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Protests At Ripper Trial

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  • Protests At Ripper Trial

    This one made me think of the protests outside the JTR Museum...

    May 8, 1981
    Hookers protest at Ripper trial
    Dateline: LONDON

    Angry prostitutes staged a demonstration outside the 'Yorkshire Ripper' trial Friday, accusing the prosecution of discriminating against them and 'inciting the murder of prostitutes.'
    Inside the historic Old Bailey courthouse, a police witness said accused murderer Peter Sutcliffe remained calm and polite while confessing to the gruesome slayings of 13 women and his only worry was how his wife would take the news.
    Sutcliffe, 34, a dark-bearded trucker, says he bludgeoned to death and mutilated his victims in a five-year 'divine mission' to rid the world of prostitutes.
    'I am not proud of doing any of the murders. It was my own intention to get rid of the prostitutes at any cost,' Detective Inspector John Boyless said Sutcliffe told polce after his arrest Jan. 2.
    The prosecution charges Sutcliffe, whose victims included at least six 'perfectly respectable' women, invented his obssessional 'hatred of prostitutes' to back up a plea of insanity in hopes of a lighter sentence.
    Before the prosecution rested its case, a prison officer testified that Sutcliffe told his wife in a prison visit, 'I am going to do a long time in prison, 30 years or more, unless I can convince people in here I am mad and (get) maybe 10 years in the loony bin.'
    Sutcliffe pleaded guilty of 13 counts of manslaughter with 'diminished responsibility' -- meaning he was temporarily insane -- and pleaded guilty of attempted murder in seven other attacks. If convicted of the insanity charges, he could be sentenced to a mental institution rather than face a maximum sentence of life in prison.
    The trial was adjourned until Monday when the defense will open.
    About 25 hookers and supporters of the 'English Prostitutes Collective' waved protest signs and chanted outside the court as the fourth day of the trial began. Placards said 'Prostitutes have families too,' and '70 percent of protstitutes are mothers.'
    They claimed prosecutor Attorney General Sir Michael Havers 'drew a distinction between prostitutes and respectable women' among Sutcliffe's victims and said his remarks were 'an incitement to murder prostitutes.'
    The sidewalk demonstration was also to protest what it said was prejudiced reporting of the trial, which was moved 200 miles to London from the grimy industrial north of England where the killings terrorized the female population for five years.
    At Friday's hearing, Boyless testified that when Sutcliffe confessed he was the 'Yorkshire Ripper' 48 hours after his arrest, he was 'incredibly calm.'
    Boyle said he appeared anxious only about how his 30-year-old wife, Sonia, would take the disclosure that he was the 'Yorkshire Ripper' sought in Britain's longest and costliest manhunt, and named for the notorious Jack the Ripper who murdered six prostitutes in Victorian London.
    'I want to tell my wife myself. It's her I'm thinking about,' Boyless quoted Sutcliffe as saying.
    He said Sutcliffe led police to various areas where he had dumped weapons, including a claw hammer and a sharpened screwdriver he originally made for punching holes in metal.
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