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Brittain: "Yorkshire Ripper" hoaxer admits perverting the course of justice

The Associated Press

LONDON- A man who sent letters to police claiming to be a notorious serial killer dubbed the "Yorkshire Ripper" pleaded guilty Monday to perverting the course of justice.

John Humble, from Sunderland in northeast England, was charged in October with sending three letters and an audio tape to detectives hunting the killer in the late 1970s.

The claims led police to scour the Sunderland area for the murderer, who preyed on prostitutes during a five-year murder spree in northern England. Police said Humble's actions wasted thousands of hours of police time.

The hoax helped delay the capture of Peter Sutcliffe, a truck driver who was jailed for life in 1981 after admitting he killed 13 women. Investigators initially discounted Sutcliffe as a suspect because his accent and handwriting did not match those in the audio tape and letters, which police believed to be authentic.

Humble, 50, pleaded guilty at Leeds Crown Court to four counts of perverting the course of justice. He was to be sentenced later.

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