter Coonan. Most of his victims were prostitutes who were mutilated and beaten to death.
He was given 20 life terms for the murders and was caught when police found him with a prostitute in his car. They became suspicious and found he had a fake licence plate and weapons, including a screwdriver and hammer in the boot.
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