Jean Jordan
1st October 1977

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Jean Jordan

Jean Jordan

Timeline

Despite his gruesome appellation as "The Yorkshire Ripper", Peter Sutcliffe showed with the murder of Jean Jordan that he was prepared to kill anywhere that was convenient, regardless of county boundaries. As he became aware of the extent of police operations and surveillance in Yorkshire, he began scoping out territory further afield - perhaps even knowing that further organisational chaos would descend on the beleaguered investigation were it to spread among more police divisions.

And so, to Manchester. Jean Jordan lived on the edge of 'normality' like many of the Ripper's other victims. She was a prostitute, but had a full home life in Manchester - with a husband and children and a home of her own. She was prone to leaving unannounced to visit her relatives back in Scotland where she was raised, but otherwise was fairly regular in her habits.

Indeed, her partner Alan Royle, maintained to the end of his days that she had in fact given prostitution up, and had met the Ripper outside a shop.

It was no great surprise to her him to find the children asleep and alone in the house on the first of October 1977. It merely suggested one of her sudden disappearances back to Scotland.

In fact, her body was already dead and cold and hidden.

By Sutcliffe's account, she had met the Ripper by luckless chance. About to get in another man's car when she changed her mind to get in with Sutcliffe instead and directed him to a spot near some allotments. As was by now his habit, he struck at the first opportunity with his hammer. Even by his own unhinged standards, his attack was savage. He hit her head 11 times and with such force that her skull was flattened and her face rendered unrecognisable.

But this time, he suffered a near-interruption as another prostitute pulled up with a car. Fearing discovery, Sutcliffe hid the body as best he could and fled the scene.

Fear of Discovery... and return to the body

On the drive back to Bradford, still panicking about his near miss, an even greater fear gripped Sutcliffe. He had paid up-front with a newly-minted 5 note that he had received in his pay packet in Bingley just 2 days previously.

Realising that such a thing would be a massive clue to the police, he returned home (burning his jeans along with some garden rubbish) and waited for news of the body's discovery. When days passed without any such news, he realised that the body still hadn't been found and decided that it was worth the risk of returning to the scene to attempt to retrieve the note.

When he did so - on October the 9th - his search of the decaying corpse proved fruitless. He scattered her tights, knickers and sundry articles in the vicinity as he desperately looked for the note. Eventually his desperation spilled over into further violence against the corpse: he slashed and stabbed at the body with such ferocity that her gas-filled stomach burst open, causing him to be sick but still he continued. Her intestines were later found wrapped around her wrist.

Finding a piece of glass from a nearby greenhouse, he even attempted to sever her head and thereby hide his usual "signature", figuring that the police wouldn't suspect this to be a 'Ripper' killing. However, neither the glass nor a hacksaw blade was up to the job and he had to abandon the attempt.

Eventually, fearful of discovery, he had to leave her tortured remains alone at last and return to his normal life, unaware that the 5 was still in her handbag at the scene and that somehow he'd managed to overlook this vital clue in his haste and bloodlust. This 5 note would lead police directly to Sutcliffe's door... but not to his arrest. 

Her body was finally discovered by two allotment holders - one of whom was none other than Bruce Jones, who would later find fame as Les Battersby in Coronation Street. Filmed here on the Piers Morgan show, he recalls the discovery of the body and the subsequent effect on him.


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Jean Jordan: location

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Videos

Videos

David Rathband Interview

Still in his hospital bed following his shooting by Raoul Moat, David Rathband talks about the experience.

Alan Royle Speaks

Alan Royle was Jean Jordan's partner when she was murdered in 1977. In this 2005 interview with Radio Manchester he speaks about the effect on him and his children.