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notorious killer First Sutcliffe victim Irish Annie was left traumatised by attack


Irish Annie

Irish Annie

Irish Annie

THE death of Britain's most notorious serial killer has come as cold comfort for the extended Irish family of his first victim.

The bungled police hunt for him - with key leads ignored or misplaced over six years - sparked a major overhaul of major crime investigation strategy in the UK.

Peter Sutcliffe's first victim, who survived a savage attack in 1975, was an Irish woman who had settled in the Yorkshire industrial town of Keighley.

Known as 'Irish Annie', Anna Patricia Brosnan was 42 when she was attacked by Sutcliffe and, while she survived, she was left traumatised for the rest of her life.

Anna was born in Tralee on March 21, 1933 to farmer Michael Brosnan and his wife.

All the Brosnan children - nine girls and three boys - were brought up in Tralee but were keen to travel abroad for a better life.

Anna was only 15 when she left home in 1948, joining her eldest sister, Helen, who had settled in Keighley after World War II.

Eleven miles north-west of Bradford, Keighley had a strong Irish Catholic immigration history from those fleeing the Famine of the 1840s to those leaving Ireland in the 1950s.

They found work in the wool and cotton mills and factories producing machinery and munitions.

Anna was employed as a playing cards sorter in Waddington's factory when she met textiles-accessories maker Roman Rogulskyj, who was six years her senior.

They shared a background of farming and Catholicism, coupled with new lives in a different country.

Anna and Roman were married on February 19, 1955 at St Anne's Church in Keighley, with Roman's father, Mychalo, as a witness.

The marriage lasted 18 years, ending in divorce in July 1973. They had no children.

Anna apparently lost some of her confidence after the divorce.

She enjoyed working in Woolworths near her home in Highfield Lane.

Like many former industrial centres across northern England, Keighley was then in sharp economic decline - derelict mills and factories crumbled beside the River Worth, while brutal town planning swept away fine buildings, leaving boarded-up terraces.

Such deprived industrial centres proved to be the chosen hunting ground for Sutcliffe.

It was when she was making her way home from the town on the night of July 4, 1975 - a Friday evening - that Anna was attacked by the man who would become known as the Yorkshire Ripper.

Sutcliffe grabbed and beat her to within an inch of her life, eventually leaving her for dead on the streets, but she was found, unconscious and bleeding, by a passing teenager.




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Sutcliffe, who often used a screwdriver in his attacks, had attempted to slash Anna's stomach.

However, he fled when he was disturbed by a person walking nearby.

Anna was rushed to hospital with three lacerations to her skull and fractures caused by a heavy instrument.

Surgeons at Leeds Infirm- ary Hospital operated for nearly 12 hours to save her.

The injuries she suffered were so severe that splinters of bone had to be removed from near her brain.

While she survived, she was left traumatised.

In 1981, Anna attended Sutcliffe's trial, which ranks as one of the highest-profile in British criminal history.

Sutcliffe was sentenced to life in prison, and it was later confirmed that the sentence would be a whole life term, meaning he would die behind bars.

It transpired that Sutcliffe was caught by chance when two police officers became suspicious of a car driven by a man with a woman in the front seat and which had false number plates.

The officers were not members of the Ripper Squad, which had become fixated on a tape recording mailed to the lead detective by a man claiming to be the killer.

The hoax recording involved a man with a Wearside accent and resulted in a massive amount of wasted effort by the police team.

Years later a man - an alco- holic with a history of petty crime and homelessness - was identified by DNA as having submitted the tape and was jailed.

Anna Brosnan died in England in 2008 at the age of 75.

The victims murdered by Sutcliffe included married women, teenage girls, shop assistants, prostitutes, students and clerks.

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