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Thread: Identity of Jack the Ripper

  1. #1

    outline Identity of Jack the Ripper

    The true identity of Jack the Ripper has eluded generation after generation of investigators. The mystery has been around for over 125 years, and after dozens of named suspects, none have zeroed in on the killer.
    The elusive character has baffled investigators over the years, and some have even implicated famous names such as Vincent Van Gogh the artist, Lewis Carroll of Alice In Wonderland fame, and several members of the Royal family.

    However, a retired homicide detective named Trevor Marriot says that the true nature of Jack the Ripper has been staring us in the face all along. He believes that a German sailor, Carl Feigenbaum, was the one who committed all the gruesome murders, and maybe even more than those recorded in England at the time.
    Marriot says he's uncovered the identity of Jack the Ripper by combining the investigation of old documents, and high-tech forensics.
    The most popular elements of the Jack the Ripper case is this: Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly--five women, all of whom believed to be prostitutes, were killed by stabbing within close proximity of each other (a fourth of a mile), in Whitechapel, a neighborhood of London. Accounts and pictures of the corpses circulate the internet, with the bodies horribly mutilated and disemboweled after their deaths.
    Marriot point the finger at the sailor Feigenbaum as Jack the Ripper, a sailor who happened to have his ship docked at the harbor at the time of the murders. Investigative conclusions have indicated that the infamous serial killer was a traveler due to the time gap in between the murders, and that Jack the Ripper might be a sailor, as sailors often frequent the brothels in the Whitechapel district.
    But the most convincing evidence of Jack the Ripper's identity was a testimony from Feigenbaum's own lawyer, who says that his client may have unknowingly confessed to the crimes by saying he had been inflicted by a disease that makes him desire to kill and mutilate women.
    Feigenbaum was convicted and executed for an unrelated crime-far away, in New York. Marriot notes that there had been similar murders especially in areas near where Feigenbaum's ship was docked.
    Speculations that jack the Ripper was a surgeon illustrated the image of a well-dressed man, probably from the middle-class or higher, with medical knowledge, for having the precision for disemboweling corpses, but Marriot says that it is nothing more than an urban myth.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Identity of Jack the Ripper

    WORLD EXCLUSIVE: Jack the Ripper unmasked: How amateur sleuth used DNA breakthrough to identify Britain's most notorious criminal 126 years after string of terrible murders


    DNA evidence on a shawl found at Ripper murder scene nails killer
    By testing descendants of victim and suspect, identifications were made
    Jack the Ripper has been identified as Polish-born Aaron Kosminski
    Kosminski was a suspect when the Ripper murders took place in 1888
    Hairdresser Kosminski lived in Whitechapel and was later put in an asylum


    It is the greatest murder mystery of all time, a puzzle that has perplexed criminologists for more than a century and spawned books, films and myriad theories ranging from the plausible to the utterly bizarre.

    But now, thanks to modern forensic science, The Mail on Sunday can exclusively reveal the true identity of Jack the Ripper, the serial killer responsible for at least five grisly murders in Whitechapel in East London during the autumn of 1888.

    DNA evidence has now shown beyond reasonable doubt which one of six key suspects commonly cited in connection with the Ripper’s reign of terror was the actual killer – and we reveal his identity.

    A shawl found by the body of Catherine Eddowes, one of the Ripper’s victims, has been analysed and found to contain DNA from her blood as well as DNA from the killer.

    The landmark discovery was made after businessman Russell Edwards, 48, bought the shawl at auction and enlisted the help of Dr Jari Louhelainen, a world-renowned expert in analysing genetic evidence from historical crime scenes.

    Using cutting-edge techniques, Dr Louhelainen was able to extract 126-year-old DNA from the material and compare it to DNA from descendants of Eddowes and the suspect, with both proving a perfect match.

    The revelation puts an end to the fevered speculation over the Ripper’s identity which has lasted since his murderous rampage in the most impoverished and dangerous streets of London.

    In the intervening century, a Jack the Ripper industry has grown up, prompting a dizzying array of more than 100 suspects, including Queen Victoria’s grandson – Prince Albert Victor, the Duke of Clarence – the post-Impressionist painter Walter Sickert, and the former Liberal Prime Minister William Gladstone.

    It was March 2007, in an auction house in Bury St Edmunds, that I first saw the blood-soaked shawl. It was in two surprisingly large sections – the first measuring 73.5in by 25.5in, the second 24in by 19in – and, despite its stains, far prettier than any artefact connected to Jack the Ripper might be expected to be. It was mostly blue and dark brown, with a delicate pattern of Michaelmas daisies – red, ochre and gold – at either end.

    It was said to have been found next to the body of one of the Ripper’s victims, Catherine Eddowes, and soaked in her blood. There was no evidence for its provenance, although after the auction I obtained a letter from its previous owner who claimed his ancestor had been a police officer present at the murder scene and had taken it from there.

