I was not surprised to hear that Richard McCann, the son of one of the Yorkshire Ripper's victims, is calling for an enquiry due to his fears that his mother was not murdered by Peter Sutcliffe, but by a copy cat "Ripper". Read the BBC take on this news here
Such theories and views have knocked around for some time, although to my knowledge they have not previously been expressed by someone with such a direct link to the case. One of the most vocal advocates of the "Copycat Ripper" theory has been Irishman Noel O'Gara, who in his book "The Real Yorkshire Ripper" actually presents a reasonable case that Peter Sutcliffe was not the sole Ripper. This centres on the some of the witness evidence from certain Ripper attacks (which appear to describe people either considerably older than Sutcliffe, people shorter and most specifically an Irishman) and the mixed reports of the blood group of the attacker.
The bizarre behaviour of the West Yorkshire Police during the investigation has also fuelled conspiracy theories - repeated opportunities to arrest Sutcliffe were missed, despite frequent visits to his house and workplace. Contemporary briefings from the Ripper investigation team to crime correspondents also made clear the police view that there was not one Ripper, but two. The dubious records of two senior officers on the case hardly helped - lead investigator George Oldfield helped frame Judith Ward for the M62 coach bombings, whilst Det Chief Supt Dick Holland sadly escaped jail for the despicable crime of framing Rochdale man Stefan Kisko for the 1975 murder of Lesley Molseed.
What Noel O'Gara does not do in his book is come anywhere close to proving his suspect for many of the Ripper murders, Irishman Billy Tracey, was guilty of the majority of the attacks. Indeed he is considerably hampered by the fact that Tracey is reported to be a non-driver, and was living and working in the Republic of Ireland at the time of most of the attacks. You can begin to make up your own mind by looking at Noel O'Gara's website here and of course by reading his book.
I suspect more is to come on this story.