The Yorkshire Ripper enquiry: Part I
Issue: Vol 1 No. 2 (1994)
Subject Areas: Linguistics
Between 1975 and 1979 eleven women fell prey to a serial killer in towns in northern England. The police received an audio rape in the post which contained a message from a man they believed to be the murderer. The recording was submitted for speaker-profiling; in particular, the police sought to establish the regional background of the speaker. The major accent influences were pinpointed within a narrow geographical area. Subsequent developments in the case led the phoneticians concerned to the view that the recording had probably been made by a hoaxer. This advice was insufficiently taken into account by the instructing police officers. It transpired that the phoneticians had been correct. The murderer was eventually identified and convicted bur the hoaxer remains unidentified. The hoaxer also led the police astray through letters. In Part I of this enquiry report, Stanley Ellis outlines his role in the operation in relation to the rape recording. In Part II, Jack Windsor Lewis develops a number of points from his analyses of the letters.
Author: Stanley Ellis