    Yet I knew I wanted to buy the shawl and was prepared to pay a great deal of money for it. I hoped somehow to prove that it was genuine. Beyond that, I hadn’t considered the possibilities. I certainly had no idea that this flimsy, badly stained, and incomplete piece of material would lead to the solution to the most famous murder mystery of all time: the identification of Jack the Ripper


    When my involvement in the 126-year-old case began, I was just another armchair detective, interested enough to conduct my own extensive research after watching the Johnny Depp film From Hell in 2001. It piqued my curiosity about the 1888 killings when five – possibly more – prostitutes were butchered in London’s East End.

    Despite massive efforts by the police, the perpetrator evaded capture, spawning the mystery which has fuelled countless books, films, TV programmes and tours of Whitechapel. Theories about his identity have been virtually limitless, with everyone from Prince Albert Victor, the Duke of Clarence, to Lewis Carroll being named as possible suspects. As time has passed, the name Jack the Ripper has become synonymous with the devil himself; his crimes setting the gruesome standard against which other horrific murders are judged.

    I joined the armies of those fascinated by the mystery and researching the Ripper became a hobby. I visited the National Archives in Kew to view as much of the original paperwork as still exists, noting how many of the authors of books speculating about the Ripper had not bothered to do this. I was convinced that there must be something, somewhere that had been missed.

    By 2007, I felt I had exhausted all avenues until I read a newspaper article about the sale of a shawl connected to the Ripper case. Its owner, David Melville-Hayes, believed it had been in his family’s possession since the murder of Catherine Eddowes, when his ancestor, Acting Sergeant Amos Simpson, asked his superiors if he could take it home to give to his wife, a dressmaker.

    Incredibly, it was stowed without ever being washed, and was handed down from David’s great-grandmother, Mary Simpson, to his grandmother, Eliza Smith, and then his mother, Eliza Mills, later Hayes.

    In 1991, David gave it to Scotland Yard’s Crime Museum, where it was placed in storage rather than on display because of the lack of proof of its provenance. In 2001, David reclaimed it, and it was exhibited at the annual Jack the Ripper conference. One forensic test was carried out on it for a Channel 5 documentary in 2006, using a simple cotton swab from a randomly chosen part of the shawl, but it was inconclusive.

    Most Ripper experts dismissed it when it came up for auction, but I believed I had hit on something no one else had noticed which linked it to the Ripper. The shawl is patterned with Michaelmas daisies. Today the Christian feast of Michaelmas is archaic, but in Victorian times it was familiar as a quarter day, when rents and debts were due.

    I discovered there were two dates for it: one, September 29, in the Western Christian church and the other, November 8, in the Eastern Orthodox church. With a jolt, I realised the two dates coincided precisely with the nights of the last two murder dates. September 29 was the night on which Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes were killed, and November 8 was the night of the final, most horrific of the murders, that of Mary Jane Kelly.

    I reasoned that it made no sense for Eddowes to have owned the expensive shawl herself; this was a woman so poor she had pawned her shoes the day before her murder. But could the Ripper have brought the shawl with him and left it as an obscure clue about when he was planning to strike next? It was just a hunch, and far from proof of anything, but it set me off on my journey.

    Before buying it, I spoke to Alan McCormack, the officer in charge of the Crime Museum, also known as the Black Museum. He told me the police had always believed they knew the identity of the Ripper. Chief Inspector Donald Swanson, the officer in charge of the investigation, had named him in his notes: Aaron Kosminski, a Polish Jew who had fled to London with his family, escaping the Russian pogroms, in the early 1880s.

    Kosminski has always been one of the three most credible suspects. He is often described as having been a hairdresser in Whitechapel, the occupation written on his admission papers to the workhouse in 1890. What is certain is he was seriously mentally ill, probably a paranoid schizophrenic who suffered auditory hallucinations and described as a misogynist prone to ‘self-abuse’ – a euphemism for masturbation.

    McCormack said police did not have enough evidence to convict Kosminski, despite identification by a witness, but kept him under 24-hour surveillance until he was committed to mental asylums for the rest of his life. I became convinced Kosminski was our man, and I was excited at the prospect of proving it. I felt sure that modern science would be able to produce real evidence from the stains on the shawl. After a few false starts, I found a scientist I hoped could help.

    Dr Jari Louhelainen is a leading expert in genetic evidence from historical crime scenes, combining his day job as senior lecturer in molecular biology at Liverpool John Moores University with working on cold cases for Interpol and other projects. He agreed to conduct tests on the shawl in his spare time.

    The tests began in 2011, when Jari used special photographic analysis to establish what the stains were.

    Using an infrared camera, he was able to tell me the dark stains were not just blood, but consistent with arterial blood spatter caused by slashing – exactly the grim death Catherine Eddowes had met.

    But the next revelation was the most heart-stopping. Under UV photography, a set of fluorescent stains showed up which Jari said had the characteristics of semen. I’d never expected to find evidence of the Ripper himself, so this was thrilling, although Jari cautioned me that more testing was required before any conclusions could be drawn.

    He also found evidence of split body parts during the frenzied attack. One of Eddowes’ kidneys was removed by her murderer, and later in his research Jari managed to identify the presence of what he believed to be a kidney cell.

    It was impossible to extract DNA from the stains on the shawl using the method employed in current cases, in which swabs are taken. The samples were just too old.

