West Yorkshire Police connected Swedish authorities last year in relation to two unsolved murders of Swedish women, reports newspaper Kvällsposten.
“They wanted answers to a number of questions, including whether we have the type of murder, whether forensic evidence exists and whether there is anything that can be investigated using new techniques,” Bo Lundqvist, police commissioner with the Region South Police department for cold cases, told the newspaper.
“They also wanted to know whether Peter Sutcliffe was named in any investigations,” Lundqvist added.
The two crimes that British police wish to investigate are the murders of a 31-year-old woman, who was found in Gothenburg in August 1980, and a 26-year-old woman who was found in Malmö in September of the same year.
Lundqvist confirmed to Kvällsposten that Malmö Police did in fact contact British police in January 1981, after the media in Sweden had drawn attention to the fact that Peter Sutcliffe may have been in Malmö at the time of the 26-year-old's murder.
The Swedish police communication reportedly coincided with Sutcliffe’s arrest and later conviction.
Interpol responded to Malmö Police, saying that Sutcliffe could not have been in the city at the time of the crime – information that the agency later found to be incorrect, according to the report.
According to a ferry passenger manifest, Sutcliffe was likely in Malmö at the time of the second Swedish murder. The manifest shows Sutcliffe’s name on board a service between Malmö and Dragør in Denmark on the days before and after the murder in the Swedish city, Lundqvist told the newspaper.
The police officer said that this information probably never reached the British police at the time of their investigation against Sutcliffe, and subsequently the Swedish connections were not followed up.
Sutcliffe, who worked as an HGV driver and was dubbed the Yorkshire Ripper by the British press, was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1981 for murdering 13 women between 1975 and 1980.
But after opening a review of unsolved crimes last year, West Yorkshire Police told Lundqvist that they were aware of a telex from Interpol indicating that Sutcliffe had travelled on the Malmö-Dragør ferry.
Malmö Police have previously confirmed that a hair which was found on the woman’s body has been preserved, according to the report.
Lundqvist responded to the British request but has not yet received any further information on the case, writes Kvällposten.
The decision to grant British authorities access to any forensic material will fall to the Swedish justice department, reports the newspaper.
Unsolved murders that date prior to 1985 are lapsed under Swedish law but not according to British legislation, Lundqvist said.