Directed by Jesse Vile and Ellena Wood, Netflix’s ‘The Ripper’ is a four-part miniseries that takes a deep dive into the long list of vile and gruesome murders committed by Peter William Sutcliffe, also known by the moniker of the Yorkshire Ripper. The serial killer took the lives of 13 women and attacked at least seven more in Northern England between 1975 and 1980 because, he claimed, that it was a mission given to him by the voice of God himself. But all that while, his wife, Sonia Sutcliffe (née Oksana Szurma), had had no idea what her husband was doing.
Who Is Peter Sutcliffe’s Wife?
Born on August 10, 1950, Sonia Sutcliffe, the only long-term girlfriend of Peter Sutcliffe, tied the knot with him on her 24th birthday, on August 10, 1974. This event transpired more than a year before Peter made his first kill. The relationship between Sonia and Peter has since been deemed domineering by author Gordon Burn, who implied that Sonia had the top hand and was able to slap her husband down “like a naughty schoolboy.” In 1976, though, when the couple had adjusted to their married life, Sonia was diagnosed with schizophrenia. She began the treatment for it soon after and was stable most of the time.
According to many reports, while Peter Sutcliffe was acting as a lorry driver and committing murders all through Northern England, his unsuspecting wife was working as a school teacher. By the time he was arrested in January 1981, Peter had attacked at least 20 women. He used a hammer, a sharpened screwdriver, and a knife in his attempts to try and mutilate them as well. Then, when Sonia went down to the police station to visit him, he told her the entire truth: “It’s me, love. I’m the Yorkshire Ripper. I killed all those women.” Nonetheless, even after Peter was convicted and sentenced to 20 life terms, Sonia remained married to him and continued living in their home in Bradford.
Where Is Peter Sutcliffe’s Wife Now?
Barbara Jones, a journalist who spent quite a lot of time with Sonia Sutcliffe during the aftermath of it all, interviewing her, described the woman to be “the most irritating, strangest and coldest person I’ve ever met. She’s so incredibly prickly and demanding.” Back then, Sonia’s defense for her husband and his actions was the state of his mental well-being, and she agreed with the phycologists when they diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia. In fact, when she was once asked why she still stuck around, her response was, “I feel compassion for him.”
The couple eventually separated in 1989, and Sonia officially divorced Peter in 1994. But even then, her sister’s remark, “He’s the only man in the world for her and always will be,” remained true. Sonia kept visiting her ex-husband until the mid-2010s, until the day he was moved from Broadmoor Hospital to the HM Prison Frankland jail in Durham. But even today, at the age of 70, she resides in the same house she once shared with her serial killer ex-husband. However, having remarried in 1997, Sonia now has Michael Woodward, 60, a hairdresser, as her life partner. According to The Sun, Sonia Sutcliffe was one of the first to learn about Peter Sutcliffe’s death when he passed away on November 13, 2020.
Read More: How Did Peter Sutcliffe Die?