The Thirteen

  • Wilma McCann (1975)
  • Emily Jackson (1976)
  • Irene Richardson (1977)
  • Patricia “Tina” Atkinson (1977)
  • Jayne MacDonald (1977)
  • Jean Jordan (1977)
  • Yvonne Pearson (1978)
  • Helen Rytka (1978)
  • Vera Millward (1978)
  • Josephine Whitaker (1979)
  • Barbara Leach (1979)
  • Marguerite Walls (1980)
  • Jacqueline Hill (1980)

All of these woman were brutally killed. All had people who loved them and whose lives could never be the same afterwards. Most were regarded with contempt by those charged with finding their killer and defamed by the newspapers who reported their deaths.

They were not the only victims. These women survived, all with physical and mental trauma. Several gave valuable information to the police – information that could have prevented further attacks – but were not taken seriously.

  • unnamed woman (1969)
  • Anna Rogulskyj (1975)
  • Olive Smelt (1975)
  • Tracy Browne (1975)
  • Marcella Claxton (1976)
  • Maureen Long (1977)
  • Marilyn Moore (1977)
  • Upadhya Bandara (1980)
  • Maureen Lea (1980)
  • Theresa Sykes (1980)

There may be others, whose stories have never, and almost certainly will never be told, whose names are not and never will be known.

And all of us, the girls and women who woke in terror in the night, who felt that terror on the streets of Yorkshire cities. We stopped going out, if we had the option, or made sure we were accompanied, if we had the option. We felt watched, exposed, judged if we went out, trapped if we did not.

Those were dark, dark years. The misogyny and the arrogance that derailed the investigation and delayed the identification of the killer still haunt us now. Much has changed – the West Yorkshire police force have apologised for the language used to describe the women who were murdered, and Radio 4 listed their names and made no distinction between those who were sex workers and those who were not. But not enough has changed, as Joan Smith’s article makes clear.

And so today I will not use the name of the man whose death has just been announced. The names above are the ones that matter.


  1. 2020 Books: Full-time Report | Passing Time
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