Name change: The Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe has changed his name to Peter Coonan to highlight his Irish roots

The Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutclife, has changed his name to Peter Coonan to better show his Irish roots.

Sutcliffe, whose great grandfather Edward Coonan came from Tipperary in Ireland, was jailed in 1981 for the murders of 13 women.

Now aged 63, Sutcliffe has now served 28 years of a 30-year sentence and is eligible for parole next year.

At the time, British police thought the Yorkshire Ripper was Irish because several would-be victims who escaped from Sutcliffe said he spoke with an Irish accent.

Several Irish men were actually arrested in England during the manhunt in the 1970s and early 1980s.

Irish TV presenter Garry MacDonncha who investigated the allegations as part of a documentary for RTE, Ireland's national broadcaster said there could still be Connans in Tipperary.

"Sutcliffe's great grandfather, Edward Coonan... came over from Tipperary in the 1860s. We did track down his branch of the Coonans to around Ardcroney and Cloughjordan in Tipperary. I don't know if there are any Coonans living there now – if so, they could be related to Peter Sutcliffe."