Ripper Hoaxer Loses Sentence Appeal

The “Wearside Jack” hoaxer, who fooled police investigating the Yorkshire Ripper into diverting their inquiry to north east England, has lost an appeal against his eight-year jail sentence.

John Humble, who sent three taunting letters to police and a tape claiming “I’m Jack” at the height of the massive manhunt in the late 1970s, had his challenge to his “manifestly excessive” sentence rejected by the Court of Appeal.

He was not present for the ruling by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, sitting with two other judges.

Humble, an unemployed labourer and heavy drinker, was arrested last year for a minor offence and a routine DNA sample came up as a match against saliva he left on the envelope.

The 50-year-old, from Flodden Road, Ford Estate, Sunderland, was charged with perverting the course of justice.

He was jailed for eight years at Leeds Crown Court in March after the court heard how the investigation was thrown off course by Humble’s Sunderland accent.

Giving the ruling of the court, Mr Justice Calvert-Smith said that although the sentence was severe it could not be said to be “wrong in principle or clearly excessive”.

Humble developed a fascination with the original 1888 Ripper case and borrowed a book on it from the library in Sunderland where he lived.

His counsel David Taylor that Humble, who had been an alcoholic for 27 years and had tried to commit suicide, had difficulty explaining why he had written the letters.

He told the court: “He has been a model prisoner since he has been in custody. Ironically the fact that he has been in custody probably saved his life.”