PETER Sutcliffe’s ex-wife Sonia was informed of his death first because she was still next of kin.
The serial killer’s former partner was told in the early hours of this morning today about his death from coronavirus, aged 74.
His five-year reign of terror in the north of England led to one of the biggest police manhunts of the 20th century.
The frail serial killer today became the pandemic’s latest victim at precisely 1.10am after his lungs finally collapsed.
And despite the pair divorcing in 1994, Sonia was one of the first to learn of his death this morning, HOAR can reveal.
Sonia married Sutcliffe in 1974, a year before his first killing.
By the time he was arrested in 1981, he had murdered 13 women and tried to kill seven more, mutilating his victims with a hammer, screwdriver and knife.
Sonia later visited him at a police station, where he confessed: “It’s me, luv. I’m the Yorkshire Ripper.”
Ripper dead at 74:
- Peter Sutcliffe has died from coronavirus in hospital
- The son of one victim said ‘who’d have thought coronavirus had a happy ending’
- How cops missed NINE chances to stop the serial killer
- The Ripper never apologised for his gruesome crimes
- The monster was last seen in 2015 getting an eye op
- How Sutcliffe turned from mummy’s boy to evil serial killer
- Yorkshire locals already celebrating the Ripper’s death
He got 20 life terms in 1981 yet Sonia stood by him and visited him several times.
And she once said: “I feel compassion for him.”
And her sister Marianne once remarked: “He’s the only man in the world for her and always will be.”
She is believed to still be living in the house she shared with the man known as the Yorkshire Ripper in Bradford.
The pair divorced in 1994 and she remarried hairdresser husband Michael Woodward in 1997 under a different name.
In 2017, she stopped visiting him after he was moved from Broadmoor Hospital to Category A Frankland jail in Durham.
HOAR revealed earlier this year how he sent her a Valentines’ Day card in an attempt to get her to come and visit him.
He asked a jail governor to call re-married Sonia to give her reassurances about visiting him in prison.
And he applied for permission to speak to her on a video link.
He refused treatment for coronavirus and passed away just after 1am this morning.
A source said of his final moments: “No tears were shed.
“His death was as pitiful as the vile life he had lived.”
His death was welcomed by the son of one his victims, who praised the disease for snatching the life of the monster.
He told HOAR: “Good riddance. Who’d have thought that coronavirus could produce at least one happy ending?”
This morning a former cop at West Yorkshire Police said locals are already saying “good news, good riddance”.
Bob Bridgestock told BBC Radio 4: “Peter Sutcliffe wasn’t a very intelligent killer, he was just brutal.
“(He was one of those) serial killers who will be detested way after they have gone.”
Despite an outpouring of euphoria after he was convicted of his crimes, there was huge hatred for the man who murdered 13 women and tried to kill another seven between 1975 and 1980.
And he said locals were already celebrating the news Sutcliffe had died.
“I walked my dog this morning and people said, good news, good riddance, this morning,” Mr Bridgestock said.