Court rules Ripper can be named in sentence hearing

The UK's High Court today lifted a cloak of anonymity thrown over Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper.

The UK's High Court today lifted a cloak of anonymity thrown over Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper.

A judge said the press was free to name Sutcliffe, 63, as he comes back to court for a ruling on how much longer he must serve in prison before being considered for parole.

Previously referred to as “P” to protect his identity, a question mark remains over whether he will have to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Now known as Peter Coonan, he was convicted at the Old Bailey in London in 1981 of 13 counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder in Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.

He is currently being held in Broadmoor top security psychiatric hospital after being transferred from prison in 1984 suffering from paranoid schizophrenia.

Today Mr Justice Mitting, sitting in London, was holding a directions hearing to decide what form the tariff setting hearing should take, and what evidence should be admitted.

At the outset the judge took away Sutcliffe’s anonymity, saying: “It is now common ground this is part of the criminal process and must therefore proceed in the defendant’s own name.

“The press are at liberty to report the fact that these proceedings concern Peter Sutcliffe/Peter Coonan.”

Paul Bowen, appearing for Sutcliffe, indicated there had been an application to continue keeping his identity secret, but said: “We are no longer pursuing that application.”

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