Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe 'no longer dangerous'
Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe has been signed off as low-risk, paving the way for his eventual release, it was reported today.
Doctors at top security hospital Broadmoor have told lawyers for the killer - who murdered 13 women and tried to kill seven others in the 1970s and 80s - that he was no longer dangerous, The Sun said.
If Justice Secretary Jack Straw agrees with the classification, the paper added, it could see him moved to a medium-security facility and eventually released into society.
Sutcliffe, from Bradford, Yorkshire, was jailed in 1981 for his murder spree across Yorkshire and in Manchester.
He was given 20 life sentences and was told by the judge that he would serve a minimum of 30 years.
He began his sentence in prison but three years later was diagnosed with schizophrenia and transferred to Broadmoor.
Last year his lawyer Saimo Chahal claimed the Home Office disregarded his human rights because they failed to formally fix a tariff for his sentence.
Ms Chahal, who specialises in civil liberties and social welfare as a partner at London-based Bindmans & Partners, also aimed to get Sutcliffe back into the prison system and has requested a reassessment of his psychiatric condition.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice said she was unable to comment on individual cases.
The husband of Olive Smelt, one of Sutcliffe's surviving victims, said today that the couple believed the killer would be at risk of attack from members of the public if he was released.
Harry Smelt, 84, said: "There are people out there who would be happy to accept the notoriety gained from topping him. I think he would be at terrible risk from some of those nutters."
But he said his wife had come to terms with the attack, and was unconcerned over Sutcliffe's potential release.
"She doesn't mind about what happens to him now at all. She's got to the stage where she couldn't care less," he said.
Mr Smelt said personally he thought Sutcliffe should remain in prison, but he had lost faith in the legal and prison system many years earlier.
He said: "He left 26 orphans, so how can anybody ever be punished for that adequately? The death sentence would have been too good for him. One just hopes that he rots in jail.
"The system is all wrong anyway, allowing him to get away with it all those years ago. We just sit and watch the merry-go-round over what happens to him now."