A HIGHLY-respected "old school" journalist - who covered the Peter Sutcliffe case for the Bradford Telegraph & Argus - has died aged 76.

Ex-crime reporter Rod Hopkinson served both the T&A and the Yorkshire Evening Post during his illustrious career.

His daughter Holly Jordan this week led the tributes to her father - describing him as someone who "lived and breathed his work".

"He absolutely loved being a journalist and he was excellent at it," she told the T&A.

"Back in those days there was a lot of socialising involved in the job - he got many stories from people in the pub and he had an impressive contacts book.

"There were no emails, no Facebook, no Twitter, no 'digital-first' ways of working in those days - he was known for the skill of telling his stories exquisitely over the phone for the copytaker to write down, and then they would appear in the paper.

"He covered many high-profile stories over the years, including the Bradford City stadium fire in 1985 - he stayed in the office all weekend to keep across that tragedy.

"He also covered the case of Peter Sutcliffe."

Bradford-born Sutcliffe murdered 13 women across Yorkshire and north-west England in a five-year reign of horror from 1975 to 1980.

Holly said: "Information from my mum - my dad's first wife - was that he was completely committed on the Sutcliffe case right from the start.

"He would be called out all hours of the day and night."

Sutcliffe, who was also found guilty of the attempted murder of seven women, was convicted in 1981.

Holly said her father was unable to report on the killer's conviction at the Old Bailey as it clashed with his honeymoon.

"He was obviously gutted about this," she added.

"He reported on part of the trial but due to getting married wasn't able to finish it.

"He was genuinely torn.

"If he could have postponed his honeymoon, he probably would have done so he could have covered the rest of the trial."

Holly said her father would be "very sadly missed".

'He was great company'

Rod worked for the T&A during the 1980s and moved to the Leeds-based Yorkshire Evening Post around the mid-90s.

Former T&A crime reporter Steve Wright worked alongside him for a number of years.
Steve said: "I knew Rod professionally and personally for many years, principally when he was the crown court reporter at Leeds for the T&A, and then the Evening Post.

"I respected him as a reporter and valued him as a friend.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Rod loved being a journalistRod loved being a journalist (Image: Family)
"Rod was very much an old school journalist, relying on his nose for a story and his ability to gain the trust and confidence of those he dealt with.

"The strength of his contacts, whether it be a receptionist on the court switchboard, or a senior judge, barrister or police officer, was second to none and ensured that he always got the story for his papers' readers.
"Rod could turn round a story in the blink of an eye and would just go straight on to the copytakers and craft a perfectly written story from his notebook over the phone.
"And he was prepared to sacrifice a lengthy lunch in the local hostelry - and a pint or four! - to tap up his police and legal contacts and keep on top of his game.
"Although I usually worked in opposition to Rod, it was rare that we did not work together, comparing notes and ensuring we had both got what we needed.

"I always knew I could trust Rod not to go behind my back.
"Rod was what they used to call a 'hack', getting his stories in the old-fashioned way, and was very good at it.
"He was also great company after work and someone you couldn’t help feeling affection for.

"I was proud to have him as a loyal and trusted friend."

Other journalists who worked with Rod have also paid tribute to him via the industry website Hold the Front Page. 

Yorkshire journalist Robert Sutcliffe said: "He was a brilliant reporter, a very good writer and a great character."

The funeral for Rod, who died on September 19, was held earlier this month.