Between 1975 and 1980, Peter Sutcliffe, better known as the Yorkshire Ripper, terrorized the UK. He had been married to Sonia, his wife at the time, during this troubling time in British history.
A review of Sonia Sutcliffe’s life is presented here, starting with her early years and continuing through her marriage to the famed serial killer and its aftermath.
The Early Years of Sonia Sutcliffe
Sonia Szurma, who goes by Sonia, was born on August 10, 1950. She was born and raised in Bradford, just seven miles from Peter Sutcliffe’s hometown of Bingley.
Her parents were refugees from Poland and Ukraine who had fled to Britain after the Second World War. She had no idea that one of the most notorious criminals in British history would become a part of her life.
A Marriage and Fatal Meeting
When Sonia met Peter Sutcliffe, her life took an unexpected turn. When she was only 15 years old, they first connected and started dating.
Later, Sutcliffe thought back on this period and remarked, “The time I met Sonia was perhaps the best time of my life. I understand what makes her tick, and our senses of humor are compatible. More or less from the beginning, I loved her.
At the Midland Hotel in Bingley in 1968, Peter Sutcliffe asked Sonia to marry him. A year before Sutcliffe committed his first murder, on August 24, 1974, Sonia turned 24 and they were married.
After getting married at Clayton’s Baptist Church, the couple traveled to Paris for their honeymoon. They moved back in with Sonia’s parents and began saving for their own house.
What happened to Pete Sutcliffe Wife?
Sonia Sutcliffe, the wife of the infamous Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, led a life marked by her association with him. As Peter Sutcliffe resumed his brutal murdering spree while they were married, Sonia’s life took a dark and frightening turn.
During this time, Sonia unintentionally provided her husband with an excuse. Sutcliffe rarely left their house in the evenings, and when he did, she was usually with him, she told the police.
She had no idea that as the police hunted down the Yorkshire Ripper, her devotion to her husband would be put to the test.
Sutcliffe was detained in 1981 after attempting to kill seven further women and murdering 13 victims.
Loyalty in the Face of Horror
Sonia stuck by Peter Sutcliffe even after his arrest and 1981 sentence of 20 life terms (later changed to a whole life order in 2010).
She traveled a great distance to see him throughout the years, first at Parkhurst on the Isle of Wight and then at Broadmoor in Berkshire.
Sonia Sutcliffe and Peter Sutcliffe got divorced in 1994, but she remained his next-of-kin and continued to support him until his passing in November 2020.
Sutcliffe expressed profound gratitude for Sonia’s enduring commitment despite the heinousness of his crimes, saying, “She stuck with me for many, many years, before she even thought of a separation, and all credit to her.”
Sutcliffe continued to praise Sonia, highlighting her devotion to him and her love for her: “She truly must have liked me a lot. She knew me so well, both personally and in terms of my personality, that she couldn’t just wash her hands of me.
A Life Covered in Mysteries
After Peter Sutcliffe’s passing, little is known about Sonia Sutcliffe’s life. There isn’t much information in the public domain about her whereabouts or activities as of September 2023.
In April 2018, Sonia and her second husband, a hairdresser named Michael Woodward, were shown holding hands. Although they were married in 1997, the pair had lived apart for the majority of their time together.
It was revealed in December 2021 that Sonia had been permitted to sell the house she had bought in 1977 with Peter Sutcliffe.
As she continued to deal with the legacy her infamous ex-husband left behind, the house sale signaled the beginning of a new chapter in her life.
From her early passion with Peter Sutcliffe to having to endure the gruesome discoveries of his crimes, Sonia Sutcliffe’s life journey has taken many unexpected turns.
Her steadfast devotion to Sutcliffe despite his horrible deeds has been a source of mystery and debate.
Sonia’s story continues to be an intriguing and mysterious chapter in the history of true crime, despite the fact that nothing is known about her life after her divorce and after Sutcliffe’s passing.