Peter Sutcliffe was nearly caught four years before his killing spree ended (Picture: Rex)
Netflix series The Ripper has laid out the remarkable way police nearly tracked down killer Peter Sutcliffe with the help of a five pound note.
Peter, known as the Yorkshire Ripper, killed at least 13 people during his killing spree between 1975 and 1980, before finally being caught by chance in early 1981 and confessing.
However, he was nearly caught three years before, after leaving a five pound note at the scene of the crime.
The body of Jean Jordan was found in a Manchester allotment by Coronation Street star Bruce Jones on October 9, 1977.
It was quickly determined that she had been killed on October 1, and was initially placed in a bush by the killer, before being dragged out into the open to be found.
Investigations quickly determined that he had returned after losing something, with more injuries caused to the body as a result.
Speaking on the series, forensic pathologist Mike Green said: ‘Her handbag was found some distance away and its contents had been chucked all over the place.
‘But what had been missed was an inside pocket of the handbag which contained a brand new five pound note.’
‘Each five pound note has a unique serial number, and when the Bank Of England distributes them, they know generally what district these notes go to,’ explained Chris Gregg, who was 23 and working with West Yorkshire Police at the time of the investigation.
‘So the banknote that was found on the body of the victim could be traced back to see where did that note come from, and where was it distributed to.’
‘The going rate for prostitution was five pounds a go,’ Green continued.
‘If he had paid her five pounds and it was a brand new issued five pound note, he must have guessed it was easily traceable, and had gone to try and get it back.’
The note in question, it was determined by police, only came into circulation four days before her body was found. From there, they knew it was sent to one of three banks, and given to an employer to put in the wage packet of a worker.
As a result, the police narrowed in on factories – one of which was the one that Peter Sutcliffe worked in.
Sutcliffe was interviewed twice in 1977 as a result of the five pound note narrowing down the search – but he had a seemingly cast-iron alibi that ruled him out.
At the time, he said he was at home on the night of the murder, and had witnesses stating he was at a housewarming party on the ninth, when the body was moved.
With witnesses backing up his story, he was eliminated, and despite being connected to the investigation again in 1979, he was never arrested.
Sutcliffe would go on to kill six more people before he was caught soliciting a woman in 1981.
It was during his arrest for this solicitation that he confessed to being the Ripper.
The Ripper is available now on Netflix.
Credit: Original article published here.