Peter William Sutcliffe (born 2 June 1946) is a British serial killer who was dubbed by the press “The Yorkshire Ripper” during his crime spree. In 1981 Sutcliffe was convicted of murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven others.
Since his incarceration, in prison and whilst in Broadmoor, Sutcliffe has been attacked several times.
ATTACKER: JAMES COSTELLO
ATTACK DATE: January 10 1983
PLACE: Parkhurst Prison, Isle Of Wight
James Costello, aged 35, attacked Peter Sutcliffe in F2, the hospital wing of Parkhurst Prison, on January 10 1983. Costello, from Glasgow, had made 28 court appearances between 1963 and 1980, nine of them in relation to violence, and 15 appearances resulting in prison sentences. He had been convicted in 1980 for possessing a firearm with the intent to endanger life, possessing a firearm with intent to resist arrest, and possessing a firearm without a certificate. He had received a 10 year sentence. He had been diagnosed as mentally ill at Parkhurst, and was awaiting transfer to Broadmoor.
The attack took place while Peter Sutcliffe was getting water in a plastic bowl. James Costello entered the recess, and as Sutcliffe turned to leave, he smashed him twice on the left side of face with a broken coffee jar before Sutcliffe managed to push him away. Sutcliffe had four wounds requiring 30 stitches. One deep cut ran five inches from near his mouth to his neck, and another was two-and-a-half inches long, running from his left eye to his ear. He also had two smaller cuts on the eyelid and below the eye. Sutcliffe had lost about a pint of blood and had gone into a mild state of shock. He required an operation to repair superficial muscle damage.
On January 11th, the day after the attack on Sutcliffe, Kerry Macgill, his solicitor, said: “The prison doctor, who is employed by the Home Office, and the visiting professor have sectionalised Sutcliffe under the Mental Health Act. Moves will continue to get him transferred to a secure psychiatric unit.” In September 1982, the prison medical office, Dr David Cooper, and a consultant forensic scientist, Professor John Gunn, both recommended that Sutcliffe should be transferred to a top security mental hospital under Section 72 of the Mental Health Act. Section 72 provides that the transfer to a mental hospital cannot be made without the approval of the Home Secretary. In December 1982, the Home Secretary, William Whitelaw, had rejected the transfer, saying that Sutcliffe would remain at Parkhurst in the public interest. It was understood that he feared that a transfer would have been seen by the public as a soft option for such a killer.
While James Costello was transferred to Broadmoor soon after the attack, the Home Office reiterated that Peter Sutcliffe would remain at Parkhurst. Sutcliffe was finally transferred to Broadmoor by the new Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, on March 27 1984.
On April 14 1983, Peter Sutcliffe gave evidence about the attack at Newport Magistrates Court on the Isle of Wight. Graham Grant-Whyte, for the Director of Prosecutions, told the court of the attack on Sutcliffe in which two blows were struck that left him with four wounds. Two hospital officers had witnessed part of the incident and had separated the two men. When asked what had happened, James Costello said that Sutcliffe had attacked him.
In his testimony, Sutcliffe said that shortly before 6:00 pm on January 10th his cell had been unlocked and he went to get some water in a plastic bowl. “As I was turning the tap off I became aware of someone else in the recess. I didn’t pay particular attention to who it was. I took about two strides, that’s all, and all of a sudden I was the subject of a particularly nasty unprovoked attack. The first thing I was aware of was a glinting coming from a glass container. I saw it glinting just before it hit my face. That was the first I saw of it when a person used it to cause severe damage.” Sutcliffe pointed to the left side of his face, “It hit me there.”
Sutcliffe stated that he had seen the man before, but did not know his name. “He had time to smash into my face twice before I could do anything. I just put my arms out. Before I held him at arms length the glass smashed on the floor. I quickly put the bowl in the sink and stuck my arm out to keep him away from me. Blood was coming from his hand and then some hospital officers came running in.” He said he only realised Costello had something in his right hand just before before it hit his face. “The only thing I noticed was when it was practically in my face. There was only a thousandth of a second before it smashed into my face. There was no chance to avoid it or anything.”
