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The Yorkshire Ripper



Sample of RTE Interview with Noel O'Gara and John Sutcliffe


Two weeks after Emily Jackson's murder, her friend Maria Sellars gave the police a description of the man she saw with Emily. He was an Irishman, known as a regular punter in the area. He was aged about 50. He was of fat build. He had a full beard, unshaped and bushy with bushy eyebrows. His eyes were almost closed. He had a round nose. He had very distinctive burn-like scars. He was tattooed on his arms. He wore 2 large gold rings. His clothes were dusty like a building worker. He was known to other prostitutes in the area.


The Stocky Bearded Irishman

At 10.15pm on the 23rd April 1977 Tina Atkinson (who was drunk), was propositioned by Billy Tracey outside the Carlisle pub in Lumb Lane, Bradford. Tracey had come to a known prostitute haunt to commit another murder. The streets were quiet and people were drunk. It was Saturday night, and the pubs were full.


Tina Atkinson's flat


Tracey walked with her a short distance to her flat where he bludgeoned her when she stepped through the door. Her pimp found the body when she hadn't returned to the job.. The stocky bearded man was noticed with Tina by an eyewitness ,probably her pimp, and he gave a description to the police. Within 2 days Chief Superintendent John Domaille had issued a bulletin to all police stations looking for the well described stocky bearded Irishman.



This is an excerpt from David Yallop's book



His identikit photo was published in all the papers but Tracey was back in Ireland and nobody thought to look in Ireland for the Irishman.

Two month later on the 25th June, again at 10.30pm on Saturday night, Tracey came to Leeds from his home in Ireland.

He had picked the place and the time. He was seen hanging around the Hayfield pub in Chapletown Road, a pub frequented by prostitutes and their pimps. However because of their fears of him the girls were working in pairs and their pimps were keeping a sharper eye on them.

He couldn't get one alone and as it was approaching midnight Tracey, always an opportunist seized his chance when the innocent Jayne MacDonald took a short cut through the Hayfield car park on her way home.

He probably asked her for directions and when she turned her head she was struck senseless. He dragged her into the adjacent playground where he got down to the serious business that he had come to do. He then took a taxi to the city centre and another one on to Manchester where he took a pre-arranged guest house for the night, before returning to Dublin the next day and home, to be on the job on Monday morning.

This time George Oldfield was in charge. Again the stocky bearded man was reported seen in the vicinity. There was no doubt that it was a Ripper murder. Oldfield again redoubled his efforts to trace the stocky bearded Irishman, with the rings, tattoos and scars. He later stated that they never traced this man.



From this point on Sutcliffe's attacks and his photofits plus Tracey's letters and taped message obscured the No 1 suspect but these facts remain.

The stocky, bearded, tattooed and scarred Irishman had to be somewhere and I was the unfortunate person who had him in my employ in Ireland in 1979 and worse still I chanced to read that Ripper article in the Sunday Telegraph and tumbled to his secret.

This revelation set in train a chain of events which are still ongoing. Had I been wrong, nobody would have been more relieved to be proved wrong. All the evidence that subsequently came to light merely served to demonstrate and prove beyond any shadow of doubt that it was correct.

The burden of this knowledge was a great weight and when it became apparent that, like in the Stefan Kiszko case, the Judith Ward case, the Birmingham 6 and numerous other miscarriages of justice, the police would not intervene, I decided to publish the information I had.




Terry Hawkshaw from Drighlington, near Bradford became a serious suspect. He was a taxi man and had carried some of these prostitutes in his cab. He fitted the description of the Irish suspect except he was an Englishman. Hawkshaw had a large gap between his top front teeth and he was the rare B secretor blood group. Hawkshaw was the nearest thing to Tracey in Yorkshire. George Oldfield almost had him convinced that he was the Ripper without himself even knowing it. Fortunately for him he had a solid alibi on the night of Helen Rytka's murder in Huddersfield and he was eliminated then.




When I read the Sunday Telegraph article about the Ripper in November 1979, the article that was to awaken me to Tracey's secret, I knew nothing of an Irish suspect in 1976 and 1977. Much less did I know that they were looking for an Irishman who resembled Billy Tracey to a tee.

Had I known about this Irish suspect I would have been much more positive in my dealings with the police but I let it run and witnessed the way they wound up with Sutcliffe and their performance. After Sutcliffe's Court case, David Yallop's book outlined the Irish suspect, which was the first I knew of this matter, eighteen months after I made the breakthrough.

