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Anorak | The Suffolk Ripper

The Suffolk Ripper

by | 13th, December 2006

A MANHUNT is on.

Police are loathe to use terms like serial killer, but evidence points to one man being responsible for the murder of five women in Suffolk, all prostitutes.

The Express leads with news of this “serial killer”, a “RIPPER” at large. And its sister paper, the Star, agrees, adding that the “River Ripper” is being actively pursued.

The bodies of two victims were found in water – Gemma Adam in a brook, Tania Nicol in the same stretch of water almost two miles away.

“Pervert, psycho, sicko,” announces the Star. The “River Ripper” must be stopped. The “River Ripper’s trail of horror spreads”.

And it is spreading fast. This Star’s River Ripper moves like the Colorado rapids. The Star has seen five bodies found in ten days. It consults the record books. It very possibly calls up Guinness. And it announces: “FASTEST SERIAL KILLER IN HISTORY.”

So the hunt is on for the Rapid River Ripper.

Of course, you may not know him by this name. And the Mail introduces its reader to “the Suffolk Strangler”. Less fearsome sounding than the Ripper, at first mention the Suffolk Strangler appears like a wrestler taking on Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks on Saturday afternoon television.

The Suffolk Strangler is “the most brazen serial killer in history”. “SUFFOLK STRAINGLER,” announces the Mail once more, heralding seven pages of “reports and pictures”.

But before we get to read the potted life stories of the victims, “All someone’s daughter”, the Sun warns us to look out for the “SUFFOLK RIPPER”.

Hang the Mail and Star’s fancy alliteration, here’s the Sun doing away with frippery and getting to the heart of things. The victims have all been killed in Suffolk. And Ripper is a word familiar to all, it usually proceeded by the word “Yorkshire”. Were they all strangled, like the Mail says? We do not know. And the victims were not all killed or found in a River, as the Star alludes to.

The Sun goes on: “He kills them, stores them and dumps them in the dark.” At once the workings and modus operandi of the Suffolk Ripper are turned into something graspable.

But the killer needs a face. So here is the Yorkshire Ripper, also known as Peter Sutcliffe. The Sun says that Sutcliffe took six years to kill the first five of his victims. This Suffolk Ripper has done this inside six weeks.

The Suffolk Ripper is fast.

Only the newspapers are quicker as they search for a nickname for the killer, a name that at once mythologies him and makes him into something other than human, the Sun’s “monster”, the Mirror’s “killing machine”.

But if it is the work on one man, he is all too real. He is human, like us. And that is the most chilling thing of all…



Posted: 13th, December 2006 | In: Tabloids Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink