Yvonne Pearson
21st January 1978

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Yvonne Pearson

Yvonne Pearson


Like many of the sad stragglers of humanity that Peter Sutcliffe would claim, Yvonne Pearson lived an unstable life of drink and prostitution. On the night of the 21st of January, five days away from a scheduled appearance in court for soliciting,she left her two children with a 16 year old neighbour and headed to The Flying Dutchman pub. On her mind were two things: drink and 'business'.

Around 9:30, she left the pub in search of 'business' and saw a near-collision between two cars. One of the cars pulled out of a sidestreet, forcing the other to brake. The driver in the braking vehicle was Peter Sutcliffe and, in the act of slowing down, he attracted the attention of Vyonne - who tapped on his window and got into the passenger seat, saying that it was just "good timing" that he'd happened along.

Sutcliffe, never one to pass up an opportunity, agreed to his usual 5 fee and drove her to a piece of waste ground behind the mill where his father worked. As she exited the car, he followed her with his hammer and attacked her with several heavy blows.

It was at this moment that he came perilously close to being discovered as another car pulled in alongside Sutcliffe's. Panicking, he dragged the still breathing woman alongside an old sofa and frantically pushed handfuls of horsehair into her mouth before holding her nose closed. For what seemed like an age, he cowered waiting for the car to leave.

Afterwards, he failed to carry out his usual mutilations. Something in the act of nearly being caught had enraged him and he kicked her body around instead - although he found time to expose her breasts and pull her trousers down as was one of his trademarks.

Finally, as his rage subsided, he threw soil and rubble onto her body and dragged the sofa on top to hide the crime where it would lay, undiscovered, for a further 2 months.

A Ripper Killing?

At first blush, the police were hesitant in ascribing this murder to the Ripper. Firstly, there was none of his usual mutilation of the body. Secondly, despite the head trauma, she had met her death through suffocation. Thirdly, the blows to the head looked to the pathologist more like the result of a rock or boulder than a hammer. And finally, the body appeared to have been tampered with weeks after her death - something which Sutcliffe denied involvement in.

Under her arm was a copy of the Daily Mirror, dated one month after her death and apparently placed there deliberately.

Minor mysteries in the context, but enough to cast some legitimate doubt as to whether Sutcliffe had really committed this crime. Grist to the mill for those who believe that Sutcliffe was merely a copycat of another killer active at the same time.

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