Will the Yorkshire Ripper's ex-wife pay for his funeral?

Will the Yorkshire Ripper’s ex-wife pay for his funeral? Sonia Woodward has funds that could spare taxpayers cost

  • Peter Sutcliffe’s ex-wife could spare taxpayers cost of the serial killer’s funeral
  • Sonia Woodward, 70, divorced from Yorkshire Ripper in 1994 but remained close
  • Pair still listed as jointly owning marital home in Bradford estimated at £274,000

The loyalty of Peter Sutcliffe’s ex-wife could spare taxpayers the cost of paying for the serial killer’s funeral.

Sonia Woodward, 70, remained close to the Yorkshire Ripper and they are still listed as jointly owning the marital home in Bradford – estimated to be worth £274,000. 

The only sibling Sutcliffe remained in touch with was brother Michael, who said last week that he couldn’t afford to pay for a funeral. 

Sonia Woodward, 70, remained close to the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, who died in hospital, aged 74 (pictured together in late 1980) 

Under a Prison Service directive, if there is no family plan to cover the costs then prisons must offer to pay a ‘reasonable’ contribution. 

But Mrs Woodward, who described herself as Sutcliffe’s ‘interested other’ until as late as 2015, has the funds to fulfil his last wishes if she wants to. They divorced in 1994.

Andrew Bridgen, Tory MP for North-West Leicestershire, said this weekend: ‘If the state has to pay for his funeral, then it must try to recuperate that cost from Sutcliffe’s estate plus any administrative expenses.

‘The funeral costs will hurt, but they are nothing compared to how much it has cost the state incarcerating him for 40 years.’

Sutcliffe was declared bankrupt in 1984 and Sonia was reported to have bought his half share in the house amid a legal dispute to avoid the house being sold under a court order.

Mrs Woodward (pictured in 2015), who described herself as Sutcliffe’s ‘interested other’ until as late as 2015, has the funds to fulfil his last wishes if she wants to. They divorced in 1994

Shortly before Sutcliffe died in hospital, aged 74, his brother Carl, 61, told the Mail he had ‘washed his hands’ of his sibling and would not attend any ceremony.

He claimed Sonia was his legal next of kin, but brother Michael, 70, commented: ‘It has nowt to do with her (Sonia). She isn’t his wife any more is she.’

Michael, who said he had barely spoken to Sonia since Sutcliffe’s arrest, was the only one of the killer’s five siblings to remain in regular contact with him, speaking weekly by phone.

They are still listed as jointly owning the marital home in Bradford (pictured) – estimated to be worth £274,000

Speaking just hours before Sutcliffe’s death, he described the fearsome serial killer as a pathetic and broken man.

‘He’s almost totally blind from type-2 diabetes and being stabbed in the eye (by another inmate),’ said he said.

‘He has to be led around the prison by the hand, and have all his letters read to him. He’s so ill that has to wear a colostomy bag.’

In 2019, the ashes of Angus Sinclair, one of Scotland’s most notorious murderers, were scattered at sea after a local authority took charge when no arrangements were made for his burial.

In 2019, the ashes of Angus Sinclair (pictured), one of Scotland’s most notorious murderers, were scattered at sea after a local authority took charge when no arrangements were made for his burial

A senior judge became embroiled in a row over the disposal of Ian Brady’s remains in 2017, ruling that there should be no music and no funeral.

The Moors Murderer had wanted Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique played, which depicts a killer haunted by his victim in the afterlife.

Sir Geoffrey Vos, then chancellor of the High Court, said it would have caused legitimate offence to victims’ families.

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