The identity of Jack the Ripper, one of the of the greatest murder mysteries for more than 100 years, has been solved beyond doubt, according to a new book.
Jack the Ripper murdered and mutilated at least five women during August and September 1888 in Whitechapel, London, cutting their throats and removing organs, such as kidneys and hearts
In his book Naming the Ripper, author Russell Edwards says the person behind the murders was Polish immigrant Aaron Kosminski.
Kosminski was a 23-year-old Pole who fled his homeland due to the persecution of Jews and lived in Whitechapel during the times of the murders. He was later diagnosed with schizophrenia and committed to an asylum.
He was identified as one of the suspects after house-to house searches but never brought to trial. During Scotland Yard’s initial investigation Kosminski is described as having “a great hatred of women … with strong homicidal tendencies”.
Kosminski is “definitely, categorically and absolutely” the man, says Edwards.
“I’ve got the only piece of forensic evidence in the whole history of the case. I’ve spent 14 years working, and we have definitely solved the mystery of who Jack the Ripper was. Only non-believers that want to perpetuate the myth will doubt. This is it now – we have unmasked him,” Edwards said.
Working alongside Dr Jari Louhelainen, an expert in molecular biology, they extracted 126-year-old DNA from a blood-soaked shawl found near the body of Catherin Eddowes, the Ripper’s second victim.
The shawl was bought at auction on the understanding that there was positive proof it had been found near the body. The item had stains that, according to Dr Louhelainen, were “consistent with arterial blood spatter caused by slashing”.
In a surprise turn, it was found that the along with DNA from the victim, the shawl contained traces of semen believed to have come from the suspect.
Using the latest scientific methods Dr Louhelainen matched the DNA with descendants of Kosminski.
Dr Louhelainen said: “On the testing, the first result showed a 99.2% match. Since the DNA has two complementary strands, we went on and tested the other DNA strand, which gave a perfect 100% match.
“To be honest, I was mostly interested in the science. I wanted to know if something like this possible to do from such a limited amount of genetic material.
“Beforehand I knew about the name Jack the Ripper but really nothing about the details. That is the way I wanted to treat it – being detached from the case – makes you consider all the options and allows the out-of-the-box thinking which was required in the end.”