Peter Sutcliffe was cross-examined by Peter Ader, for the defence. “What’s the position today about your mental state? Are you stable now?” Sutcliffe replied, “I don’t know whether I am the person you should ask about things like that.” Sutcliffe did agree that he had been “hearing voices” this year. Mr Ader asked, “Telling you to do or what not to do?” Sutcliffe answered, “Just giving me advice when I get depressed.”
About whether Sutcliffe was having difficulties in his relationships with other prisoners, Mr Ader asked. “Aren’t you a rather unpopular person?” Sutcliffe said, “Yes, but it does not affect me because it is an ignorant opinion they hold. Anyway, they just do not understand.” Mr Ader inquired, “Haven’t you had trouble with other prisoners taunting and provoking you?” Sutcliffe stated, “I just don’t take any notice.” When Mr Ader claimed that the other prisoners made comments which upset him, Sutcliffe replied: “It depends on what you mean by upset. I just feel sad at their attitude, at their ignorance. They don’t know anything at all. They interpret it as they think. It has no effect on me. They don’t understand. I don’t crave their company anyway.”
When questioned about whether he would gain financially from the case, Peter Sutcliffe stated, “There is no point in my trying to gain financially from anything,” and said it was wrong to suggest either he or his family would gain financially. He had not even made a claim for compensation for his injuries. When asked by Mr Ader, “Aren’t you aware that your story is worth money in terms of selling it to the Press?” Sutcliffe angrily retorted, “That’s what is wrong with society today – the greed, immorality and depravity. All they think of is finance. There’s no moral values at all.”
James Costello did not give any evidence. A submission by Mr Ader that the case be dismissed as it “rests solely on one witness and this is a witness who manifestly has a great deal to gain from success in this case and a witness who is, in the way he gave his evidence, manifestly unreliable,” was rejected by the magistrates. Costello was committed for trial at Newport Crown Court and granted legal aid. The magistrates also rejected a request by Mr Ader for the trial to be held at Winchester Crown Court.
The trial of James Costello, charged with maliciously wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, began on October 31 1983 at Newport Crown Court on the Isle of Wight with Judge Lewis McCreery presiding. James Costello had dismissed all his lawyers and was defending himself.
Christopher Leigh, prosecuting, told the jury to put anything they knew about Peter Sutcliffe from their minds. “All men are equal before the law, be they high or low, good or bad, and the rule of law extends to our prisons as much as it does to the streets or our homes. That man Sutcliffe is just as entitled to the protection of the law as you or I.”
Brian Dyer, hospital senior orderly at Parkhurst, stated that the F2 wing and its landing are a mental observation area for psychiatrically disturbed prisoners. He also stated, during questioning from Costello, that glass articles were not allowed in the wing and the furniture was made from compressed cardboard, rather than wood, so that no one could injury either themselves or others.
Peter Sutcliffe, who spent over two hours in the witness box, stated he had been a victim of a carefully planned attack carried out by Costello “in seven seconds” with a broken coffee jar which had scarred his face and neck. He had not spoken to Costello either before or during the attack.
Giving his evidence, Sutcliffe said: “I decided to go from my cell, No. 11, to the recess to get some water. I had a plastic bowl with me. I filled the bowl with hot water, and as I was turning the tap off I noticed someone else come into the recess, and that it was Costello, although I did not know his name at the time. I glanced at him. As I turned away from the sink and began to walk back to the cell with the bowl I had taken only a couple of strides when suddenly I was smashed in the face with a broken coffee jar. I saw very little, just a glint of something sharp. There was no time to avoid it.” This first blow had split his left top eyelid and gashed his left ear.
“This was quickly followed by another blow and a gash about five inches long to my neck. After the second one I turned away quickly, put the bowl on the sink and held my arm out to keep Costello away. I thought I had lost my left eye actually.” Costello had dropped a tee-shirt during the attack and Peter Sutcliffe picked it up to use on the blood. “There was blood spurting out of my neck and my eye all over the walls,” he said.
When James Costello questioned Peter Sutcliffe, several times they clashed verbally, and occasionally Sutcliffe caused laughter with his reply to Costello’s questions. As well, both men, particularly Costello, had to be rebuked many times by Judge Lewis McCreery for raising “irrelevant matters” about psychiatric issues and for unnecessary exchanges.
