Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe has lost a challenge against an order that he can never be released.
A High Court judge ruled last year that the serial killer of 13 women must serve a “whole life” tariff and today he had his appeal against that order rejected by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, Mr Justice Calvert-Smith and Mr Justice Griffith Williams at the Court of Appeal.
When he was jailed in 1981, a judge recommended that Sutcliffe, now 64, serve a minimum of 30 years behind bars.
Sutcliffe received 20 life terms for the murder of 13 women and the attempted murder of others in Yorkshire and Greater Manchester.
He is said to have believed he was on a “mission from God” to kill prostitutes – although not all his victims were sex workers.
He was called the Yorkshire Ripper because he mutilated his victims’ bodies using a hammer, a sharpened screwdriver and a knife.
Now known as Peter Coonan, he had his appeal against that order rejected by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, Mr Justice Calvert-Smith and Mr Justice Griffith Williams at the Court of Appeal.
Lord Judge said the “passage of time does not make the appellant’s account at trial of how he came to commit these offences any more likely to be credible now than it was then”.
He said: “We are not, of course, suggesting that the man who perpetrated these crimes was in any ordinary sense of the words ‘normal’ or ‘average’.”
The “sheer abnormality of his actions themselves suggest some element of mental disorder”, he said.
But he added: “There is, however, no reason to conclude that the appellant’s claim that he genuinely believed that he was acting under divine instruction to fulfill God’s will carries any greater conviction now than it did when it was rejected by the jury.”
An examination of the “entire catalogue of the offences as a whole demonstrates that this was criminal conduct at the extreme end of horror”, he said.
The three judges ruled that the interests of justice required “nothing less” than a whole life order