Rachel Maguire
Rachel Maguire
Author
3 min of reading
  • Peter Sutcliffe died at the age of 74 this week after reportedly refusing treatment for coronavirus.
  • Only exception where a contribution does not need to be offered is if the family has a pre-paid funeral plan.
  • The manhunt for the Yorkshire Ripper was one of the biggest the country had ever known.

Yorkshire (SK) — Peter Sutcliffe died at the age of 74 this week after reportedly refusing treatment for coronavirus. Taxpayers may have to pay for the funeral of the serial killer known as the Yorkshire Ripper unless his family makes other arrangements. The directions, issued by the Ministry of Justice, state that the only exception where a contribution does not need to be offered is if the family has a pre-paid funeral plan, or if they are entitled to request a grant from a different government department.

The manhunt for the Yorshire Ripper was one of the biggest the country had ever known, with about 2.5 million hours spent trying to catch him. He had been serving a whole life term at the most extreme Frankland prison for the murders of 13 women and seven more attempted murder.

His funeral expenses may now have to be covered by the Prison Service after his death, the officials said on Friday. Prisons “must offer” to pay a contribution towards “reasonable” funeral expenses for inmates who die in custody, according to Prison Service Instruction. Reasonable expenses include the cost of coffins, funerals and cremation, mournings and funeral costs. In 2015, the Prison Service spent £2,686 on the funeral of notorious child-chiller Raymond Morris, who died behind bars.

Sutcliffe, whose killing spree across Yorkshire and Manchester from 1975 to 1980 terrified northern England, died at the University Hospital of North Durham.

He was born in Bingley, West Yorkshire in 1946. He left school aged 15 and worked in low paying jobs before becoming a grave digger. He began his murder spree in 1975 and avoided detection for years because police failed to catch him. He eventually confessed in 1981 when he was caught in Sheffield.

The funeral details were announced following a Freedom of Information Act request by the Birmingham-based Sunday Mercury.

The Prison Service is not the only body that can pay for a funeral. Because of this councils in the UK are also required to cover costs when someone dies and there is no traceable family or anyone who is willing to pay for a funeral.

The average cost of these so-called pauper's funerals - or public health funerals - to councils was £1,507 in 2018/19, according to findings by life insurance company Royal London.

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