PETER SUTCLIFFE, the Yorkshire Ripper, is to be transferred out of Broadmoor psychiatric hospital and into a stricter jail regime, possibly in West Yorkshire, in a move that will save the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Sutcliffe, 70, has spent 32 years inside the high-security institution in Berkshire after murdering 13 women and attempting to kill seven more between, 1975 and 1980.
He was jailed for life in 1981 but has been at Broadmoor since being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, three years later. Government figures put the cost of keeping him there to be £325,000 a year, compared with the £45,000 spent on category A jail inmates.
Sutcliffe, a former lorry driver from Heaton, Bradford, who now uses his mother’s maiden name and calls himself Peter Coonan, will face a much tougher regime in prison, Dr Ruth Tully, a consultant forensic psychologist at Nottingham University, said.
But she said cost would not have been a factor in ruling that he was sane enough to be transferred.
She said: “His clinical team have made a clinical decision, not based on cost, that he is well enough to be transferred to prison. The clinical team are there to assess mental health, risk to the patient, risk to the public - they cannot be weighted by a costs decision.”
She added: “It costs more to keep somebody in psychiatric care because there is a lot more treatment going on.”
Sutcliffe will be classed as a vulnerable prisoner in jail and will be required to work or take on an educational project.
Dr Tully said: “The environments are very different but there will be some similarities - prisoners have the right to have a TV.
“In a hospital, it’s a much more comfortable setting, because you are a patient, entitled to adequate health care.
“He will be moved somewhere like Wakefield, a category A prison. He will be moved depending on how safe he is there, as a notorious patient or prisoner. There will have to be an adequate risk assessment in place.”
Dr Tully said he would continue to have his mental health assessed in prison and could be returned to a psychiatric hospital if there was deemed to be a change in his condition.
Sutcliffe told the psychiatrists who gave evidence at his trial that while working in a graveyard in 1967 he heard a “divine voice”, telling him it was his mission to kill or eradicate prostitutes.
However, not all his victims were sex workers. Towards the end of his killing spree, which began and ended in Leeds, his victims were picked seemingly randomly and Yorkshire was gripped by genuine fear as police warned that no woman was safe while he was at large.
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “Peter Coonan will remain locked up and will never be released for his evil crimes.”