'The Ripper': Who was Peter Sutcliffe? Gravedigger to family man, the many roles of the twisted serial killer

Peter Sutcliffe dropped out of school at an early age to take up menial jobs, including a stint as a gravedigger


                            'The Ripper': Who was Peter Sutcliffe? Gravedigger to family man, the many roles of the twisted serial killer
Peter Sutcliffe (Getty Images)

One of the most disturbing parts of the story of the "Yorkshire Ripper", as Peter Sutcliffe came to be known, is the fact that he showed no signs of violence in his everyday life, at least not in his early life. The infamous serial killer reportedly did develop a rather macabre sense of humor later in life, which can be attributed to one of his jobs as a gravedigger. Sutcliffe did not have the most stable of home lives, and in the lead-up to the release of the Netflix documentary, 'The Ripper', we take a quick look at what kind of life  Sutcliffe led when he was not out killing people.

Sutcliffe dropped out of school at an early age. Reportedly, he was quite the loner as a child. He made a living taking up various kinds of menial jobs — anything that would pay, including a few stints as a gravedigger. It's his job as a gravedigger that might have started him on his journey towards becoming the Yorkshire Ripper, as he reportedly developed a rather grim sense of gallows humor while he was on the job. In 1971, at the age of 25, he got a job on the packaging line for Baird Television and was later promoted to a traveling salesman position.

This appeared to have given him a taste for travel, given that soon after leaving his job at Baird Television he took up a job as a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) truck driver, a job he stuck to until his arrest in 1981. However, he had a bit of a hiccup in 1976, where he was dismissed from Britannia Works of Anderton after he was caught stealing tires, after which he found a new truck driving job at T& WH Clark (Holdings) Ltd.

As for his personal life, he married his romantic partner of seven years in 1974 — Sonia Szurma — his only regular girlfriend. According to reports that were released during week one of the trial, it was not the smoothest of marriages. Sonia suffered several miscarriages during their marriage and at one point she cheated on him with an ice cream van driver. She worked as a supply teacher and one night a week would also work as an auxillary nurse. Sutcliffe claimed that most of his murders were done on nights that she was working.

'The Ripper' will be available to stream on Netflix on December 15.

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