Historical piece from 2005 and since when Anthony Steele has died and no one has been caught for the murder of Carol Wilkinson.
Was Peter Sutcliffe responsible for the murder of Carol Wilkinson in Bradford in 1977?Nearly 30 years ago Bradford born Carol Wilkinson was brutally murdered on her way to work. Local man Anthony Steele was convicted of her murder and served nearly 25 years in prison before his conviction was overturned. Up until now no-body has been charged with Carol’s murder. Sensationally though residents on the estate on which Carol lived have now come forward to reveal that they saw Peter Sutcliffe [the so-called ‘Yorkshire Ripper’] on a number of occasions on their housing estate in the period before she was murdered.
In one case a local woman recalls him being in her parents house; a brother and sister chased after him because he was seen to be harassing local young women.
Peter Sutcliffe was to be convicted at the Old Bailey in May 1981 of having murdered 13 women and attempting to murder another seven.
Carol Wilkinson was only 20 years old when she was brutally attacked and left for dead at the back of the bakery where she worked in Bradford on the morning of October 10th 1977. Placed on a life support machine she died three days later after never recovering consciousness.
The murder shocked the tight knit community of the Ravenscliffe estate where she and her family lived. At the time she was engaged to be married and had a bright future in front of her.
Eighteen months later a local man Anthony Steele, aged 22 years, was charged and later found guilty of her murder. The case against him largely depended upon an alleged confession. Although he always maintained his innocence it was not until February 2003 before his conviction was quashed in the Court of Appeal and he was released.
Shortly after his release Anthony received a letter from the Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police Colin Cramphorn offering him “my personal apology”. Sadly however this came after Anthony’s father, who always stood by him had died. “Anthony’s father had campaigned for over 20 years to see that letter,” said a family member.
Kay Lintern, who was 14 at the time of the murder and who lived directly opposite Carol Wilkinson’s family home said, “he came in the summer of 1976, it was a really hot summer. At the time we had a big deep freezer. It broke down and my step-dad wanted it fixed. Peter Sutcliffe came and fixed it”.
When he was later arrested and she saw his picture “I thought ‘oh my god’ that’s the man who was in our house. It sent a shiver down my spine”.
Kay also says that she saw Sutcliffe hanging around the estate. A brother and sister who have lived on Ravenscliffe for over 40 years confirm this. “He was definitely down on Langdale Road,” said the brother “he was hanging around the house where my sister lived with two other lasses”.
He knows that this would have been in February 1977 because another sister had just had a baby.
He claim’s “we did challenge him, we phoned the police and told them to come down or otherwise we were going to trash the car” and then “when I went over and started giving him some abuse he drove off”.
Kay Lintern claims that George Wilkinson, the father of the murdered Carol also chased Sutcliffe on a number of occasions. Mr Wilkinson does not want to talk to journalists about his daughter’s murder.
Asked about whether she had considered going to the police after Sutcliffe was arrested and charged in January 1981 about him having been on the estate Kay Lintern says that at the time she didn’t. “I didn’t think it was important, I didn’t think ‘oh he could have killed Carol and not Anthony Steele’ and by this time she had moved off the estate to live in Wales only returning after a 20 year absence at the beginning of this year.
However with Anthony Steele having had his conviction overturned she wants to ensure that “Carol can rest in peace knowing that the person who killed her has been caught”.
A view echoed by a member of the Anthony Steele’s family who said “we know he definitely didn’t commit the murder” and “now the police have got to carry on investigating and find the true murderer.”
On his release from prison Anthony Steele offered to support the West Yorkshire Police in any future enquiry which was “welcomed” by Colin Cramphorn in his ‘Without Prejudice’ letter to him that admits ‘errors were made’ and regretting the role ‘that former members’ of the force ‘took, which led to the injustice’.
Anthony Steele himself is on record as claiming that the murderer of Carol Wilkinson was someone who he knew whilst he was in prison and Peter Hill, from the 1980s ‘Rough Justice’ programme which examined the murder has discounted the possibility of Peter Sutcliffe being the killer.
One thing is for sure; whoever did kill Carol Wilkinson seems likely to remain undetected because whilst a West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said that the force “would welcome any new information” on the case they also said that “no individual officer is responsible for the case” and they “are not currently pursuing any active lines of enquiry.”
Meanwhile although the West Yorkshire Police web-site does have listed crimes committed more than 40 years ago under ‘Ongoing Crime Appeals’ at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/section.asp?sid=54
Carol Wilkinson does not appear.
October 1st 2005.