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ITV's The Long Shadow: What happened to Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe's wife?

Where is Sonia Sutcliffe now?

Sonia Sutcliffe pictured On Ben Rhydding In Yorkshire
Nicky Morris
Nicky MorrisTV and film writer
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ITV's new crime drama The Long Shadow has had viewers gripped ever since it premiered in September. The harrowing series depicts the manhunt of notorious serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, who murdered 13 women over five years. 

At the time of his arrest, Peter was married to a woman named Sonia Sutcliffe, whom he met when the pair were just teenagers. Sonia remained married to her husband until their divorce in 1994. But what ever happened to Sonia? Here's all we know...

WATCH: ITV's The Long Shadow depicts the five-year hunt for Peter Sutcliffe

What happened to the Yorkshire Ripper's wife?

Sonia is now 73 years old and little is known about her life. 

According to The Sun, she was last seen walking arm-in-arm with her now-husband, hairdresser Michael Woodward, in 2018. The couple have reportedly spent most of their married life living apart from each other.

In 2015, Sonia gave an interview with The Sun on Sunday. "People have claimed to have interviewed me when the truth is they have not," she said, per the MailOnline

sonia sutcliffe© Photo: Rex
Sonia Sutcliffe was married to Peter Sutcliffe for 20 years

"There have been a lot of bad things written about me and they are not accurate. I would like the truth to come out one day, but I am afraid to be extremely busy for the next two or three years. I have commitments I cannot get out of. I do not want to say what they are.

"One day I might do something, but I don't want to get your hopes up that is going to happen now," she added. 

sonia peter sutcliffe© Photo: Rex
According to reports, Sonia is now remarried

How did Peter and Sonia meet?

Peter Sutcliffe met his wife Sonia Szurma on February 14, 1967 at a disco night in a local pub. 

Sonia, the daughter of Czechoslovakia immigrants living in Bradford, was only 15 years old when she first met her future husband. 

The couple married after eight years of dating on Sonia's 24th birthday, August 10, 1974, when Peter was 28 years old. 

British serial killer Peter Sutcliffe, a.k.a. 'The Yorkshire Ripper,'© Getty Images
Peter Sutcliffe, a.k.a. 'The Yorkshire Ripper,' killed 13 women over a period of five years

Two months after the pair tied the knot, Peter began his murder spree. Two years later, Sonia began treatment for schizophrenia

The couple lived together in Heaton, Bradford, a house which they moved into on September 26, 1977. Sonia worked as a supply teacher at the time and also took a job as an auxiliary nurse one night a week. 

MORE: The Long Shadow: What happened to Terry Hawkshaw? The real story behind falsely accused suspect

READ: Who plays Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe in The Long Shadow?

In 1981, when Peter was found guilty of murdering 13 women and attempting to murder seven others, Sonia remained married to him and stayed living in their home. 

Peter Sutcliffe leaving the Isle of Wight crown court in 1983© Mike Walker/Shutterstock
Sutcliffe was sentenced to 20 concurrent sentences of life imprisonment in 1981

The couple's relationship was later described by the Sunday Times journalist Gordon Burn in his 1984 book, Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son. According to Burn, Sonia was prone to "unprovoked outbursts of rage". 

Sonia visited her husband during his time spent in Parkhurst prison and later at the high-security psychiatric hospital Broadmoor, where he was transferred in 1984 following a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia.

Peter once said of Sonia, per The Sun: "She stuck with me for many, many years, before she even thought of a separation. All credit to her, and then even after that when I suggested she find somebody else, she still keeps coming to see me. She really must have loved me a lot."

The couple separated in 1989 and went on to divorce in 1994, 13 years after he was handed 20 life sentences.

Peter died in November 2020 from COVID-19-related complications.