Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Has 'Jack the Ripper' Finally Been Identified?


telegraph.co.uk - Mei Trow used modern police forensic techniques, including psychological and geographical profiling, to identify Robert Mann, a morgue attendant, as the killer.

His theory, the result of two years intensive research, is explored in a Discovery Channel documentary, Jack the Ripper: Killer Revealed.

Trow's research is rooted in information from a 1988 FBI examination of the Ripper case, which had worked up a comprehensive criminal personality profile.

The portrait drawn up of Jack was as a white male from the lower social classes, most likely the product of a broken home.

It was also thought he would have had a menial job but with some anatomical knowledge, something like a butcher, mortuary or medical examiner's assistant or hospital attendant.

Because of prolonged periods without human interaction, Jack would also have been socially inept

It is known that Mann was from an extremely deprived background. His father was absent for much of his upbringing and he had spent some time as a child in a workhouse.

Trow said: "I wanted to go beyond the myth of a caped man with a top hat and knife, and get to the reality, and the reality is simply that Jack was an ordinary man."

Trow makes another startling conjecture, that the Ripper killed another two women.

He believes Martha Tabram, found with 39 stab wounds to her body in Gunthorpe Street, was the first of Jack's victims, and Alice Mackenzie, brutally murdered eight months after the confirmed five killings, was his last.

The two women, along with Polly Nichols and Annie Chapman, would have been delivered to the Whitechapel mortuary in which Robert Mann worked.

After the killing of Polly Nichols, Jack's first recognised victim, Mann unlocked the mortuary for the police so they could examine the body and as such, was called as a witness in her inquest to help establish the cause of death.

Most damningly, he undressed Polly's body with his assistant, despite being under strict instructions from Inspector Spratling to not touch the body, and Trow suspects that this was an opportunity to admire his handiwork.

The Coroner, in his summation of Robert Mann's testimony, concluded that, "It appears the mortuary-keeper is subject to fits, and neither his memory nor statements are reliable."

Professor Laurence Alison, Forensic Psychologist at Liverpool University, who features in the documentary, said: "In terms of psychological profiling, Robert Mann is the one of the most credible suspects from recent years and the closest we may ever get to a plausible psychological explanation for these most infamous of Victorian murders."

Trow's is the latest in a long line of theories about who Jack the Ripper was. More than 100 suspects have been proposed over the years, including a member of the royal family, a doctor and even the artist Walter Sickert.

JACK THE RIPPER: KILLER REVEALED will be aired on the Discovery Channel on Sunday October 11 at 9pm. The accompanying book, Jack the Ripper: Quest for a Killer, is published by Pen & Sword.
_________________________
Posted 9/9/08

'Jack the Ripper' Indentified by Relative of Police Chief in Charge


THE Jack the Ripper ‘industry’ got a boost on the 120th anniversary of his first acknowledged murder.

The great-grandson of the police chief in charge of the 1888 Whitechapel Murders arrived at the Ripper exhibition at the Museum in Docklands in East London—just before the 120th anniversary of the murder Mary Ann Nichols, a prostitute known as ‘Polly,’ believed by many to be his first victim.

He arrived with evidence from his Victorian ancestor revealing the Ripper’s true identity.

Jack the Ripper was never caught and his identity has remained a mystery for 120 years, feeding a whole ‘industry’ that has evolved worldwide with ‘Ripperologists’ keen to tell us who he really was.

One of the strong theories re-emerged this week was when Nevill Swanson, great-grandson of Chief Inspector Donald Swanson, turned up at the museum in Canary Wharf to see the exhibition before it closes in November.

“My great-grandfather knew who Jack the Ripper was,” Nevill told the East London Advertiser.

“He solved the case—but police couldn’t prosecute because the only witness who could identify the killer in a court of law wouldn’t testify.”

Donald Swanson scribbled who he knew to be Jack the Ripper in the margin of a copy of the memoirs of Sir Robert Anderson, Assistant Metropolitan Police Commissioner at the time of the Whitechapel Murders, in a chapter that just referred to the main suspect, but not by name.

“The suspect was Kosminsky,” Swanson pencilled in.

Aaron Kosminsky was a Polish immigrant living in Whitechapel who had been ‘identified’ by another Polish emigre, who then refused to take the witness stand.

“The police knew the case would collapse in court,” Swanson’s great-grandson added.

“He knew Kosminsky would get away with it—so he had him committed to an asylum instead.

“There were no more murders after that.”

It was Nevill’s father who uncovered the margin notes from the family possessions when Nevill’s great aunt—daughter of Chief Inspector Swanson—died in 1978. The book with the margin notes was left to Nevill’s father.

But the story got buried for several years after he sold the rights to the News of the World in a deal worth £1,000, Nevill remembers. For some reason, the notes were never published.

It wasn’t until 2001—some 113 years after the Whitechapel Murders—that the Kosminsky theory finally emerged.

“My father died in 2001 and the book with the margin notes came down to me,” Nevill added. “I knew the significance of the notes and have since loaned the book to Scotland Yard’s Black Museum.”

It is a strong and compelling theory—but would spoil the ‘Ripper Industry’ if even this was not challenged by rival theories over the Ripper’s identity.

The marginalia was probably added some time after 1910, and Anderson wouldn’t have known anything that Swanson hadn’t told him, a reader has informed us.

Martin Fido was the person who identified Kosminsky by going through asylum records.

This week, the Australians bowled their own theory to stump the Ripperology world with a claim that it wasn’t Kosminsky at all—but an immigrant named Walter Thomas Porriott who is now buried in a cemetery in Brisbane.

