Extract from Gordon Burn, Somebody's Husband, Somebody's Son: The story of the Yorkshire Ripper:
Unlike his father, who was mostly either out or asleep but unignorable, Peter was nearly always in and yet nowhere to be found.
He'd left school in the summer of 1961, aged 15, and gone straight into the engineering works of Fairbank and Brearley in Church Street, Bingley, as an apprentice fitter. But, even as a 17-year-old, he was conspicuously shy: to most of the people who knew him then and found him perfectly pleasant, he seemed to be looking at the world the world from a distance, as if it was just so many images, flickering on a screen.
He tended to be so quiet at home that none of his family was ever sure whether he was in or out. He could enter a room or leave it without it registering with anybody that he'd been in or was gone. It was possible to walk into a room in which Peter was sitting and not even notice that he was there. 'I've walked into the house many a time and he's been just sat quiet in the kitchen without me realising for ages,' his sister, Maureen, says. 'Not reading or anything; just sort of sat there staring at space. Pete were one of these who could sit for hours on his own without getting restless, like some blokes can't; they've got to be either watching television or talking to somebody or going out for drinks with their mates. Pete were quite happy in his own company. He didn't get bored.'