Peter Sutcliffe, a British serial killer known as the Yorkshire Ripper, has died after contracting COVID-19 at the age of 74, according to CNN.
He had been suffering from underlying health conditions before testing positive for COVID-19, and prison officials could not confirm whether that was the cause of death.
“HMP (Her Majesty’s Prison) Frankland prisoner Peter Coonan (born Sutcliffe) died in hospital on 13 November. The Prisons and Probation Ombudsman has been informed,” a prison spokesperson told CNN.
Sutcliffe was convicted in 1981 for murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven more in Northern England between 1975 and 1980. He confessed to authorities in 1981 but then contested the charges in court — during his trial, he claimed he was on a mission from God to kill prostitutes. He was sentenced to 20 life terms.
His first murder was in October 1975, when he murdered a 28-year-old mother of four and sex worker named Wilma McCann. Over the next five years, he brutally murdered others, including 42-year-old Emily Jackson and 16-year-old Jayne MacDonald.
“After that first time, I developed and played up a hatred for prostitutes in order to justify within myself a reason why I had attacked and killed Wilma McCann,” Sutcliffe told police, according to CNN.
He spent many hears in Broadmoor high-security psychiatric hospital, but was transferred to Frankland prison in County Durham in 2016 after becoming stable enough.
Sutcliffe’s reign of terror was chronicled in a three-part series called “The Yorkshire Ripper Files: A Very British Crime Story,” as well as a British television crime drama miniseries called “This Is Personal: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper.”