Family members don’t agree who is responsible for the serial killer’s remains, it emerged, as questions loomed over his funeral arrangements.
Peter Sutcliffe had expressed a desire to be cremated and for his ex-wife, Sonia Woodward, to scatter his ashes in Paris, where they had a honeymoon in 1974.
The Yorkshire Ripper’s younger brother Carl said Mrs Woodward remained his next of kin and therefore holds the legal right to arrange a funeral.
The 61-year-old said he had washed his hands of his sibling and wouldn’t attend any arranged ceremony, but the Ripper’s other brother Michael, 70, disputed the claim about Mrs Woodward and said that it had nothing to do with her and that she wasn’t his wife anymore.
Michael said he’d hardly spoken to Mrs Woodward since Sutcliffe’s arrest and he was the only one of the killer’s five siblings to stay in regular contact with him, communicating weekly by phone.
The Ministry of Justice yesterday said the killer’s remains would be treated the same way as any other inmate, with his next of kin potentially taking control depending on what is in his will.
It’s not known who the executor of the will is.
Peter Sutcliffe and his wife Sonia stayed in contact after he was sentenced in 1981 but she’s not thought to have visited him in his later years – they divorced in 1994.
His death with be a bone of contention for many, but his victims and the families will now be able to rest at least, and the families of his victims didn’t get to choose the final
destiny of their loved ones, so perhaps he shouldn’t either.
However, the law is quite clear, jailed for life, but in death, his cremated remains will be returned to his family.