The Ripper on Netflix has entranced viewers with its retelling of the Yorkshire Ripper but for how long and why did wife Sonia Sutcliffe stay with him?
The serial killer – whose real name was Peter Sutcliffe – brutally murdered 13 women between 1975 and 1980, before being caught in 1981.
During the documentary, viewers are introduced to Sutcliffe’s wife, Sonia – although she doesn’t actually appear.
Ripper wife Sonia Sutcliffe stayed married to him even after he was sent down for life, but the question is, why?
Who was the Yorkshire Ripper’s wife?
Sonia Sutcliffe was born Oksana Szurma in 1950 to Polish and Ukrainian parents after they fled to England from what was then called Czechoslovakia after the war.
Growing up in Bradford, Sonia had an older sister called Marianne.
By the time Sonia was 15 she and Marianne used to tell fibs to their father in order to go to the local clubs and discos.
They always said they were going to the ballet.
It was in one of these local pubs that Sonia met Peter, aged 15.
When did Sonia marry Peter Sutcliffe?
Sonia and Peter got engaged in 1967, and used to spend evenings round at each other’s houses watching television.
Reports claim that in 1969, the two had an argument and Peter stormed off into the night.
In an attempt to cheat on Sonia, he sought the company of a sex worker, but allegedly couldn’t go through with it.
Sutcliffe claimed that the sex worker tried to swindle him out of £5.
Sonia and Peter married in 1974, only a year before his first victim.
Why did the Yorkshire Ripper’s wife Sonia Sutcliffe stay married to him?
After Sutcliffe was caught in 1981, Sonia stayed married to him for 15 years.
She visited him at Broadmoor prison and then at Parkhurst, after he was transferred in 1984.
Sonia stopped visiting Sutcliffe in 2015, after she had reportedly complained that he was “jealous and insecure”.
Was she ever a suspect?
Sonia had no clue what her then-husband was up to.
He is reported to have said: “She had no idea, not a clue. I never had any blood on me or anything.
“There was nothing to link me, I was taking my clothes home and taking my clothes off and doing my own washing… she was deeply shocked when I told her. She couldn’t believe it.”
In fact, when Sonia found out about her husband’s arrest they are said to have had an extraordinary conversation.
What on earth did you do that for Peter?
When Sonia went to visit Peter at the police station, it’s claimed that she asked: “What on earth is going on Peter?”
“It’s me, love I’m the Yorkshire Ripper. I killed all those women.”
“What on earth did you do that for Peter?” she is said to have asked.
Where is she now?
Sonia is now 70 years old and lives in the same house she shared with her ex-husband.
The couple divorced in 1994, and three years later she remarried hairdresser Michael Woodward.
It’s also reported Sonia paid for her ex-husband’s funeral, who died in November after suffering from coronavirus.
Has she spoken about the Netflix documentary?
Sonia has always kept her thoughts about her husband to herself.
In 2015, she told The Sun newspaper: “People have claimed to have interviewed me when the truth is they have not.
‘There have been a lot of bad things written about me and they are not accurate.
“One day I might do something but I don’t want to get your hopes up that is going to happen now.”
One journalist reportedly called her, “the most irritating, strangest and coldest person I’ve ever met”.