The Yorkshire Ripper was almost caught in the act 17 times, his signed confession has revealed.
In an astonishing confession 48 hours after his arrest, Peter Sutcliffe told detectives he spent most of his five-year killing spree expecting a "knock on the door" from police.
He described himself as a "monster" and "beast" who was "driven by the devil".
And Sutcliffe, who murdered 13 women, told how a string of passers-by almost stumbled across him as he attacked victims but "by some miracle" he "escaped the dragnet".
Sutcliffe, who was quizzed nine times by police before his eventual arrest, said he never set out to be a serial killer but it became an "obsession," like "some sort of drug".
In his confession – a copy of which has been obtained by the Daily Star – he said: "I felt like someone inhuman. I wanted to tell someone what I was doing but I thought about how it would affect my wife and family."
Sutcliffe told officers how a dog walker passed within 5ft of him as he lay in the undergrowth with one woman he was about to kill.
On another occasion, he had to fling himself to the ground after he was caught in car headlights dragging another victim into a lane.
Sutcliffe said he even "came face to face" with Maureen Long – who survived an attack – while out shopping with his wife, Sonia.
He said: "She seemed to look at me but she obviously didn’t recognise me."
Sutcliffe was finally arrested on January 2, 1981, in Sheffield when police spotted his car with false number plates.
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He was sitting inside with a woman who would have been his next victim.
Two days later he was transferred to a police station in Leeds and questioned for more than 10 hours. He admitted to 13 murders between 1975 and 1980 and attempting to kill Maureen.
Four months later he was jailed for life for the killings and six more attempted murders.
The former lorry driver died last week from coronavirus aged 74.
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