Yorkshire Ripper's letters fetch four times their estimate

Peter Sutcliffe gained himself the nickname 'the Yorkshire Ripper' for an infamous series of murders across the north of England in the 1970s and 1980s. All those he killed were women, mostly prostitutes.

As is often the case with notorious criminals, Sutcliffe has attracted a number of letters written to him by members of the public, mostly women. A set of letters written by Sutcliffe in reply to contact from a Birmingham woman has recently sold at an auction by Trafford Books.

The auctioneers refused to say who was selling the letters, and why. They were put up as one lot in an auction offering a wide variety of kinds of collectible, with the unremarkable estimate of £450-550, but there was a fair amount of competition between bidders and they eventually sold for £1966 - the top lot in the sale.

There's no question that people are interested in possessing materials associated with famous criminals, as the performance of memorabilia connected with American outlaw John Dillinger throughout the year demonstrates - though Dillinger is thought of with more affection by some than anyone has for Peter Sutcliffe.

Harold Shipman's letters were slated to be sold recently, but were withdrawn from sale following an outcry. The sale of the Sutcliffe letters was criticised, notably by Pete McCann, father of victim Wilma McCann, but not with the same intensity.

The letters are signed "love and fondest regards as always, Pete". Those interested in collecting more wholesome autographs may be interested in this selection.



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