During his testimony under questioning from James Costello, Peter Sutcliffe admitted that he had become “a cell recluse”, was reluctant to mix with other prisoners, and was preoccupied with legal matters.
James Costello defense to the charges is that Peter Sutcliffe had attacked him, and that he had only been defending himself. He stated, “What I am suggesting is that the Prison Service does not want the public to know Sutcliffe was in a position in the prison to attack me. It has been a cover-up.” In reply to that claim, Sutclife said, “That’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Costello claimed that Sutcliffe attacked him after a confrontation between the two of them over allegations that Sutcliffe had “censored” an article in the Sun newspaper which had been about the January prison siege at Parkhurst. The Sun newspaper was circulated every morning among the prisoners in the wing. Sutcliffe admitted that he had blotted out an article about vice and prostitutes in the newspaper with his artist’s paint, and that he would occasionally cut out “things of a libellous nature in the Sun before passing it on.”
While admitting that he still heard voices giving him advice, Sutcliffe denied Costello’s allegation that they had instructed him to kill him. When asked by Costello if he would be upset if he was transferred to a psychiatric hospital, Sutcliffe replied: “Yes, I would. I have always told them there is nothing wrong with me and I prefer to stay in prison.”
During his testimony, Sutcliffe said to Costello, “I am being generous answering these questions because you need all the help you can get from psychiatrists, not from the courts.”
On November 1st, Judge Judge Lewis McCreery stopped the trial and ordered a new jury, stating, “Since I rose last night circumstances have come to my attention which necessitate my discharging this jury and starting again with another jury.” He told the jury “What I have mentioned has got nothing whatsoever to do with the accused and is no reflection on any of you in the slightest.”
When the trial restarted on November 2nd with a new jury, Judge Lewis McCreery refused to elaborate on why he had stopped the first trial, and stated that neither the jurors nor the accused were responsible for his decision. The evidence was again presented to the new jury.
As with the first trial, during cross-examination James Costello and Peter Sutcliffe again clashed. When Costello suggested that Sutcliffe had attacked him, Sutcliffe replied, “I didn’t, and you know it. There was no question of any argument or fight.” Sutcliffe also stated that he had not heard the voices he occasionally hears the night before the incident. Costello asked, “Have you ever thought you heard me say I was going to kill you?” Sutcliffe answered, “Yes, at the time of the incident. But I didn’t put it in my statement to the police because I could not swear to it.” Costello inquired, “Do the voices tell you to attack people?” Sutcliffe stated: “You won’t raise that with me. You are getting into something you can’t understand.”
On November 3rd, Dr Brian Cooper, Parkhurst prison’s principal medical officer gave evidence at the trial, stating that Peter Sutcliffe had lost as much as a pint of blood in the attack, and also required 30 stitches for the cuts on his face and neck. He also said the James Costello had been suffering from a personality disorder of a psychiatric type. “He could react in a violent way.”
When questioned by James Costello, Dr Cooper agreed that Peter Sutcliffe was mentally ill at the time of the attack. Costello asked, “Would his mental illness make him likely to attack someone?” Dr Cooper replied, “Women,” and said it would be unlikely that Sutcliffe would ever attack a man.
During the trial, the prosecution had suggested that the motive for the attack might have been the fact that Sutcliffe was a sex killer, and such killers were very unpopular with other prisoners. Costello had told the jury that Sutcliffe was the most unpopular man in the prison.
Due to Costello defending himself, the trial almost became farcical as Sutcliffe and Costello traded insults. Once Sutcliffe, openly disdainful, said to Costello “I answer questions like that to qualified people, not idiots like you.” Costello retorted, “You are the one that has got the scar.” As well as trading insults with Sutcliffe, James Costello frequently clashed with the judge. A number of times he demanded a new trial before a new judge.
On November 7th, the jury found James Costello guilty, by a 10 to two margin, of wounding Peter Sutcliffe with intent to cause him grievous bodily harm. After hearing the verdict, Costello kicked open the dock door and stormed out of the dock swearing at the jurors. He was also heard shouting, “I proved my case.” Later, while being driven away from the court, he shouted to bystanders, “How can anyone use too much violence against the Ripper?”
