Peter Sutcliffe’s first victim was Wilma McCann, who was beaten about the head with a hammer and stabbed mulitple times on October 30, 1975. Initially, he focused his attacks almost exclusively on prostitutes, killing seven young women in Northern England between February 1977 and May 1978. Many of the victims were mutilated after they were killed.
As part of the manhunt, authorities interviewed more than 250,000 people and searched thousands of homes. Sutcliffe himself was interviewed nine times during the investigation but always convinced detectives that he wasn’t involved. In 1979, a tape recording purportedly from the Yorkshire Ripper was sent to the police, who were sidetracked by what later turned out to be a hoax.
The public really began to panic when the Yorkshire Ripper stopped going after prostitutes and started targeting college students. When Peter Sutcliffe was finally convicted, after an unsuccessful insanity defense, he had killed 13 women, far more than his namesake, Jack the Ripper. Sutcliffe received a sentence of life in prison.
– History.com Staff