True Crime On This Day January 31st

Last Updated on September 20, 2022 by Ben Oakley

True Crime On This Day January 31st

January 31st

On January 31st in true crime, the Yorkshire Ripper, massacre, embassy attack, unsolved homicide, the Green River Killer, and a serial killing firefighter.


Peter Sutcliffe, AKA: The Yorkshire Ripper, beat and stabbed to death 18-year-old prostitute Helen Rytka in Huddersfield. Just ten days after the murder of Yvonne Pearson.

He claimed that the urge to kill girls had become ‘uncontrollable’. Sutcliffe was later convicted of murdering 13 women and the attempted murder of another seven. He remains one of the UK’s most notorious serial killers.


In India, at least 500 people were killed during the Marichjhapi Massacre. Since 1978, refugees had begun to arrive from Bangladesh, and had taken up residence in legally protected forest reserves on Marichjhapi Island in West Bengal.

The police, in conjunction with the Government of West Bengal, put a blockade around the island, banning any food or water to reach the illegal residents.

When the settlers attacked a police camp set up on the island, the police began shooting at the refugees. It had been alleged that the police dumped the dead bodies in the water, as others drowned trying to escape the massacre.

Some of the survivors resettled in shanty towns near the railway tracks in Sealdah. Independent sources put the death toll at between 500 to 1,000.


In Guatemala, a group of armed peasants belonging to the work union, Committee for Peasant Unity, entered the Spanish Embassy. They announced they had arrived at the embassy in peace and wanted a press conference shortly after.

Spain was believed to have been sympathetic to the cause of the peasants. Before their press conference could begin, 300 armed police and Guatemalan agents surrounded the building, forcing the group to take hostages and barricade windows.

At some point, a fire started and tore through the building. The intensity of the fire killed 36 people by burning them alive.

SWAT police chief, Pedro García Arredondo, had refused firefighters to combat the fire. In 2015, Arredondo was convicted of murder and crimes against humanity.


In Denver, Colorado, the body of landlord James ‘Jim’ Freeman, was discovered outside an apartment complex where he owned numerous properties.

He had visited the Whispering Pines Apartment Complex to collect rent money from his tenants. At some point in the evening, he had been shot dead and his body left in the parking lot.

Despite a very public and lengthy investigation, the identity of his killer remains a mystery and his murder remains unsolved. It is still an active cold case with the Denver Police Department.


In New Delhi, India, back on August 26th 1978, 14-year-old Sanjay Chopra and his sister, 16-year-old Geeta Chopra, were kidnapped for ransom by Kuljeet Singh and Jasbir Singh.

When the kidnappers discovered the sibling’s father was anIndian Naval Officer, they killed them in cold blood, realising no ransom would be paid.

The pair were caught shortly after, convicted, and sentenced to death. They were executed in New Delhi, by hanging on this day in 1982.


In Seattle, Washington State, the decomposing remains of 16-year-old Linda Jane Rule were discovered on the campus of Northwest Hospital.

She had been abducted from the Seals Motel on Aurora Avenue in September of 1982. She had been raped and murdered by Gary Ridgway, AKA: The Green River Killer, one of the United States’ most prolific killers.

Ridgway was arrested in 2001, convicted of 48 murders, and sentenced to life in 2003. His true victim count is believed to be much higher.

On the same day

In Nagoya, Japan, serial killing firefighter Kiyotaka Katsuta was arrested after a large investigation into his crimes.

He confessed to seven murders but investigators have since linked him to 22 victims. Katsuta was known to have killed by strangling or shooting and raped some of his female victims.

He was later convicted of eight murders and sentenced to death. He was executed by hanging in Nagoya, on November 30th 2000.

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