Judge Lewis McCreery, after Costello’s outburst, deferred sentencing until the following day. He also said that his decision to start a new trial before another jury after the first day had been because he had discovered that a person on the jury was known to him, but had not recognised him.
On November 8th, James Costello was sentenced to a further five years. Judge Lewis McCreery said to him: “You inflicted appalling injuries on Sutcliffe. You are one of the most dangerous and evil men it has ever been my misfortune to encounter.”
Refusing to wait his turn to speak, Costello stated, “People are saying that I was swearing at the jury yesterday when I was convicted. I was not. I was swearing at you. The jury are honest people who were misled.”
After constant interruptions, the judge, warned Costello he would sentence him for contempt of court if he did not remain quiet. Costello said: “You can put me on bread and water if you like. Don’t forget you are sentencing me for defending myself, not for attacking.”
Costello also told the judge, “I don’t understand how any man can get sentenced for using too much violence against a guy who has killed 13 people and had me by the throat. I know I am a violent man. I was not well at the time. I was on my way to Broadmoor.”
In 1996, Costello talked about the attack in an interview in the Daily Record: “We were both in the Parkhurst Psychiatric Wing. I was doing 22 years for carrying a gun and resisting arrest. Peter Sutcliffe was always swaggering about with his minder, a nutter called Wakefield. So I got my chib (made out of a coffee tin lid) and done him when his minder was slopping out. I remember Sutcliffe roaring like a wounded animal.”
“My original diagnosis at Broadmoor was that I was a psychopath. The consultant read this out in court and it was taken up by the newspapers, which was degrading. I felt Sutcliffe was a psycho, but not me. I hadn’t slaughtered all those women. But then I was rediagnosed paranoid schizophrenic when I admitted hearing voices.”
ATTACKER: PAUL WILSON
ATTACK DATE: February 23 1996
PLACE: Broadmoor Hospital, Berkshire
Paul Wilson was a convicted robber, who had been diagnosed as mental ill, and a patient at Broadmoor Hospital, when he tried to strangle Peter Sutcliffe on February 23 1996.
The heavily-built man went to Peter Sutcliffe’s private room in Henley Ward on the Friday night, knocked on the door, and asked whether he could borrow a video. Using the flex from a pair of stereo headphones, Wilson attacked Sutcliffe and attempted to strangle him.
When Sutcliffe screamed for help, two other murderers, Kenneth Erskine, the Stockwell Strangler, and Jamie Devitt, raised the alarm, and ran to help him. Wilson was then taken by nurses to an isolation unit. Wilson was said to have a deep hatred of sex offenders, and told the staff that he resented being locked up with them.
One nurse stated: “It was a very violent attack, and Sutcliffe is in no doubt that the man was trying to kill him. He is just fortunate that other patients stepped in.” Peter Sutcliffe sustained a black eye and bruising to the neck in the attack.
In an apparent attempt at a news blackout of the event, it emerged that the staff had been told not to talk about the attack, and that Broadmoor had not called the police in to investigate. Refusing to discuss the attack, Broadmoor’s general manager, Alan Franey, stated: ”You know I cannot and will not comment on any incident which involves one of my patients, especially one who is of such high profile. It is hospital policy not to refer to individual patients and I have to respect that confidentially.”
A Thames Valley Police spokesman at Bracknell said: “We are surprised we were not asked to investigate but Broadmoor appears to be a law unto itself.” A hospital staff member said: “It is shocking that an attempted murder can happen in a hospital and the police are not called in to investigate.”
Peter Sutcliffe threatened to take out a private prosecution if the police did not take any action. Although the police later investigated the attack, Sutcliffe did not press charges.
ATTACKER: IAN KAY
ATTACK DATE: March 10 1997
PLACE: Broadmoor Hospital, Berkshire
Thirteen months after the attempted strangulation of Peter Sutcliffe by Paul Wilson, Sutcliffe was attacked on March 10 1997 by Ian Kay, 29, who stabbed him in the eyes with a Parker roller-ball pen.
