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Ripper policeman honoured in grandson’s regional daily interview

The grandson of a former policeman who played a key role in the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper has paid tribute to his grandfather in an interview with a regional daily.

Former detective chief superintendent James ‘Jim’ Hobson died on December 12 at St James’ Hospital in Leeds after having complications with his gallbladder. He was 96.

As assistant chief constable of West Yorkshire, he took over command of the search for Peter Sutcliffe in 1980, which he led to its successful conclusion when the serial killer was eventually caught in Sheffield.

Mr Hobson was recently portrayed by Lee Ingleby in the ITV drama The Long Shadow, which charted the long and gruesome police search for the serial killer.

How The Yorkshire Evening Post broke the news of the death of Ripper detective James Hobson.

How The Yorkshire Evening Post broke the news of the death of Ripper detective James Hobson.

In an interview with the Yorkshire Evening Post, Mr Hobson’s grandson, Franco Pardini, explained how his grandfather remained respectful of the victims right to the very end of his life.

He told the YEP: “It was a testing and worrying time. He had a daughter at the time – my mum – who was young and going out and had a boyfriend – who is now my dad.

“At one point the police stopped my mum and dad and one of the officers said ‘who wants to tell the boss we’ve stopped his daughter with a gentleman we don’t know?

“Even in his later years, grandpa would go to the library to read crime novels and if anything came out about Sutcliffe he would read it. He never lost interest.”

Mr Padini told reporter Charles Gray that his grandfather had refused to speak about the investigation to most people out of respect for the victims.

He added that while his grandfather will forever be remembered for his work on the Sutcliffe case, it was his time in the Royal Navy – in which he served alongside Prince Philip – of which he was especially proud.

When he retired, Mr Pardini said he stayed active as a member of the Rotary Club in Wetherby and playing bowls with his friends.

Following the death of his wife in 2010, he moved to Roundhay to be nearer to his daughter. At the time of his death, he also had two great-grandchildren.

Asked what his grandfather was like, Mr Pandini said: “My grandfather was an old fashioned, stiff-upper-lip kind of man. You didn’t mess with him.

“He was a stern figure growing up. If he told you off, you knew you’d done something wrong.”

Mr Hobson’s funeral will take place today at St Anne’s Cathedral in Leeds at 1.30pm.