The surviving siblings of the Yorkshire Ripper are expected to shun his funeral with only his ex-wife Sonia and a friend due to attend.
Peter Sutcliffe, who killed at least 13 women and attacked several others, died on Friday after contracting coronavirus following a heart attack.
The 74-year-old is estranged from his three siblings – sisters Maureen, 68, and Jane, 64, and brother Carl, 58 – after they reportedly fell out when Sutcliffe tried to attend the funeral of his sister Anne, 56, in 2005.
On the outside: Sutcliffe is taken from prison in 2015 to go to a hospital appointment
Serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, a.k.a. ‘The Yorkshire Ripper,’ on his wedding day, August 10, 1974
A source told the Sun newspaper siblings Maureen, Jane and Carl were ‘sick of the way he made everything all about him’ and feared he would turn Anne’s funeral into a ‘circus’.
The Sun reports that his 70-year-old brother Mick was still in touch with Sutcliffe but is thought to be too ill to attend the funeral.
A source added: ‘The relatives know nothing about the arrangements.
‘They fall to Sonia as next of kin. But, whatever they are, the family won’t be going.’
The only people expected to attend are his ex-wife Sonia and a friend who works as a funeral director and has offered to cover the costs, according to the newspaper.
Days before his death, Sutcliffe had made several failed attempts to contact his ex-wife who still owns the house they had bought together.
Sutcliffe told an inmate the day before he was hospitalised: ‘I just tried to ring Sonia but no answer.
Sutcliffe told an inmate the day before he was hospitalised: ‘I just tried to ring Sonia but no answer. She must be staying down at the flat and not come back yet.
‘He (Woodward) will have her slaving about and cleaning everything, you know. Well, that’s her fault, she shouldn’t be so daft — she should make him pull his socks up.’
A source who regularly spoke to the Ripper said Sutcliffe had grown ‘increasingly frustrated’ that he could not contact Sonia in his final weeks, which ‘ate away at him’.
Sonia did not visit Sutcliffe at Frankland Prison after he moved there in 2016 following a 32-year stint at Broadmoor but the pair still spoke over the phone and exchanged letters
Sonia poses with Sutcliffe in 1980. She first met him at a disco in the Royal Standard in Bradford’s red light district in 1966 and were engaged. They married on August 10, 1974
The source said: ‘It was a constant thing playing on his mind. He never showed any remorse for his killings and incredibly moaned that his biggest regret over the murders of 13 women was the years he spent apart from his former wife.’
Sonia did not visit Sutcliffe at Frankland Prison, County Durham, after he moved there in 2016 following a 32-year stint at high-security hospital Broadmoor in Berkshire, but the pair still spoke over the phone and exchanged letters.
Sutcliffe had been offered a free funeral by a friend who took pity on the Ripper for having no money.
He accepted the offer and is set to be buried, the Sun reported. He hoped his grave would be near his Bingley, West Yorkshire home town.
Sutcliffe had hoped to change his last name officially to his mother’s maiden surname Coonan so his grave would stay anonymous, but he did not get round to making the change official.
The funeral could take a toll of up to £3,000 from the public purse, as a Prison Service directive means prisons ‘must offer’ a contribution towards ‘reasonable’ funeral expenses for those who die while in custody.
Sutcliffe had been offered a free funeral by a friend and he accepted the offer and is set to be buried. He hoped his grave would be near his Bingley (pictured), home town in West Yorkshire
Five days before the Ripper’s death, as he gasped for air while being taken to hospital, obese and diabetic Sutcliffe, 74, said: ‘I’m not going to make it, I won’t be returning’.
It was also claimed that Sutcliffe was deteriorating over summer and had left belongings – including slippers, pens, woolly hats and a pair of Crocs – to fellow prisoners in his will.
His cell was filled with letters, many from women who were obsessed with the killer.
He died at the University Hospital of North Durham after his lungs failed overnight. No visitors were by his bedside due to covid rules.
Sutcliffe had written regular letters to a penpal during the pandemic and just months before his death had boasted about feeling ‘much safer’ in prison than in the outside world, MailOnline revealed.
Mentioning the ‘horrible worldwide pandemic’, he told the correspondent, who asked to remain anonymous: ‘The world is stuck with this covid. Makes me feel much safer being in here with all that’s going on in the world.’
He had regularly described his fears about contracting coronavirus in the months before he tested positive. He first mentioned it on March 16 writing: ‘You be careful with this horrible virus about.’
He also declined to have visitors due to his fears about the virus, writing on May 10: ‘Visits are going again but I won’t be bothering with them in the present circumstances. I’d rather wait until they’ve discovered an effective vaccine.’
In his last recorded words, he wrote: ‘Lockdown still no change here and with all the new spikes going on outside these walls I don’t there will be any change until the new year. Health-wise we are both doing OK and getting on with life the best we can.’
The Ripper had previously signed ‘do not resuscitate forms’ – while friends said he astonishingly believed he would ‘go to heaven’ after his death because he had become a Jehovah’s Witness.
Families of his victims today celebrated his death and said the serial killer will ‘rot in hell’.
Marcella Claxton, who was left needing more than 50-stitches after being hit over the head with a hammer, told MailOnline: ‘I’m happy he’s gone. I’ve thought about what he did to me every day since and although the news that’s he’s died brings those horrible memories back at least now I may be able to get some closure.
Former lorry driver Peter Sutcliffe was serving a whole-life term for murdering 13 women across Yorkshire and north-west England
‘I’m hoping it will bring me a little peace knowing he’s no longer with us.’
Neil Jackson, whose mother Emily was killed by Sutcliffe after he hit her 52 times with a hammer, heard about his death today in a phone call from his son.
He said: ‘My first thought was ‘thank God for that’. It’s a big relief.’
Sutcliffe had spent his last weeks railing against a new TV drama about his murders, complaining that it will only show him in a ‘negative’ light.
The Yorkshire Ripper flew into a rage after learning of the planned ITV six-part series, sources said. The series, based on a book about the police investigation into Sutcliffe, was announced last month.
Prison sources described how the shambling killer even made a final call to a close confidante from high-security prison HMP Frankland, Co Durham, in which he fumed over the programme.
During the call, which took place shortly before he fell ill, Sutcliffe blasted the series for ‘going over old ground’.
In a separate development, Michael Bilton, author of Wicked Beyond Belief which inspired the drama and for which he is a consultant, told how investigations by police officers and himself suggest the killer’s first victims may have been two men.
It is thought Sutcliffe may have murdered Fred Craven, who ran a betting shop near Sutcliffe’s family home in Bingley, West Yorkshire, though he denied attacking men.
Mr Craven was bludgeoned to death with a hammer in April 1966.
Mr Bilton said Sutcliffe knew Mr Craven and may have asked his daughter out to no avail.
‘Talking to younger detectives, they – once Sutcliffe was caught – realised he lived down the road from where this guy [Craven] lived,’ he said.
‘Looking at his injuries, Sutcliffe could have been a candidate for murdering this man.’
Eleven months later, taxi driver John Tomey, then 28, survived a serious assault with a hammer.
He gave a description of the attacker that matched Sutcliffe.