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Mark’s History: ‘Stupid, thin’ St Ann’s Lane – and its connection to Yorkshire Ripper case

Words & photos: Mark Stevenson

I noticed a sign the other day at St Ann’s Lane, just off Burley Road, that said ‘Stupid Thin Road’.

Seeing it I thought ‘there must be ‘thinner’ roads around West Leeds’. I was going to go off to look for the ‘thin roads’ but as I was looking up St Ann’s Lane I came across what I thought to be more interesting info.

Dennis Hoban once lived on St Ann’s Lane, he died in 1978 at the age of 51. Det Chief Supt Hoban was part of the police team that investigated the Yorkshire Ripper.

It is said that Dennis was one of the first to realise that all the Ripper murders were connected. Some even say the Ripper may have been caught sooner had Dennis not died.

Dennis seems to have been quite the character and criminals would be proud of the fact that they were in Armley (the prison) because of him. He also had a good relationship with the press, using them as a tool to help him do his job as he also helped them (with the exchange of information).

The plaque you see in the picture is in Lawnswood Cemetery where his wife Betty’s funeral was held. She was in St Luke’s Caring Home in Calverley for a time.

More on the history of West Leeds can be found via the weekly Mark’s History column here.

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