Netflix’s latest true-crime documentary series, ‘The Ripper’ chronicles the life and actions of Peter Sutcliffe, a serial killer, who became known as the Yorkshire Ripper for terrorizing the streets of Northern England from 1975 to 1980. He killed a total of 13 women and attacked at least seven more. This four-part miniseries examines the deep-rooted misogyny in England and the twists and turns that occurred during the largest police manhunt in British history at a time when no woman was safe, and every man was a suspect. And guiding us through it all is none other than Mo Lea, one of Peter’s victims herself.
Who Is Mo Lea?
Mo Lea or Maureen Lea was pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and Printmaking at Leeds Polytechnic (now Leeds Metropolitan University) back in 1980. On October 25, she was out and about with her friends at a pub in Chapeltown, Leeds, planning for her upcoming 21st birthday party. And just shortly after 10 p.m., she parted ways with them, saying that she’d walk through the university campus to catch the bus to her apartment. However, after Mo took a short-cut down a dimly lit street, she heard a voice calling out to her asking if she was alright. At first, Mo thought it was a friend, but when she didn’t recognize his face, she kept on walking.
Mo realized that she was in deep trouble when she heard the man’s footsteps following her. She walked quicker, and he followed. And when she eventually ran, he did too, keeping pace with her, almost making sure that she could hear him come after. Then, all Mo remembers is feeling a massive blow to the top of her head and falling, hitting the pavement and completely blacking out. When Mo woke up in the hospital, she was told that her injuries were similar to what the Yorkshire Ripper inflicted. Her assailant, though, who was attacking her with a screwdriver, had fled after being disturbed by a couple who’d heard Mo scream. That’s how she survived.
Where Is Mo Lea Now?
Mo suffered from two black eyes, a fractured skull, fractured cheekbone, broken jaw, puncture wound to the back of her head, and many other smaller cuts and bruises. According to reports, the Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, had used a hammer to bash her head in and a sharpened screwdriver to try and sever her spinal cord. After nearly two months of recovery time, Mo Lea went back to university and secured a 2:1 degree. She had decided that she wouldn’t let her attack or her possible affiliation with a serial killer hold her back from her day to day life, and that’s exactly what she did. Yes, Mo took the help of a five-step program and schema reconditioning therapy, but she eventually moved on.
Today, at the age of 61, Mo resides in Bedford, Bedfordshire, and works as an artist. As a former university lecturer, she had a long and successful teaching career in not only the United Kingdom but in America, Malaysia, and other South Pacific countries as well. And throughout that, she practiced her craft and exhibited her work in London, Los Angeles, and New York. Mo says that she finds the creating process to be calming and that art is a way for her to express her deep-rooted emotions. And this year, exactly forty years after the attack on her, Mo published a book entitled ‘Facing The Yorkshire Ripper: The Art of Survival.’ It outlines her traumas and fears, but it also lets her reclaim her own story.
Read More: How Did Peter Sutcliffe Die?