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Ripper victim’s son leads Holme Wood procession
The son of the first Yorkshire Ripper victim led a torchlit procession against domestic violence last night.
Richard McCann joined about 30 people as they walked through the Holme Wood area of Bradford in support of the One Billion Rising campaign.
The campaign urged people worldwide to rise up in support of the one billion victims of domestic violence across the globe.
Mr McCann said: “I try and encourage an ‘I Can’ attitude. If more females had an ‘I Can’ attitude, the number of victims of domestic violence would be less than one billion.”
The procession in Holme Wood, which started at Tong High School, was one of many across the world yesterday.
Walkers, including young children, carried electric tealight candles. The walk, which included a period of silence on Stirling Crescent, finished at Holme Church.
It was preceded by a moving talk by Mr McCann. His mother Wilma was murdered by Peter Sutcliffe in Leeds on October 30, 1975.
The 43-year-old told the 30 people who later walked alongside him the story of his life, including the moment, as a five-year-old boy, he found out what had happened to his mum.
He told the captivated audience: “The policeman said to me ‘your mum has been taken to heaven, you’re not going to see her again’.”
Mr McCann told of his experiences as a young boy.
“I was fragile, nervous and embarrassed because I had been exposed to violence,” he said. “My dad and my mum’s boyfriend beat my mum up.”
His mum left his dad, but the problems didn’t end there. Mr McCann told how one of his sisters was abused by her mum’s boyfriend.
Then his mum was killed by Sutcliffe and Mr McCann and his three sisters went to live with their dad, who was a violent drinker.
He captivated the audience as he told how he regretted slapping a girlfriend when he was 12, leaving school with no qualifications, going to prison, a mental breakdown, taking drugs, a suicide pact with his sister Sonia in 1997 and how she took her own life years later.
“We have got to do all we can to get genuine smiles out of children and women,” he added.