Kay had been jailed for eight years in December 1991 for nearly killing a shop assistant and for 16 robberies on stores in London. He was allowed out on home leave less than three years later and within two hours he had robbed a post office. He was again given leave in August 1994, and failed to return. Between August and November of that year, he later admitted to seven robberies, a theft, and an attempted theft, all but one of them involving Woolworths. As well, Kay was charged with the November 1994 murder of Woolworths’ assistant manager John Penfold. Kay had stabbed Mr Penfold through the heart with a kitchen knife before grabbing two 50p coins from the till which he dropped as he ran to a nearby car. Kay described Mr Penfold as a “have-a-go hero who got what he deserved.” Psychiatrists said Kay was suffering from an abnormal personality disorder, and it was argued at his trial that he was unable to control his violent impulses. The jury rejected his plea of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and Kay was jailed for a minimum of 22 years in 1995 for the murder. Later, after showing signs of mental illness, Kay was transferred to Broadmoor.
The attack on Peter Sutcliffe came just a week after Health Secretary Stephen Dorrell had announced a wide-ranging review, concentrating on security and the quality of care, of the management of Broadmoor. The Prison Officers’ Association had criticised security and staffing levels at Broadmoor, including a lack of experienced nurses and patients intimidating the staff. They had warned that the hospital was reaching a “breaking point”.
One source said that Peter Sutcliffe had been sitting in his room in Henley ward when Kay burst in. “An argument started and before staff could reach him, Kay had attacked Sutcliffe.There was a scuffle and Sutcliffe was stabbed in both eyes by what we believe was a fibre tip pen. The points of these types of pens are very sharp and can do a lot of damage. Kay had apparently been showing signs of violence in the past few weeks. We have had other patients in Broadmoor who have been stabbed with a felt pen like this. They are available in the work areas and are used for drawing.” It was also said that, after Kay had been moved to a private room two doors from Sutcliffe, he had gone berserk. It was believed that he objected to be so close to one of Britain’s most notorious murderers.
Another source stated, “At about the time of the attack, Sutcliffe usually stays on the ward to write letters to the various pen pals he has. He has got pens and pencils he uses but it is not clear whether Kay used one of Sutcliffe’s felt-tips to attack him. It would have been very quiet on the ward at the time of the attack and most patients would have been off on therapy courses or in work units.”
One nurse said, “Kay has made a couple of attacks on patients in the last few months and Sutcliffe seems to have been his ultimate aim. He definitely knew who he was attacking. He struts around the high-security ward like a cockerel in a show of bravado. He needs to prove himself and become top dog – to remove the fear of being attacked by others.”
One hospital source said that Kay was seen by a nurse leaving Sutcliffe’s room. “He was smiling and appeared very calm. Then the nurse spotted blood on the front of Kay’s shirt. The nurse raced into Sutcliffe’s room and found him lying on the floor with his face in a terrible state. He was writhing in agony saying that he couldn’t see.”
After being initially examined by doctors at Broadmoor, Peter Sutcliffe was taken to the specialist eye unit at Frimley Park Hospital near Camberley, Surrey. He was brought back to Broadmoor later that night. The following day he was again taken to Frimley Park Hosptial where the eye specialists abandoned hope of saving the sight in his left eye, while his right eye was likely to have impaired vision. John Sutcliffe, his father, complained about not being informed by the hospital about his son’s condition, “All I have heard about him being blind is through the media, which annoys me – I would much prefer to hear from the hospital myself.” It was reported that Peter Sutcliffe was also considering suing Broadmoor Hospital, and was to consult with his solicitor, Kerry Macgill, before taking any action over the attack.
The investigation of the attack was headed by Det Insp Jamie Williamson, of the Thames Valley Police, and resulted in Ian Kay being charged with attempted murder. On January 27 1998, Kay was in Reading Crown Court, where he admitted the charge of attempting to murder Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper.
Mr Paul Reid, prosecuting, told the court that there was no history of hostility between Sutcliffe and Kay, “They came across each other because they both attended art therapy classes held weekly on the ward.” They also bumped into each other during mealtimes. It is thought that the reason Kay launched his attack on Sutcliffe was because he wanted to become notorious among other patients and be respected and feared. Hospital nurses said that Kay also fancied himself as a leader in Broadmoor.
