The story of Jack the Ripper has perplexed generations of armchair detectives since the 19th century killing spree shocked London.
Now, one author claims he knows exactly who Jack the Ripper really was.
Russell Edwards is a self-described amateur gumshoe who bought a shawl owned by one of Ripper’s victims that was purportedly nicked from the crime scene by a police officer who intended it as a gift for his wife.
When the wife spotted the blood on the shawl, though, she refused to wear it. Instead, according to Edwards, the shawl was handed down from generation to generation within the family and had never been washed.
“I’ve got the only piece of forensic evidence in the whole history of the case. I’ve spent 14 years working on it and we have definitively solved the mystery of who Jack the Ripper was,” he told the newspaper, convinced the shawl he bought at auction is legit.
Taking the shawl to leading DNA expert Dr. Jari Louhelainen, the blood found on the item was compared to the DNA of known relatives of one of the police’s leading suspects. After over three years of trying to use DNA to solve the mystery, Louhelainen finally found a match.
The blood, according to the DNA expert, belonged to Aaron Kosminski, a 23-year-old Romanian immigrant who was suspected for the crimes. He later died in an insane asylum.
Edwards points to the forensic evidence as proof positive that Kosminski is the killer.
“Only non-believers that want to perpetuate the myth will doubt. This is it now – we have unmasked him.”
Not everyone, though, is convinced.
One of the leading ‘Ripperologists,’ Richard Cobbs, insists that even if the shawl was not washed, it is not exactly in pristine shape.
“The shawl has been openly handled by loads of people and been touched, breathed on, spat upon,” Cobb explained.
“My DNA is probably on there,” he said. “What’s more, Kosminski is likely to have frequented prostitutes in the East End of London [meaning his DNA could be there on the shawl for other reasons].”
Peter Gill, an expert of DNA profiling, also casts doubt on Edward’s claims.
“The shawl is of dubious origin and has been handled by several people who could have shared that mitochondrial DNA profile,” he said, stressing in this case the DNA may not be proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
Edwards, though, remains unconcerned by the criticism.
“Thank God the shawl has never been washed, as it held the vital evidence,” he said convinced Kosminski “definitely, categorically and absolutely” is Jack the Ripper and the case should be considered closed for good.
Photo Credit: Wanted Poster/Public Domain