A new ITV documentary about the 1970s serial killer, the Yorkshire Ripper, is being shown on ITV.
The documentary explores the murders and investigations that took place, with a look at Jack Wearside, who pretended to be the killer Peter Sutcliffe before he was later captured.
Who was Wearside Jack?
Wearside Jack is the nickname given to John Samuel Humble, a 68-year-old Briton who posed as the Yorkshire Ripper.
In a series of phone calls and letters, he diverted the attention of the police from their search for the real Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe.
He sent a taped message in Wearside’s accent and three letters taunting the commissioner for failing to catch him.
The recorded message caused the investigation team to move out of West Yorkshire, where the real killer Peter lived, which helped prolong his attacks on women.
More than 25 years after these events took place, a fragment of one of Humble’s envelopes was traced back to him with DNA, leading to his arrest in 2006.
What was Wearside Jack’s hoax in the Yorkshire Ripper case?
Between March 1978 and June 1979, Humble sent three letters claiming to be the Yorkshire Ripper.
The first letter was written to Detective George Oldfield.
In the letter, Humble described in great detail how proud he was of the murders he claimed to have committed as the Yorkshire Ripper.
He goes on to describe the girls killed and states that the police should “warn the whores to stay off the streets because I feel like it’s happening again (another murder).”
In June 1979, Humble sent a tape to Assistant Chief Constable Oldfield, where he identified himself only under the name “Jack” and claimed responsibility for the Ripper murders.
On the recording, he said, “I’m Jack. I see you still can’t catch me. I have the greatest respect for you, George, but, Lord! I think your boys are letting you down, George. They can’t be good, can they?
Sutcliffe denied any involvement in the letters or tape recordings.
The police then began to take notice of Humble’s Verside accent.
Together with voice analysts, they concluded that the accent was characteristic of the Castletown area of Sunderland.
This led to an investigation of 40,000 men, but to no avail.
While the West Yorkshire police were investigating leads, Sutcliffe managed to kill three more women and attack two others.
It wasn’t until Sutcliffe’s confession to Wareside that Jack turned out to be a hoaxer.
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How long was Wearside Jack in jail?
On March 21, 2006, Humble was sentenced to eight years in prison.
In July of that year, he filed an appeal against his sentence, which was dismissed in October 2006.
Humble was released from prison in 2009 after serving four years and was given a new name.
In August 2019, it was reported that he died at his home in South Shields on 30 July due to heart failure and the effects of alcoholism.