Ian Kay had stolen a razor blade, and he had originally meant to kill Peter Sutcliffe with the razor blade embedded in a toothbrush handle. His plan was foiled when staff found the blade missing. At the time Kay told the staff he had intended to commit suicide. Police later found out the truth. Kay told police: “I was going to ask for an envelope, walk into the room and cut his jugular vein on both sides and wait there until he was dead. Killing has always been in my mind, ever since I’ve been here [Broadmoor]. In hindsight I should have straddled him and strangled him with my bare hands.”
The court was told that Kay had brought forward his plans for the attack on Sutcliffe because he was due to move wards. Mr Reid said that before he launched his 15-minute attack against Sutcliffe on March 10th, Kay had asked another patient to put on some loud music.
Mr. Reid said, “Prior to this attack, Kay had knocked on Sutcliffe’s door and asked to borrow an envelope. Sutcliffe found one and gave it to him and that was the end of that. It was of no great surprise that Kay repeated this request at about 3:00 pm on March 10. Sutcliffe opened the door and Kay asked for an envelope. Sutcliffe turned to get one and as he turned back towards Kay, Kay immediately attacked him.” Kay pinned Sutcliffe to the floor of his room, and then, “He stabbed him in the eyes with a Parker roller-ball pen.”
Mr Reid told the court, “The defendant struck Sutcliffe five or six times deep into the left eye, and three or four times in the right eye. He only stopped when Sutcliffe managed to grab hold of the pen and push it away from him.”
As well as the pen, Kay had gone into Sutcliffe’s room with a piece of electrical flex and intended to strangle Sutcliffe with it. “I shut his door and attacked him. I started to stab him in the eyes and throttle him,” he said. “My objective was to kill him, and I tried to do it as best as I could. I could not be bothered to use the flex in the end. I should have kneed him in the face a few times, straddled him across his body and throttled him with my bare hands.”
When Kay left Sutcliffe’s room after the attack, he slammed the door behind him and made his way up to the roof. Kay was seen covered in blood, including blood on his face and hands, and was restrained by several nurses. Other hospital staff raced to Sutcliffe’s room where they found blood splattered on the wall and the bed. “Sutcliffe was leaning over the sink in his bathroom and he said ‘I can’t see. I think I’m blind’,” said Mr Reid.
After the attack, Sutcliffe was taken to Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey where he received treatment by an eye specialist, who was unable to save the sight in Sutcliffe’s left eye. Mr Reid said: “Even now he has restricted movement still in his right eye and his sight is very considerably diminished.”
Kay was asked why he had launched the savage attack during interviews with psychiatrists. He told them, “Because it was the Devil’s work. He said God told him to kill 13 women, and I say the Devil told me to kill him because of that.” Kay also confided to a doctor that he had thought about killing the Yorkshire Ripper for some time. He stated, “He killed 13 women and deserved what happened to him.”
Bill Clegg QC, for the defence, said that Kay’s personality was “the product of a deeply disturbed mind. He is an extremely dangerous man, and that danger presents an obvious risk to the public”. He asked that Kay continue to be detained in Broadmoor. “His illness plainly means he is in the best place at the moment,” he added.
Mr Justice Keene, sentencing Kay to be detained without restriction of time under section 37 of the Mental Health Act 1983, told him: “You admitted your intention to kill him. It must cause some public concern that you were able to carry out such an attack. You are clearly a very dangerous man indeed. I’m satisfied you are suffering from a psychiatric disorder and that you ought to be detained in a hospital for medical treatment.”
In March 1998 the family of Peter Sutcliffe appealed directly to the Home Secretary, Jack Straw, in a letter asking him to have Sutcliffe moved from Broadmoor to the secure unit at Ashworth Hospital in Liverpool, based on compassionate grounds. The family stated that the journey to Broadmoor, Berkshire, takes eight hours, and they have great difficulty visiting him. As well, Sutcliffe was still in the hospital at Broadmoor, since the prison had been unable to move him because it cannot give him another room. Previous to the attack by Ian Kay, Sutcliffe had his own room and communal area. This had allowed him some independence. His room was given to another prisoner while he was being treated for the injuries he sustained. The family of Peter Sutcliffe had, shortly after Ian Kay had been sentenced in January 1998, asked the authorities at Broadmoor for the move, but without result. The appeal to the Home Secretary also was without result.
