Former Press deputy editor FRANCINE CLEE was a teenager in West Yorkshire at the height of the Ripper killings. Here she recalls the fear Sutcliffe's murders cast over Yorkshire women...

TO BE female in Bradford in 1977 was to live in fear.

A photofit monster with a Jason King moustache leered out beside the pitiful faces of his victims as newspapers and TV reports charted each fresh atrocity.

A hoaxer’s voice that sneered: “I’m Jack. I see you are still having no luck catching me” haunted me as it haunted detectives who, misled by its Wearside accent, had for years failed to catch the Yorkshire Ripper.

In Bradford and Leeds, in Huddersfield and Halifax, victims were butchered with apparent impunity until every woman thought twice about stepping outside the house.

Every night out meant elaborate planning to ensure we were never alone; every taxi driver was an object of suspicion. For me as a 16-year-old walking home from school, every man whose footsteps rang out behind me could be about to take my life.

When I enrolled at Leeds University, police played the Ripper tapes to all the freshers.

Listening to that chilling voice with me was, probably, a girl called Jacqueline Hill. I never knew her but must have seen her face many times around the campus.

I was reading English, she languages until, one night in November 1980, she became the Yorkshire Ripper’s next victim.

When news broke that the Ripper had struck again, the Leeds city phone lines jammed.

Panicking parents tried to contact their daughters, and daughters tried to ring home. It took me several hours to tell my parents I was safe.

In the streets leading down to the train station, suitcase-carrying women headed home to reassure their families that they really were still alive. In my house, we did not go home – but all four of us slept in the same room, wardrobes and chairs piled up against the door.

As it turned out, mercifully, Jacqueline would be the last to die.

In 1981, two Sheffield policemen checked some bushes where a kerb-crawler they had arrested had asked to relieve himself. They found a hammer and a sharpened screwdriver.

The law had at last caught up with Peter Sutcliffe, and the women of Yorkshire could live without fear again.