Hum­ble case me­men­tos up for sale


Sunderland Echo - - News - By Kevin Clark Twit­ter: @kevinclarkjp

A unique re­minder of one of Sun­der­land’s most no­to­ri­ous crimes will be up for sale next week.

West York­shire Po­lice De­tec­tive Sergeant Stu­art Smith was one of the lead­ing of­fi­cers in the search, ar­rest and con­vic­tion of John Hum­ble – the York­shire Rip­per hoaxer dubbed ‘Wear­side Jack’.

Sgt Smith not only ar­rested Hum­ble at his Ford Es­tate home, but also over­saw the in­ter­views that led to his con­fes­sion, for which he re­ceived a com­men­da­tion.

Now his po­lice medal trio, in­clud­ing his Po­lice Long Ser­vice and Good Con­duct medals, Queen’s Golden Ju­bilee medal and Queen’s Di­a­mond Ju­bilee medal 2012, are up for auc­tion, along with news­pa­per cut­tings, a sum­mary of his com­men­da­tions, fac­sim­ile pa­per­work, Crime­watch DVD, let­ter of thanks and a signed copy of Wicked Be­yond Be­lief, the full story of Hum­ble’s iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, ar­rest and con­vic­tion.

Lot 738 will be on of­fer at Sh­effield Auc­tion Gallery on Fri­day, Septem­ber 22.

John Hum­ble was just 22 when he be­gan writ­ing the let­ters to po­lice which would cat­a­stroph­i­cally de­rail the hunt for the York­shire Rip­per.

He sent po­lice three let­ters and an au­dio tape, a hoax which saw de­tec­tives shift the fo­cus of their man­hunt from York­shire to Sun­der­land.

The tape in par­tic­u­lar, which di­rectly taunted the head of the Rip­per team West York­shire As­sis­tant Chief Con­sta­ble Ge­orge Old­field, con­vinced of­fi­cers to fo­cus their at­ten­tions on Wear­side, and hun­dreds of men were in­ter­viewed in an ef­fort to find the man claim­ing ‘I am Jack.’

Re­al­is­ing the enor­mity of what he had done and wracked with guilt, Hum­ble tried to kill him­self by jump­ing from Wear­mouth Bridge.

He was pulled out of the river by po­lice, and would carry the se­cret of what he had done with him for an­other 27 years. York­shire Rip­per Peter Sut­cliffe was fi­nally ar­rested in 1981. He had killed three more women while po­lice fo­cused their at­ten­tions on Sun­der­land.

It would be a quar­ter of a cen­tury be­fore jus­tice fi­nally caught up with John Hum­ble. A cold-case re­view or­dered by West York­shire de­tec­tives turned up a frag­ment of the orig­i­nal en­ve­lope from the let­ter he had posted to the Daily Mirror in March 1978.

De­tec­tives were able to ob­tain a sam­ple of ‘Jack’s’ saliva and build up a DNA pro­file.

It was then the in­ves­ti­gat­ing team struck lucky – John Hum­ble’s DNA had been placed on the po­lice data­base in 2001, af­ter his ar­rest over an as­sault.

Hum­ble fi­nally ap­peared at Leeds Crown Court in March 2006, when he ad­mit­ted per­vert­ing the course of jus­tice and was jailed for eight years.

The items on sale from the ‘Wear­side Jack’ in­ves­ti­ga­tion and, left, John Hum­ble.

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