TV & Movies

ITV's Chilling New Crime Documentary Links The Yorkshire Ripper To An Unsolved Murder

The killing of schoolgirl Judith Roberts has remained a mystery for 50 years.

Police searching the ground behind the home of Peter Sutcliffe in Bradford following his arrest in 1...
Mirrorpix/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

ITV’s latest true crime offering Yorkshire Ripper: The Secret Murders delves into the harrowing crimes of prolific serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, commonly referred to as the Yorkshire Ripper. As well as examining the police investigation into the murders, the documentary explores the many missed opportunities to charge Sutcliffe for some of his earlier, and lesser known crimes.

The true crime doc’s first episode looks into the tragic murder of Judith Roberts in 1972. But, who was Judith Roberts and what happened to her?

As per The Sun, Judith Roberts was a school girl who lived on the outskirts of Tamworth, Staffordshire. After leaving her home in the village of Wigginton for a bike ride in 1972, she never made it back. The 14 year-old’s disappearance sparked a major search operation that included roughly 200 detectives — who gathered more than 15,000 fingerprints and took around 11,000 statements.

Sadly, on Jun. 7, 1972, Roberts’ body was discovered close to her family home. Police determined that she had been beaten to death with a blunt object. However, to this day, the murder of Judith Roberts remains unsolved.

Bettmann/Bettmann/Getty Images

As The Guardian reports, former soldier Andrew Evans was convicted of Roberts’ murder in 1973. Evans, who was serving at Whittington Barracks close to where the murder took place, became a suspect after visiting a police station in 1972. After speaking to the authorities, police concluded that he was likely Roberts’ killer.

The following year he was sentenced to life in prison. However, in 1994, Evans began campaigning for his release. After serving 25 years in jail, he was acquitted by appeal court judges in 1997 and later awarded a reported £1 million in compensation.

Although Roberts’ murder remains a mystery, evidence and eye witness accounts appear to suggest Sutcliffe, aka the Yorkshire Ripper, might be the man responsible for her death.

According to official archives, a man closely matching Sutcliffe’s description was spotted talking to Roberts prior to her death. The man in question was said to be wearing work clothes and Wellington boots — the exact outfit Sutcliffe confessed to wearing while seeking potential victims. Furthermore, a car that was very similar to Sutcliffe’s own vehicle was also seen close to the scene of the crime, and the way in which Roberts was killed also aligned with the Yorkshire Ripper’s previous murders.

Per BBC, Sutcliffe was eventually convicted and sentenced to a life term for the murder of 13 women between 1975 and 1980 in the Yorkshire region and north-west England.

Yorkshire Ripper: The Secret Murders airs Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 9 p.m. on ITV