End of the Road for Wearside Jack

“End of the Road for Wearside Jack” – Police Medals Up for Auction in Sheffield

On 22nd September Sheffield Auction Gallery will offer for auction a piece of recent police history. It is 36 years since Peter Sutcliffe, known as “The Yorkshire Ripper” was apprehended in Sheffield following a spate of 13 vicious killings dating from 1975 to 1980.

The Search for Sutcliffe was lead by Assistant Chief Constable George Oldfield whose investigation became side tracked by a series of letters and a tape from hoaxer “Wearside Jack” as he was nicknamed, who claimed to be the ‘Ripper’.

Although Sutcliffe was apprehended in January 1981 in Broomhill, Sheffield the search for ‘Wearside Jack’ did not finally come to an end until 2005, when a DNA match for saliva from an original envelope came to light, for a John Humble in Sunderland.

One of the leading officers in the search, arrest and conviction of John Humble was Detective Sergeant Stuart Smith of West Yorkshire Police. Sgt Smith not only arrested John Humble at his home in Sunderland, but also led the interviews that led to his confession, a point for which he received a commendation. The full story of John Humbles identification, arrest and conviction can be found in the book – ‘Wicked Beyond Belief’ by Michael Bilton.

Sgt Smiths police medal trio including his Police Long Service and Good Conduct medals, Queen’s Golden Jubilee medal and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal 2012, together with newspaper cuttings, summary of Sergeant Smith’s Commendations, facsimile paperwork, Crimewatch DVD, letter of thanks and a signed copy of “Wicked Beyond Belief” are to be auctioned at Sheffield Auction Gallery  on 22nd September as Lot 738.


After considerable pre-auction interest the battle ended this afternoon in Sheffield when an internet and telephone bidder went head to head over Sgt Smith’s medals and ephemera, resulting in a hammer price of £400 (plus 21.6% BP).

Auctioneer John Morgan commented “this result goes to show how important the human story is behind the collectable medal market and we are delighted with the outcome of the auction.”

For further information contact the saleroom office on 0114 281 6161 or email enquire@sheffieldauctiongallery.com