ATTACKER: PATRICK SUREDA
ATTACK DATE: December 22 2007
PLACE: Broadmoor Hospital, Berkshire
During lunch on Saturday, December 22 2007, at the dining hall in Dorchester Ward at Broadmoor Hospital, murderer Patrick Sureda, imprisoned for the 2000 strangulation of his mother and pronounced a paranoid schizophrenic by doctors, attacked Peter Sutcliffe with a metal cutlery knife.
While about 20 other inmates looked on, Sureda lunged at Sutcliffe screaming: “You f****** raping, murdering bastard.” and “I’ll blind your f****** other one.” (referring to Sutcliffe’s only good eye after the previous attack by Ian Kay in 1997 where he was blinded in the left eye).
As Sureda aimed the metal cutlery knife, Sutcliffe flung himself back in his seat and the blade stuck a half inch below his right eye and then bounced off his cheekbone. Before another attack could be made, four nurses restrained Sureda and he was taken away and placed in the isolation ward.
It was determined by medics at Broadmoor that Sutcliffe did not require hospital treatment for his injury. Police have been called in to investigate the attack. It was reported that Sureda had told other patients of his intention to blind Sutcliffe.
On February 28 2008, Patrick Sureda was charged with attempted wounding with intent (news of the charge was not made public until May 2008).
On June 2 2008, Judge Jeremy Roberts QC ruled that Patrick Sureda was again not fit to be tried in the murder of his mother in 2000. Psychiatrists who had been monitoring Sureda’s condition had believed that he might be well enough to stand trial, but, unfortunately, his mental condition had again deteriorated. The jury in the first attempt to try Sureda found that he was not fit to mount a defence due to his mental disability. In a second trial to establish the facts of the case, the jury ruled that Sureda had killed his mother, and he was ordered to be detained indefinitely under the Mental Health Act. Sureda was remanded back to Broadmoor until a further hearing on June 5th.
On November 19 2009, Patrick Sureda, who had been ruled unfit to plead, was found guilty by a jury at Reading Crown Court of wounding with intent and assault in an attack on Peter Sutcliffe on December 22 2007.
Neil Moore, prosecuting, told the jury: “He (Sureda) made a concerted attempt to stab another man in the area of his eye at Broadmoor where they were both patients. Fortunately the attempt was only successful to the extent that there was a relatively small wound.” Sutcliffe received an inch long cut below his right eye.
Sureda launched his attack, which lasted less than a minute, in a small cafeteria on the Dorchester Ward while 13 patients were enjoying second helpings at lunchtime. He screamed: ‘I’ll teach you, you b******, for killing all those women” just before grabbing Sutcliffe around the neck. He then repeatedly aimed at Sutcliffe’s one good eye with a blunt 7-inch table knife as nurses tried to pull him away.
In a statement by Broadmoor healthcare assistant Roy Woodhouse that was read to the court, Sureda had appeared agitated prior to the attack. “He was looking around a lot, messing with his food, cutting it up but not actually eating any of it. All of a sudden Sureda got up and made a mad dash to Sutcliffe, who had his back to him, and lunged at him.” Sureda locked his left hand around Sutcliffe’s neck so as to stop Sutcliffe from moving. “He was gripping a metal dinner knife and made four or five cutting motions and I could hear thuds with each contact.” Sureda was then quickly restrained by Woodhouse as other staff wrestled the weapon from him.
Judge Zoe Smith was told that Sureda had the delusional belief that his lawyers had been bribed by MI6. Stephen Ferguson, defending, also had not spoken to his client, as he had been instructed not to. It was also stated that Sureda was not emotionally capable of dealing with the court case, and from the dock he complained thoughout the trial, as well as repeatedly admitting to having carried out the attack on Sutcliffe.
The judge ruled he was not fit to submit a plea. The jury at Reading Crown Court found Sureda guilty of wounding Sutcliffe with intent.
Judge Zoe Smith ruled that Sureda should continue to be detained under the Mental Health Act as he is a danger to the public.
She said: “Mr Sureda poses a grave and immediate risk to the safety of others.”