This was highly significant confirming evidence. This evidence reinforced my conviction and I knew then that I could put the story together so that an intelligent person could see what happened if they studied the case. It was an unbelievable and bizarre story but Tracey was just that, an unbelievable and bizarre individual.



Now with hindsight we can compare Tracey with the evidence and look at the statistics of probability.

The odds against this happening must surely be millions if not billions to one. Those odds made it all the more difficult to get this story across.

This well described Irishman was the last person seen with 2 victims and he was seen at the scene of the MacDonald murder. Clearly he had to be traced.

Ireland has under 4 million citizens in all. Even if there were 10,000 Irishmen who looked like the bearded man and were stocky or fat and in the age group of 35 to 50 how many of them would be tattooed?, Say 10% and we are down to 1000 tattooed stocky bearded men resembling the photofit.

How many of these 10,000 Irishmen would have a long criminal record for violent sex related crime the length and breadth of England, a foreign country?



Of the club of 1000 how many of these would have obvious burn like scars on their hands or arms? Perhaps 10 but even if it was ten times ten, say 100 we are down to 100 stocky bearded Irishmen resembling the photofit who also have tattoos and burn like scars. Tracey had a large burn like scar on both arms which he sustained when someone tried to shoot him in London. They can be seen on the site photo. He also had two more similar scars on his neck which are concealed by the beard and are also bullet wounds. Maria Sellars thought the suspect had scars on his face also.



How many of this group would have a large gap in their top front teeth ? Tracey has all these so far. Lets assume we have 10 suspects in the room. How many of these are recorded aggressive psychopaths in the U.K.? Tracey is.

The Ripper was obviously a sex fiend. How many of these suspects are sex maniacs? Tracey is known as one.

How many served 12 years in English maximum security prisons?

How many Irishmen were deported from England 4 times? I have the evidence that puts this deportee back in the murder area within days of the last Ripper murder. What was his business there?



How many of these Irishmen would make an unprovoked attack on his own nephew by luring him first to his home and then striking him hard with a hammer on the back of the head before witnesses restrained him,and this shortly before the arrest of Peter Sutcliffe? Not many, but Billy Tracey did.

How many have the rare B secretor blood group? Tracey has.

How many of these Irish suspects was married to a convicted prostitute with a record in the U.K?

How many of these stocky bearded Irishmen served time in Preston, Durham and Manchester jails ? Tracey did.

How many of these Irish suspects have a record of at least 50 different assaults of all kinds on policemen and prison officers in the U.K? Tracey has.



How many send postcards and letters to the police? I saw him myself sending mail to policemen.


Tracey on holiday.


How many Irishmen of any description had written to complain to the West Yorkshire police about an alleged swindle in Leeds at that time,or at any time ever and received a reply and apology from the Chief Constable? Not many but Billy Tracey did. He enjoyed showing the letter to his acquaintances.

How many admitted themselves into a mental hospital as a contingency plan while Sutcliffe was on remand and before the charges for 13 murders were laid against him?




I could go on and on with more evidence pointing the finger at Tracey. He fits the Ripper frame and it defies all reason that based on his criminal record alone.

He was not high on the list of suspects even if he was never described by so many witnesses. The Ripper's motive of winding up the police was always known to them but they never admitted this but rather suggested that the Ripper was a man who hated prostitutes. Nothing could be further from the truth. He hated the police intensely and was forever preoccupied with them and feeding them with false information, in Ireland,as well as in England. This was his life.

It would be impossible to find another Irishman who had a record like Tracey's in the UK at that time. It would be impossible for me, the author, to concoct such a litany of telling evidence against any man without inviting a libel action. No libel was ever threatened because the facts outlined were true. The evidence fits the man.

Was there another stocky, fat, tattooed, bearded, scarred sex-maniac with a big gap between his top teeth and B blood group Irishman, who had associations with Preston, Manchester and West Yorkshire, alive at that time?

A man who also wrote to the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire and who used a hammer on his nephew's head before going into the mental home voluntarily only days before Peter Sutcliffe was charged with all the Ripper murders but one. A man who was a violent pimp and who was a recorded aggressive psychopath in the UK prison system. A well-described man seen at the scene of three of the murders and never traced. All these and much more show Billy Tracey as that unique individual who alone fits the frame.



With Tracey in the frame everything fits. Nobody else could fit it. It is unique.

With Sutcliffe in the frame nothing fits and his conviction was based on his confessions alone ,with a constabulary compromised by their own tactical blunders offering him leniency for these confessions.



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