ONE of Yorkshire's most notorious serial killers, Peter Sutcliffe, who murdered 13 women and attacked several others over a five-year period has died aged 74.

The former lorry driver from Bingley, committed his reign of terror around West Yorkshire and Manchester between 1975 and 1980 was an inmate at HMP Frankland in Durham.

He was taken to the University Hospital of North Durham following a suspected heart attack at the end of October.

After returning to the prison, he developed Covid-19 symptoms and was taken back to the hospital earlier this month.

It was reported that Sutcliffe was refusing treatment for the virus despite suffering from diabetes.

The Yorkshire Ripper’s death came on the eve of what would have been his 40th year behind bars for the murders and attacks.

Jailed in 1981, Sutcliffe received 20 life sentences, which was extended to a whole life term in 2010.

Following his imprisonment, Sutcliffe was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and after almost three years at HMP Pankhurst on the Isle of Wight he was transferred to the secure Broadmoor Hospital in 1984, where he was incarcerated until 2016.

After being deemed sane enough to return to prison, Sutcliffe was transferred to the Category A HMP Frankland, where he has been ever since.

He claimed that he had heard the voice of God which told him to kill prostitutes - many of his victims were sex workers - but the true motivation of his crimes has been the subject of much speculation over the past 40 years.

Sutcliffe evaded capture for several years, despite being interviewed in connection to the Ripper investigation nine times, until he was caught in Sheffield driving on false plates, and during subsequent questioning confessed to the killings.

After he was found guilty, the Herald's sister paper, the Telegraph & Argus reported that women in West Yorkshire “now surely know they can walk the streets without fear”.

It was described as the “trial of the century” and said that Sutcliffe’s “jaw dropped” when the guilty verdicts were handed down by the jury.

When Sutcliffe appealed for a minimum term to be set on his sentence in 2010, Mr Justice Mitting said: “This was a campaign of murder which terrorised the population of a large part of Yorkshire for several years.

“The only explanation for it, on the jury’s verdict, was anger, hatred and obsession.

“Apart from a terrorist outrage, it is difficult to conceive of circumstances in which one man could account for so many victims.”