Home' Greymouth Star : January 9th 2017 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Monday, January 9, 2017
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uLetters to the editor
1324 - Death of Italian explorer
1806 - Lord Nelson, who was mortally
wounded in the Battle of Trafalgar in October
1805, is buried at St Paul’s Cathedral in
1868 - The Hougoumont, the last
convict ship to come to Australia, arrives
at Fremantle. On board are 279
convicts and 108 passengers.
1902 - Legislation is introduced
in New York to outlaw flirting in
1916 - The evacuation of the
last 17,000 British troops from
Cape Helles brings the Gallipoli
campaign to an end.
1972 - Fire destroys the liner Queen
Elizabeth in waters off Hong Kong.
1977 - Palestinian nationalist suspected of
having planned attacks on Israeli athletes at
1972 Olympic games in Munich is arrested
in Paris by French intelligence agents who
identify him as Abou Daoud.
2007 - Italian film producer Carlo Ponti,
husband of actress Sophia Loren, dies aged
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Thomas Warton, English poet laureate
(1728-1790); Dame Gracie Fields, English
entertainer (1898-1979); Richard Nixon, US
president (1913-1994); Joan Baez, US folk
singer (1941-); Robert Drewe,
Australian author (1943-); Jimmy
Page, British rock musician
(1944-); Crystal Gayle, US singer
(1951-); Morris Gleitzman,
Australian children’s author
(1953-); Joely Richardson, British
actress (1965-); Dave Matthews,
US musician (1967-); Catherine, Duchess of
“Those who give have all things. They who
withhold have nothing.” — (Hindu proverb).
“ But those who hope in the Lord will renew
their strength. They will soar on wings like
eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they
will walk and not be faint.” — (Isaiah 40:31).
problem is being
town has enjoyed a sharp rise in the influx of
holidaymakers this new year and local hotels
and boarding houses have had a busy time
catering for temporary guests.
Many visitors have availed themselves of
West Coast PRO Mr Pat Nailer’s 24-hour
ser vice and he reports he had had “no problem
whatsoever” in placing people seeking a night’s
“ I have a list of people who are prepared
to take people when difficulty is found
accommodating them at hotels, motorcamps
and boarding houses, and they have been grand
in their response,” said Mr Nailer today.
Once again it was 14-year-old Paroa
youngster Brian Fauth who contributed
the most spectacular performances to the
Greymouth Athletic Club’s meeting at the
Recreation Ground on Saturday. Wearing
spikes for the first time in his life Fauth raced
to a new club and West Coast under-15 100
yards record of 11sec, shattered the furlong
record with a remarkable 24.8sec and finished
only a few inches from his shot put record.
Turning on a terrific exhibition of power
racing Spry, the smallest horse in the race,
made the opposition look very ordinary when,
after starting from 48 yards behind, he took
out the 13-furlong journey in track record time
to win the Members’ Handicap, second leg of
the Greymouth Trotting Club’s double by eight
lengths at Victoria Park Raceway on Saturday.
It was a real crowd-pleasing effort despite
the fact the red-hot favourite Tigliamento had
done no better than fourth.
uFood for thought
Printed and published by the
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03 755 8422
e was one of the world’s
most bloodthirsty serial
killers who had viciously
bludgeoned to death
scores of women.
In a killing spree across
northern England he slaughtered 13
victims, with some suggesting he may have
murdered more; up to 25 people.
But despite being right under the noses
of police, he evaded arrest for six years.
When police finally caught up with him
it was nothing to do with his heinous
crimes, but because of suspicion over his
car’s number plates.
Thirty-six years ago this week, Peter
Sutcliffe was arrested in the Yorkshire city
of Sheffield. With him was a women who,
in all likelihood, would have been his 14th
victim if police had not finally caught up
But even as he was taken into custody, he
was still leading police astray.
And officers would get a shock — a
sickening revelation that would go
unreported for three decades — when
they finally realised he could well by the
notorious Yorkshire Ripper.
“As with other notorious cases when
the subject of the Yorkshire Ripper is
mentioned it brings dreadful memories
flooding back for those most intimately
involved,” wrote Michael Bilton in his
2003 book on the crimes, Wicked Beyond
“The family of Sutcliffe’s victims
deser ved to know what really happened
during that awful period when a beast
called Peter Sutcliffe roamed the north of
England creating outright terror. ”
Bilton goes on to say Sutcliffe was a
“monstrous and disturbed individual” who
was “a sick and per verted killer who got
powerful sexual thrills from having women
at his mercy as he slaughtered them”.
