Tuesday 27th February 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

NYE goes international: FOLLOW-UP

November 29, 2023 Police

NYE goes international: FOLLOW-UP

by TIM HICKS & CHRIS CLARK

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Introduction

Following on from our earlier article NYE Goes International, we are updating readers with the developments on two international investigations that the NYE team has been pursuing.

Peter Sutcliffe’s attacks in Europe

There is an enormous amount of interest in the Yorkshire Ripper investigation in Europe, because of his notoriety, but also because of the possibility that Sutcliffe attacked women in Europe.

Our new book “Inside the Mind of The Yorkshire Ripper: The Final Investigation” covers this possibility; specifically, two murders in Sweden and one in France. This is the first systematic assessment of this aspect of his offending that has ever been published and contains new evidence to support this part of the investigation.

Such is the interest in this aspect of his crimes in Europe, that the authors were interviewed by Giles Brown of Talk Radio Europe on Thursday 23rd November 2023.

The radio interview with both authors can be heard by clicking on the link below:

Interpol appeal for assistance: Operation “Identify Me”

The second international investigation the NYE team has supported is Interpol’s Operation “Identify Me” – a public appeal by Interpol to identify 22 women, believed to have been murdered in Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands, which we covered in our regular update on policing in North Yorkshire Police 7, in June 2023.

Despite extensive police investigations, they were never identified. Who they are, where they were from and why they were in these countries is unknown.

Some of them may have been victims of trafficking. The evidence suggests they could have come from other countries, including the UK.

Interpol had published a Black Notice for each victim. These alerts are usually for police only, not the public. But, unusually, Interpol publicised the details of each case to the media, including facial reconstruction images and other identifiers, in the hope that someone might recognize them.

The NYE published information on this initiative because in Germany and the Netherlands, you cannot be a missing person. You have to be registered to an address. However, in Britain, if you want to disappear and leave your past life behind, you are allowed to do so. We therefore concluded it was possible that one of these victims is British, who may be believed to have chosen to start a new life and may not even have been reported as missing. Hence our decision to cover this Interpol Operation, even though it is outside our normal area of investigation.

Everyone at the NYE is pleased that one of the victims has been identified as Rita Roberts (aged 31) from Cardiff, who was identified from a tattoo on her arm. Rita’s body was found in the river ‘Groot Schijn’ in Antwerp, Belgium in 1992. She had been violently killed. Interpol report here.

Now that Rita’s body has been identified, Belgian authorities are calling on the public for any information they may have on Rita or the circumstances surrounding her death. This can be submitted via an online form on Interpol’s website.

“After 31 years an unidentified murdered woman has been given her name back and some closure has been brought to her family. Such cases underline the vital need to connect police worldwide, especially when missing persons are involved.”

Jürgen Stock, INTERPOL Secretary General

So far as we are aware, publicity from the NYE was not responsible for identifying Rita’s body. But the NYE team takes the view that every piece of publicity is helpful and we are pleased to have supported this important Interpol initiative. Certainly, this is a success for the Belgian Police, Interpol and the UK media outlets that gave publicity to the operation.

Because it covers a lot of prominent historical cases, the NYE has built up a following of retired police officers from many different forces. We would ask our police readers to click on the link below to Operation “Identify Me” and consider if any of the cases it features are known to you.

If you are concerned about a friend, family member or colleague who suddenly disappeared, please also access the Interpol website and review each case.

Keith Tordoff reviews “Inside the Mind of The Yorkshire Ripper: The Final Investigation

Insert book cover

Retired West Yorkshire Police Inspector Keith Tordoff MBE has read “Inside the Mind of The Yorkshire Ripper: The Final Investigation”. Keith was the policeman that was the first police man to attend the scene of the murder of Wilma McCann and the later murder of Jacqueline Hill. Keith has kindly provided this review. It is unique because it comes from the perspective of a police insider, who was a member of the Yorkshire Ripper Investigation.

“I have just finished reading ‘Inside the Mind of the Yorkshire Ripper – The Final Investigation’.

Congratulations to you both on writing what is a detailed and fascinating account of the horrendous crimes committed by Peter Sutcliffe. Your respective skills have presented a forensic Investigation with methodical collating of murders and attempted murders which Sutcliffe was convicted of, and so many others he never faced justice for. So many victims, survivors, relatives and friends of his horrendous crimes sadly have not had justice or any type of closure.

The book was an eye opener to me on many fronts – from information I wasn’t aware of as an investigating officer, to the realisation that he clearly was responsible for so many other attacks you have written about.

So many failings by the Police, not only those cases clearly attributable to Sutcliffe but other unrelated murders as highlighted towards the end of the book by you. It begs the question, have the lessons been learnt by the Police?

The book of course brought back memories. Having dealt with numerous deaths in my Police Service, obviously due to the profile of the Ripper case the murders of Wilma MacCann and Jacqueline Hill are etched in my mind. I can still picture their bodies and I always become emotional when talking about entering the home of Wilma MacCann and seeing her four young children waiting for her to come home.

Of course in those days there was no counselling and you just got on with the next job. I have no complaints as I have had a wonderful and interesting life so far!

Great book – thank you.

Keep up the good work and let’s get the Claudia Lawrence case cracked.”

Keith Tordoff MBE


NYE Appeal for Information

If you knew Peter Sutcliffe, or worked with him at the Common Road Tyre Company at Oakenshaw, or Clark’s Transport at Bradford, please contact us using the email address news@nyenquirer.uk. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence.

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