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Yorkshire Ripper hoaxer Wearside Jack died from alcohol abuse side effects

Fake letters: John Humble
Fake letters: John Humble

By Jill Richards

The death of a man who hoaxed detectives by claiming to be the Yorkshire Ripper was not suspicious, police have said.

John Humble (63), who was dubbed Wearside Jack, died of the side effects of alcohol abuse.

Humble was responsible for the most infamous hoax in British criminal history.

He derailed the Yorkshire Ripper murder investigation in the 1970s by sending anonymous letters and a cassette tape which detectives were convinced were from the killer.

It wasn't until 2005 that he was unmasked and later sentenced to eight years in jail after admitting perverting the course of justice.

Northumbria Police said Humble, who had changed his name to John Samuel Anderson, died on July 30. He passed away at his home in South Shields, where he had lived since being released from prison in 2009.

A police spokesman said his death was not being treated as suspicious.

A spokeswoman for South Tyneside coroners office said no inquest had been held into Humble's death, which was reported to the borough's registrar by a member of his family.

Humble was arrested in 2005 after police matched his DNA, taken after a minor offence, against saliva on an envelope which had been sent to Ripper squad detectives.

The former labourer later admitted writing letters and recording the audio tape and sending them to police between March 1978 and June 1979.

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