Yorkshire Ripper Investigation

Irene Richardson - Yorkshire Ripper Victim

Irene Osborne was born into a large working-class Glaswegian family – she had six sisters and three brothers. The family moved around with Irene having spells in London and Blackpool, before being in Leeds in 1977. 

Irene also had two children who entered the care system and were eventually fostered.

After arriving in Blackpool in 1970 Irene met and married George Richardson. Irene worked for Pontins, George was a carpenter. In 1975 Irene left home for London - without telling her husband. George Richardson found Irene in London, where they tried to patch up their marriage.

After a few months, Irene disappeared again. George didn't try to find her this time.

In 1975 Irene Richardson was homeless in Chapeltown, Leeds. 

In the short time before her attack, 28-year-old Irene was staying in a bed and breakfast on Cowper Street in the heart of Leeds’ red-light district. On the night of Saturday, 5th February, 1977, Irene left the bed and breakfast at 11.15pm to search for business. 

The Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, was trawling the streets of Leeds in his white Ford Corsair. Irene Richardson got into his car not far away from the Gaiety Public House. Sutcliffe drove to Soldiers’ Field in Roundhay Park – the same place where he viciously attacked Marcella Claxton.

Irene Richardson got out of the car and went to urinate before having sex. As she did so Sutcliffe attacked her with a hammer. He then proceeded to rip open her blouse and stab her in the abdomen and neck. Irene's throat was so savagely attacked that her larynx was exposed.

After masturbating and positioning Irene's body Sutcliffe made his escape.

At 7.30 on the morning of Sunday, 6th February, a jogger found Irene Richardson’s mutilated body.

Detective Chief Superintendent Hobson, who had replaced Chief Superintendent Hoban in the Eastern Crime Area, investigated the crime and established the incident room at Millgarth Police Station, Leeds.

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