Sutcliffe’s blood lust lasted from 1975 to
1981 and was particularly focused on sex
workers, women who were easily forgotten
by society and the police. Although, any
women who crossed his path was at risk.
Born in Bingley, a Yorkshire market town
close to the major cities of Bradford and
Leeds, Sutcliffe — who worked at times
as both a truck driver and grave digger
— commonly used the services of sex
But in 1969, this relationship took a
violent turn when he attacked a woman he
wrongly suspected of being a sex worker
who had swindled him out of cash.
He stuffed a stone into a sock and
then hiding out of sight pounced on the
“I was out of my mind with the
obsession of finding this prostitute,” he
is reported to have said in a statement to
police. “ I got out of the car, went across the
road and hit her. The force of the impact
tore the toe off the sock”.
The woman, and several others in the
following years, sur vived similar attacks.
Wilma McCann was not so lucky and
in October 1975 became Sutcliffe’s first
The 28-year-old mum of four was
heading home from a night out when,
by chance, Sutcliffe drove past her in the
After giving her a lift, he hit her over the
head several times with a hammer while in
a park near her home.
As she lay on the ground, her arms still
twitching, he fetched a knife from his car
and stabbed her repeatedly. Her dead body,
with her blouse pulled up exposing her
breasts, was discovered later that morning
by a passing milkman.
Over the next six years, Sutcliffe would
butcher another 12 women. Some with
hammers, others through strangulation.
On some occasion traces of Sutcliffe’s
semen were discovered at the scene.
As police began to suspect a truck
driver could be the culprit, Sutcliffe came
into the investigation’s radar. He was
inter viewed no less than nine times, but in
a bungled investigation over whelmed with
multiple leads, neither Sutcliffe’s vehicle
nor his house were searched.
Amid mounting panic as to which
women would be the Ripper’s next victim,
at one point then British prime minister
Margaret Thatcher reportedly said she
would head to Leeds and take charge of
the investigation herself if a breakthrough
was not found.
On the evening of Friday, January 2,
1981, years after his murderous career
in killing began, Sutcliffe was driving
through the South Yorkshire city of
Sheffield. In his car was prostitute Olivia
Police stopped Sutcliffe as the pair
left the car. But it was not because they
suspected him of being the Ripper, rather
they thought the car might have been
Sutcliffe calmly said he was “ bursting
for a pee” and was allowed to step away
from the questioning officers. While he
was relieving himself, police discovered
the car’s number plate was stolen and took
him in for questioning.
It was only when officers realised he
matched the description of the Yorkshire
Ripper that they began questioning him
about that case.
The next day, police returned to the spot
where the car had been pulled over. Where
Sutcliffe had gone to the loo they found a
discarded knife, hammer and rope. Back
at the police station, a knife was found in
a cistern of the toilet Sutcliffe had used
when he came in for questioning.
A shocked Reivers was later to say, “If
those cops hadn’t arrived, I feel I’d be
By now a prime suspect for the 13
killings, police made Sutcliffe strip.
What they found beneath his outside
clothing shocked them. It amounted to a
The Yorkshireman was wearing an
inverted V-neck sweater but the sleeves
had been pulled up over his legs with the
V-neck exposing his crotch and genitalia.
The elbows were padded, it seemed so
he could kneel over his victim’s bodies and
conduct one final sexual act.
This bizarre clothing was kept secret and
only revealed in 2003 in Mr Bilton’s book.
Two days later, Sutcliffe said he
was indeed the Yorkshire Ripper and
described, in detail, all 13 murders.
Mr Bilton claims Sutcliffe could have
killed as many as a dozen more people,
including two men, both of whom were
attacked with a hammer — a trademark
At this trial, in May 1981, he said that he
could not be found guilty of murder, only
manslaughter, as he was merely a tool of
God’s will and a voice told him to commit
His defence did not wash and he was
sentenced to 20 concurrent life sentences.
Initially, there were questions regarding
his mental health and he was kept at
Britain’s famous Broadmoor high security
hospital west of London, but Sutcliffe
was eventually judged sane and moved to
The Yorkshire Ripper is now in his 70s.
A man who might never have been caught
but for a stroke of luck from two police
officers on a chilly winter’s night, now
languishes behind bars unlikely ever to be
released. — New Zealand Herald
PICTURES: Getty Images
Some of the young women murdered by Peter Sutcliffe, known as the Yorkshire Ripper. Top left to right; Vera Millward, Jayne
MacDonald and Josephine Whittaker. Bottom left to right; Jean Royle, Helga Rytka and Barbara Leach.