The Brisbane Times claims that Porriott, another suspect on Scotland Yard’s list, was the real Jack the Ripper.

Porriott was living at Limehouse in East London at the time, just two miles from Whitechapel. He was a convicted killer, a conman, bigamist and quack doctor known to hate prostitutes, the paper insists.

The murders ended as soon as Porriott emigrated in 1888. He died in Brisbane in 1952, some 62 years later.

But there’s more... Members of the renowned Whitechapel Society—dedicated to research into East London’s Victorian and Edwardian society and the 1888 Whitechapel Murders—hold a ‘21st century public investigation’ at the Museum in Docklands this Saturday (September 6), where the most comprehensive Ripper exhibition ever has been staged all summer.

They are promising “fresh photographic evidence” when the ‘investigation’ begins at 3pm.

Three authors are putting their theories to the public, Trevor Marriott, Bill Beadle (the society’s chairman) and Frogg Moody.

Ripperologists, of course, are a determined breed, determined to keep the fires of the ‘industry’ burning with different theories—and doubtless will continue to keep them burning for the next 120 years.
_________________________
Posted 3/10/08

The Ripper Casebook: Open to the Public


'PC.97J. NEIL reports at 3.45.a[m] 31st inst, he found the dead body of a woman lying on her back with her clothes a little above her knees...' So begins a vivid account on lined notepaper, by a Superintendent J Keating, under the heading 'Metropolitan Police'. The ink seems as fresh as a morning newspaper. Yet it is dated 31 August, 1888.

This is one of the police reports filed just hours after Jack the Ripper claimed another victim in London's East End. It is one of numerous documents relating to the Victorian killer which, after more than a century in the archives, are to go on public display for the first time.

Handwritten accounts from the scenes of the crimes, detectives' case reports, coroners' inquiry records, witness statements, photographs and letters will form the centrepiece of a major exhibition, 'Jack the Ripper and the East End', at the Museum in Docklands, London. Visitors will not be spared graphic descriptions, such as 'her throat cut from ear to ear', in the retelling of the bloody and gruesome crimes.

'They are absolutely amazing,' said Julia Hoffbrand, curator of the exhibition. 'They were written on the day each woman was found, so as a step by step account you get a real sense of what happened. The documents bring home the fact that these are real people and real events. They are very moving.'

The files were first kept at Scotland Yard, then transferred to the National Archives in Kew, west London. But due to their fragile condition they could only be viewed on microfiche. 'It's a rare opportunity to see the actual documents in the original ink,' Hoffbrand said.

The police report of 31 August 1888 continues: Dr. Llewellyn, No.152 Whitechapel Ro[ad]... arrived quickly and pronounced life to be extinct, apparently but [a] few minutes, he directed her removed to the mortuary, stating he would make a further examination there, which was done on the ambulance. It has since been ascertained that the dress bears the marks of Lambeth Workhouse and deceased is supposed to have been an inmate of that house.'

Jack the Ripper is believed to have killed five prostitutes in or near Whitechapel in 10 weeks between August and November 1888. More than 170 names have been put forward as suspects including the Duke of Clarence, the artist Walter Sickert, who had a morbid obsession with the killings, Montague John Druitt, a barrister who took his own life just after the last murder, and Michael Ostrog, a Russian thief. Books, plays, films and musicals have mythologised the killer and every night tourists walk the same streets on a guided Jack the Ripper walk.

A letter purportedly from the Ripper to the police will also be on display. Dated 7 November 1888, the handwritten scrawl states: 'Dear Boss, I am writing you this while I am in bed with a sore throat but as soon as it is better I will set to work again on the 13th of this month and I think that my next Job will be to polish you off and as I am a member of the force I can soon settle accounts with you I will tear your liver out before you are dead and show it to you.' The letter, signed Jack the Ripper, has a crude drawing of a man, but remains one of many tantalising clues.

Among the documents are witness statements to coroners as well as contemporary press reports. At the inquest into the death of Catherine Eddowes, whose mutilated body was found in Mitre Square in Aldgate, her daughter Annie Phillips tells of her father's separation from her mother: 'He had no ill will to my knowledge against Deceased [Catherine Eddowes]. He left Deceased between 7 & 8 years ago entirely on account of her Drinking Habits.'

Like Eddowes, Mary Ann Nichols was found with her throat cut, in Buck's Row, Whitechapel. On her last evening alive, she is reported as having said: 'I'll soon get my "doss" money; see what a jolly bonnet I've got now.'

The exhibition, which opens on 15 May, will also feature maps and recordings from people who grew up in the slums of Whitechapel. Donald Rumbelow, a leading expert on the Ripper and co-author of Jack the Ripper: Scotland Yard Investigates, welcomed the exhibition. 'To see the documents out of the mounts will be quite something.'

********************

Are you interested in the paranormal, cryptozoology, UFOs and conspiracies? Go to Phantoms and Monsters Wiki and become a member of this unique network. Start a page on a subject or add your input to an existing page or thread. Phantoms and Monsters updates are posted daily at Twitter. Signup today! Find me on Facebook


********************

Have you had a close encounter or witnessed something unusual?
Send us an email


********************

Anomalist Books - works on maverick science, unexplained mysteries, unorthodox theories, strange talents, and unexpected discoveries. Please check out their excellent and diverse catalog



Post a Comment

 photo phantom-bookstore_zpszwuh6847.jpg

Owlman / Mothman / Man-Bat - Chicago Metro Area - Witness Sightings Map

Pennsylvania Lycan Investigations - Witness Sightings Map