I was Peter Sutcliffe's therapist in the mid-90s. When I was handed his case file, I had to leave the room to be sick.
Newly qualified, I fought the urge to skim read and silence the voice in my head saying "you don't need to know all this". I owed it to Sutcliffe's victims and their families to try my best to understand what he did to them and I'll take that knowledge to the grave.
New to the UK, I trawled the media archives and was bombarded with mugshots of nameless women divided into two camps: those deemed respectable and those with "loose morals".
The clear framing being, that those women who left the house in a short skirt and without a man had it coming.
All of these women were victims but in the eyes of the West Yorkshire Police, some were more worthy than others.
The victims' mugshots had a criminalising effect, as if the women and their reputations were on trial, compounded by comments such as those made by prosecutor Michael Havers at Sutcliffe's trial: "Some were prostitutes but perhaps the saddest part of the case is that some were not. The last six attacks were on totally respectable women."
Assistant chief constable George Oldfield, who headed up the case, said, "Most of his victims have been of somewhat doubtful moral character", and in 1979, one senior detective told reporters the killer "has made it clear he hates prostitutes, many people do, but the Ripper is now killing innocent girls".
The police, blinded by chauvinism and testosterone, assumed that Sutcliffe's motive was a hatred of sex workers whereas in fact, he hated women.
In 1976, Marcella Claxton survived an attack by Sutcliffe but lost the baby she was carrying and suffered relentless racial abuse.
Her accurate description of Sutcliffe, along with other survivors, was ignored.
Two months after Mo Lea was attacked, Sutcliffe was arrested and despite her positive identification, he was released.
The survivors all insisted that the voice on the hoax tape by which the police had been duped was not that of their assailant, yet they were dismissed as "unreliable witnesses". #
Nine times the hapless police interviewed Sutcliffe and nine times they set him free to continue his killing spree.
The coverage of Sutcliffe's death on Friday was like a flashback to those images from the 1970s.
The same mugshots, the same dehumanising, reductive categorisation of the women on moral grounds and the gratuitously graphic details.
The only difference being that the word "prostitute" was largely (though not entirely) replaced with "sex worker". Cosmopolitan magazine ran with "Remembering the victims of the Yorkshire Ripper" and included the same mugshots, lifting the tosh published in the 1970s tabloids.
Highlights include: "…although not all of his victims were sex workers. Some were students, mothers, shop workers, clerks..." and "Sutcliffe's first non-sex worker victim [inaccurate], McDonald's killing saw an increase in public interest in the case".
Mythologising Sutcliffe with the "Ripper" moniker also ensures that he, not his victims, will be immortalised.
Instead of actually remembering the women Sutcliffe killed, Cosmopolitan just reminded us that the institutional sexism that existed in the 1970s still exists today - even in glossy women's magazines.
Misogyny didn't disappear after the '70s, Almost two decades later, I encountered it - in Broadmoor.
Although it's a secure psychiatric hospital, Broadmoor felt like a prison.
The staff were predominately nurses, but many behaved like prison officers.
The (all male) staff kitchenette was adorned with a topless poster of Pamela Anderson so I never went in.
One day, I really needed a cup of tea so I walked past six muscle-bound men, ripped the pornographic poster off the wall then popped the kettle on.
The next day, one of the older staff nurses decided to teach me a lesson.
He locked me in a room alone (a no-no) with seven of the most dangerous patients in Broadmoor, including Peter Sutcliffe.
It was the longest three minutes of my life.
Victim blaming still exists today. In 2018, barrister Elizabeth O'Connell instructed the jury in a rape case involving a teenage girl, "…to look at the way she was dressed. She was wearing a thong with a lace front".
The 27-year-old man was acquitted. Just 13% of rapes reported to gardai in the last two years were prosecuted and between 1996 and 2019, 230 women in Ireland died violently.
At his Old Bailey trial Peter Sutcliffe said: "It was just a miracle they didn't apprehend me earlier - they had all the facts."
It wasn't divine intervention that helped Sutcliffe evade justice for so long, it was rampant misogyny in the West Yorkshire Police (who apologised last week), the media and society.
Sutcliffe took the lives of 13 women and indelibly scarred the lives of seven other survivors.
They were all someone's daughter, some were mothers whose children still mourn their loss.
All were innocent, beautiful, women who didn't deserve to die.
This article is dedicated to the lives and memory of: Wilma McCann, Emily Jackson, Irene Richardson, Patricia Atkinson, Jayne MacDonald, Jean Jordan, Yvonne Pearson, Helen Rytka, Vera Millward, Josephine Whitaker, Barbara Leach, Marguerite Walls and Jacqueline Hill.
Suaimhneas síoraí dóibh uile (Eternal peace to them all).