The fact that Peter Sutcliffe has passed away has led me to recall a conversation at a party we attended in Southampton some years ago.

A couple, on learning we were from Andover, told us they had moved from a village north of Andover a good number of years ago and they had purchased the property from a senior medical officer in the prison service.

To encourage an inmate’s sense of purpose the medic had asked him to carve into oak the name of his own abode.

He did a fine job and it is still hanging outside by the front door and looks rather grand.

The inmate’s signature and date can be found on the reverse.

I often pass this property and cannot help glancing at the wooden name plate and wonder if the present owners realise that the carving was made by one of the most notorious murderers in our history – the Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe.

Spooky or what!

John Porter