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The Yorkshire Ripper


Sat, Jan 20, 2001

'I know who really killed Joan Harrison...'

By David Powles Lancashire Evening Post

The killer of a Preston mother-of-three is a regular visitor to this area and could be responsible for a string of other murders, it was claimed today.

Ireland-based author Noel O Gara claims to have evidence to prove who was responsible for the brutal murder of Joan Harrison in 1975.

He has accused Lancashire police, who have spent 25 years probing the crime, of snubbing his evidence. But senior officers today dismissed his claims as nothing new.

He said he had decided to break his silence to demand the police consider his evidence.

He said: “I have proof of the person who was responsible for this dreadful murder. Why Lancashire police do not want to listen, I don’t know. Their complete disregard of my evidence is an absolute disgrace.”

Mrs Harrison’s battered body was found in a disused garage in Berwick Road, Avenham, on November 20 1975. The 26-year-old mother had been savagely beaten to death and a bite mark had been left on one of her breasts.

Originally, Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper who was convicted of murdering 13 women, was believed to be responsible.

However, forensic evidence proved otherwise and Joan’s murder has remained unsolved.

But according to Mr O Gara, who has spent years studying the case and who has now published his findings on the Internet, his evidence proves the real Ripper was not Peter Sutcliffe.

Although he admits Sutcliffe carried out some of the killings, he claims the real Ripper and the murderer of Mrs Harrison is the person he names.

Speaking from his home in Athlone, he said: “The evidence is there to find the killer.

“Until he is caught and charged he is free to kill again and, for all we know, he may have already done so.”

For legal reasons the name of the man he points the finger at cannot be published but Mr O Gara claims he is well known to the area and has family in Lancashire.

He is also believed to have spent years in Preston Prison and grew up near the town.

Det Supt Graham Gooch, of Lancashire Police, today confirmed he and his officers had looked at the website but said they had found no fresh information.

He said: “This is not the first time that authors have propounded their own theories on this case as fact. We have been reviewing this case since 1997 but have found no evidence to link any of the suspects suggested by authors to the offence. We will continue to look at the case and would keep the public informed of any development.”


On Wednesday 24th January 2001 I phoned Lancashire police headquarters at 01772 614444 and asked to speak to Det.Inspector Graham Gooch.

Chief Inspector Kellett answered the call and said Mr Gooch was off duty until Friday. I requested him to ask Mr Gooch to call me. He asked what it was about and I said I know the killer of Joan Mary Harrison in Preston in 1975. He said he would pass on the message immediately.

Friday afternoon I called again and got through to Superintendant Graham Gooch. I asked him what did he know about me. He said he "read my website and many writers make all sorts of assumptions. It happens frequently".

I said I am not a writer or a journalist. I asked him a few points in the site relating to the Preston murder and it was clear to me that he hadnt briefed himself on it in any meaningful way.

He admitted that he did not work on the Harrison investigation and says he was drafted in from an outside police force. He asked me what evidence I had about the Harrison murder. I referred him to the killers blood group and teeth marks.

I told him Tracey took jewellery from the victim and sold it in a pawn shop in Manchester. That he also told me he" buggered that shitbag in Preston."

I said I would like to meet him as he is not fully briefed on my allegations and has dismissed them to a reporter without knowing what he was talking about. He repeated his question "what evidence have you got?" a few times and I repeated that this is no way to proceed.

I would meet him. He asked where is Tracey now and I said probably in Yorkshire or maybe even Lancashire. I said "you are a foolish man for dismissing my story so lightly, the people of Preston would not thank you for it."

He said if you wont tell me the evidence you have then there is no point in talking and he put the phone down.




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