Peter Sutcliffe, confessed killer of 13 women in the Yorkshire Ripper case, is a "classic schizophrenic," unable to distinguish reality from illusion and driven by delusions of grandeur to kill, a defense-appointed psychiatrist testified.
Dr. Hugo Milne said his interviews with the 34-year-old truck driver convinced him that Sutcliffe was not feigning insanity, as prosecutors have claimed.
While admitting to the 13 slayings -- eight of which involved prostitutes -- Sutcliffe has pleaded guilty only to manslaughter by reason of "diminished responsibility."
Prosecutors have noted that five of the victims involved women who were not prostitutes. Milne said Sutcliffe's progressive illness eventually made it difficult for him to distinguish between actual prostitutes and women "the voice told him were prostitutes."
Milne described Sutcliffe's 1967 grave digging experience as "a primary schizophrenic experience" and "the most crucial symptom in the diagnosis of schizophrenia."
Milne said that the several weeks of delay between the time Sutcliffe was arrested and the time he began talking about his "mission from God" was "wholly consistent" with the symptoms of "paranoid schizophrenia." The psychiatrist said, "Eventually, when he trusted someone, he would let it out." p
Milne said Sutcliffe's own efforts to avoid arrest, such as carefully washing his clothes of blood, also were consistent with his mental disease. "A paranoid schizophrenic can behave in the most cunning, evasive and controlled way to avoid detection," the psychiatrist said.