Bizarre arrest of Ripper
Peter Sutcliffe at the time of his arrest.
So far the end-game in
Syria has played out in an
entirely predictable way. All
of Aleppo is back in the
Syrian government ’s hands,
that decisive victory for
President Bashar al-Assad
and his Russian backers has
been followed by a ceasefire,
and the Russians are now
organising a peace conference in Astana,
Kazakhstan for later this month.
The one surprise is that Turkey, long the
rebels’ most important supporter, will be
co-chairing the conference. This means
that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip
Erdogan has made a deal of some sort
with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin,
for Astana is clearly going to be a Russian
show. (The United States has not been
invited, and Saudi Arabia probably won’t
be asked to attend either).
So what kind of deal has Erdogan made
with Putin? The details may well have been
fudged, for Turkey has not yet renounced
its long-standing insistence that Assad
must step down as the Syrian leader. But
it is pretty easy to figure out most of what
is going to be on the table in Astana
(assuming the ceasefire holds until then).
Assad has won the war, thanks largely
to Russian and Iranian inter vention, and
the Syrian rebels are doomed. There is no
point in their fighting on, because all their
outside supporters are peeling away. Turkey
is now co-operating with Russia, next
week Donald Trump will be US president
and also co-operating with Moscow, and
Saudi Arabia is hopelessly over-committed
to its futile war in Yemen.
Even little Qatar, once one of the main
paymasters of the Syrian rebellion, has
now lost interest: it recently signed an
$11.5 billion deal for a 19.5% stake in
Rosneft, Russia’s largest oil producer. The
rebels are completely on their own, and
their only options are surrender or dying in
the last ditch.
Syria’s rebels are almost all Islamists of
one sort or another by now, but the less
extreme ones will probably be offered an
amnesty at Astana in return for signing
a peace deal — which may contain some
vague language about an election that
might replace Assad at some point in
the indefinite future. That ’s as much as
will be on offer, because Assad does not
intend to quit and Moscow will not force
The extreme Islamists — Islamic State,
which controls much of eastern Syria and
western Iraq, and the former Nusra Front,
which controls much of north-western
Syria — have not been invited to Astana,
nor would they accept an invitation if it
The ex-Nusra Front (now renamed the
Front for the Conquest of the Levant
to disguise its membership in al-Qaeda)
was refreshingly frank in condemning
the ceasefire and the peace talks: “ We did
not negotiate a ceasefire with anyone. The
solution is to topple the regime through
military action,” it said. A political solution
would be “a waste of blood and revolution. ”
But a military victory over Assad is
no longer possible, so these groups are
destined to lose on the battlefield and
revert to mere terrorism. In terms of
what a post-civil war Syria will look like,
the great unanswered question is: what
happens to the Syrian Kurds?
They are only one-tenth of the Syrian
population, but they now control almost
all the Kurdish-majority areas across
northern Syria. As America’s only ally
on the ground in Syria, they have played
a major role in driving back Islamic
State. They are not Islamists, they are
not terrorists, and they have avoided any
military confrontation with Turkey despite
President Erdogan’s war on his country’s
own Kurdish minority.
Yet Erdogan publicly identifies the
Syrian Kurds as Turkey’s enemy, and they
have not (or at least not yet) been invited
to the Astana peace conference. Was
Erdogan’s price for switching sides a free
hand in destroying Rojava, the proto-
state created by the Syrian Kurds? Very
Assad would be content for that to
happen, provided Turkey handed over the
corpse after wards. Putin does not care one
way or the other, and it is most unlikely
that Trump does either. The Turkish army
will have its hands full fighting the Syrian
Kurds, but it has the numbers and the
firepower to prevail in the end.
So even if the current ceasefire holds,
and even if the peace conference at Astana
goes exactly according to Moscow ’s plan,
there is still some fighting to be done in
Syria. Assad’s army, with Russian and
Iranian support, will have to suppress both
Islamic State and the former Nusra Front,
and the Turks will have to subjugate the
This will take time, but with no more
weapons and money flowing in from
outside (since Turkey has turned off the
taps) it will probably happen in the end.
Which means that Assad will probably
one day rule once again over a united
That is a deeply discouraging prospect,
but it is probably the least bad option that
Gwynne Dyer is an independent
journalist whose articles are published in
The reunification of Syria
WORLD IN FOCUS
with Gwynne Dyer
Russian President Vladimir Putin announces a ceasefire in Syria.
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