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£200,000 Legal Aid for Yorkshire Ripper: Zero for war veteran Alfred Donovan sued by Shell

By Alfred Donovan

Appeal: Peter Sutcliffe, shown here after an attack in prison, has launched a High Court bid to be released.


The Yorkshire Ripper is using taxpayers’ money in an attempt to win his freedom.

Peter Sutcliffe, who murdered 13 women and tried to kill seven more, claims doctors believe he is ‘on the way to being cured’ and no longer poses a risk to the public.

Now 63, he has received legal aid to fund a team of leading barristers in his High Court battle to be released from the secure Broadmoor Hospital. This is likely to run up a bill of £200,000.

In June 1999, at the age 82, I was a defendant in the High Court action brought against me by Shell for alleged breach of contract.  I had no legal representation. I had already sold my home to pay my lawyers.  After my funds evaporated completely, I applied for Legal Aid which was granted, then mysteriously withdrawn without explanation. My son’s Legal Aid was also revoked. He discovered that this was due to a letter Shell (Mr Richard Wiseman?) had sent to the Legal Aid Board making an allegation which was without foundation. I assume that Shell also sent a similar letter to the Legal Aid Board about me.

John and I both appealed against the revocation decisions. In my case, a member of the Legal Aid appeal panel said that as far as he could see, I had “nothing to lose”.

My own war record in fighting the Japanese in Burma, the fact that three of my brothers had also fought for Britain (Jack, a paratrooper broke his ankle landing during Operation Market Garden at Arnhem), was of no account. My mother drove a London ambulance during the Blitz. After the war I worked in the civil service for 14 years, started my own business, employed many people over the years and had always lived a blemish free life. Again, this all counted for nothing. Basically, my background, dignity, reputation, health and financial independence, were all of no account.

After receiving notifications that our appeals had been rejected, we each filed for Judicial Review armed with evidence that the allegation made by Shell was completely false, but the trial date arrived before either of us could get a hearing.

I was left in the unbelievable position at the age of 82, with a war disability, of having to personally defend myself in the High Court before a Judge and an array of high-powered barristers and solicitors acting for Shell.

John gave a legal charge on his house to his lawyers, or otherwise he too would have had no legal representation in court. Having no legal aid weakened his position and piled on more pressure. We had already endured a deluge of threats by Shell plus uncover activity directed against us.

Hence we were at a great disadvantage and reluctantly accepted the second compromise settlement offer put by Shell.

What a screwed up Country when a horrific serial killer is granted Legal Aid, while a then 82 year old 2nd World War veteran was left abandoned with no Legal Aid and NO legal representation.

Shell is well aware of what happened. A Shell internal email dated 11 May 2006 raised the question:-

“Mr. Donovan alleges that Shell had (his) legal aid cut off (during the SMART case). Is this the case?”

No answer was provided.

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

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