The quest to find the identity of Jack the Ripper appears to be over after a DNA breakthrough has fingered the man whose identity has fascinated and baffled criminologists for more than 120 years.
DNA techniques on a shawl found near one of the victims, Catherine Eddowes, has been found to contains a match to both her and one of the chief suspects, Aaron Kosminski.
Kosminski lived in Whitechapel at the times of the savage 1888 murders of five women and was committed to an asylum in 1891 until his death in 1919. At the time police suspected him of the crimes and at one point put him under surveillance.
The fascinating end to the story started when businessman Russell Edwards bought the shawl at an auction and enlisted DNA expert Jari Louhelainen to test it.
The blood was proved to come from Eddowes after a DNA swab was taken from one of her descendants, The Mail on Sunday reported today.
Having proved that the shawl was genuine – its authenticity had been dismissed by many so-called Ripperologists – Edwards and Louhelainen then enlisted the help of another DNA specialist called Dr David Miller after finding human cells on the shawl which appeared to come from a man’s semen.
Swabs from a British descendant of Kosminski’s sister, Matilda, were taken and they are said now to have provided a perfect match.
The latest findings appear to put the mystery to bed and could finally end speculation over the killer’s identity which has fascinated millions ever since the crimes took place.
Countless books, films and TV series been made around the Ripper industry including the BBC series Ripper Street, a police procedural starring Matthew Mcfadyen set just after the murders.
Over the years, many claims have been made about the identity of Jack the Ripper, including the suggestion that he was Queen Victoria’s grandson – Prince Albert Victor, the Duke of Clarence – the painter Walter Sickert, and even the former Liberal Prime Minister William Gladstone.
But instead he appears to have been a mentally disturbed hairdresser who died in in an asylum from gangrene.
* Naming Jack The Ripper, by Russell Edwards, will be published by Sidgwick & Jackson on September 9, priced £16.99.