Police have rejected claims that Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe could be linked to a murder case which led to a wrongful conviction.

Stephen Downing had his conviction for the murder of Wendy Sewell, in Derbyshire in 1973, quashed on appeal.

Now, former newspaper editor Don Hale, who campaigned for Mr Downing, has called for the case to be reinvestigated after a retired police officer claimed new evidence could link the killing to Bradford lorry driver Sutcliffe.

But Derbyshire Police yesterday insisted there was no evidence to connect Sutcliffe with the murder.

A spokesman said: “Speculation about the case will no doubt cause Mrs Sewell’s surviving relations more heartache.”

The spokesman said the appeal had found the conviction unsafe as a result of procedural mistakes in the original investigation, but the case was now closed and officers were unable to eliminate Stephen Downing as a suspect.