    Instead, he used a method he called ‘vacuuming’, using a pipette filled with a special ‘buffering’ liquid that removed the genetic material in the cloth without damaging it.

    As a non-scientist, I found myself in a new world as Jari warned that it would also be impossible to use genomic DNA, which is used in fresh cases and contains a human’s entire genetic data, because over time it would have become fragmented.

    But he explained it would be possible to use mitochondrial DNA instead. It is passed down exclusively through the female line, is much more abundant than genomic DNA, and survives far better.

    This meant that in order to give us something to test against, I had to trace a direct descendant through the female line of Catherine Eddowes. Luckily, a woman named Karen Miller, the three-times great-granddaughter of Eddowes, had featured in a documentary about the Ripper’s victims, and agreed to provide a sample of her DNA.

    Jari managed to get six complete DNA profiles from the shawl, and when he tested them against Karen’s they were a perfect match.

    It was an amazing breakthrough. We now knew that the shawl was authentic, and was at the scene of the crime in September 1888, and had the victim’s blood on it. On its own, this made it the single most important artefact in Ripper history: nothing else has ever been linked scientifically to the scene of any of the crimes.

    Months of research on the shawl, including analysing the dyes used, had proved that it was made in Eastern Europe in the early 19th Century. Now it was time to attempt to prove that it contained the killer’s DNA.

    Jari used the same extraction method on the semen traces on the shawl, warning that the likelihood of sperm lasting all that time was very slim. He enlisted the help of Dr David Miller, a world expert on the subject, and in 2012 they made another incredible breakthrough when they found surviving cells. They were from the epithelium, a type of tissue which coats organs. In this case, it was likely to have come from the urethra during ejaculation.

    Kosminski was 23 when the murders took place, and living with his two brothers and a sister in Greenfield Street, just 200 yards from where the third victim, Elizabeth Stride, was killed. As a key suspect, his life story has long been known, but I also researched his family. Eventually, we tracked down a young woman whose identity I am protecting – a British descendant of Kosminski’s sister, Matilda, who would share his mitochondrial DNA. She provided me with swabs from the inside of her mouth.

    Amplifying and sequencing the DNA from the cells found on the shawl took months of painstaking, innovative work. By that point, my excitement had reached fever-pitch. And when the email finally arrived telling me Jari had found a perfect match, I was overwhelmed. Seven years after I bought the shawl, we had nailed Aaron Kosminski.

    As a scientist, Jari is naturally cautious, unwilling to let his imagination run away without testing every minute element, but even he declared the finding ‘one hell of a masterpiece’. I celebrated by visiting the East End, wandering the streets where Kosminski lived, worked and committed his despicable crimes, feeling a sense of euphoria but also disbelief that we had unmasked the Ripper.

    Kosminski was not a member of the Royal Family, or an eminent surgeon or politician. Serial killers rarely are. Instead, he was a pathetic creature, a lunatic who achieved sexual satisfaction from slashing women to death in the most brutal manner. He died in Leavesden Asylum from gangrene at the age of 53, weighing just 7st.

    No doubt a slew of books and films will now emerge to speculate on his personality and motivation. I have no wish to do so. I wanted to provide real answers using scientific evidence, and I’m overwhelmed that 126 years on, I have solved the mystery.

    When Russell Edwards first approached me in 2011, I wasn’t aware of the massive levels of interest in the Ripper case, as I’m a scientist originally from Finland.

    But by early this year, when I realised we were on the verge of making a big discovery, working on the shawl had taken over my life, occupying me from early in the morning until late at night.

    It has taken a great deal of hard work, using cutting-edge scientific techniques which would not have been possible five years ago.

    To extract DNA samples from the stains on the shawl, I used a technique I developed myself, which I call ‘vacuuming’ – to pull the original genetic material from the depths of the cloth.

    I filled a sterile pipette with a liquid ‘buffer’, a solution known to stabilise the cells and DNA, and injected it into the cloth to dissolve the material trapped in the weave of the fabric without damaging the cells, then sucked it out.

    I needed to sequence the DNA found in the stains on the shawl, which means mapping the DNA by determining the exact order of the bases in a strand. I used polymerase chain reaction, a technique which allows millions of exact copies of the DNA to be made, enough for sequencing.

    When I tested the resulting DNA profiles against the DNA taken from swabs from Catherine Eddowes’s descendant, they were a match.

    I used the same extraction method on the stains which had characteristics of seminal fluid.

    Dr David Miller found epithelial cells – which line cavities and organs – much to our surprise, as we were not expecting to find anything usable after 126 years.

    Then I used a new process called whole genome amplification to copy the DNA 500 million-fold and allow it to be profiled.

    Once I had the profile, I could compare it to that of the female descendant of Kosminski’s sister, who had given us a sample of her DNA swabbed from inside her mouth.

    The first strand of DNA showed a 99.2 per cent match, as the analysis instrument could not determine the sequence of the missing 0.8 per cent fragment of DNA. On testing the second strand, we achieved a perfect 100 per cent match.

    Because of the genome amplification technique, I was also able to ascertain the ethnic and geographical background of the DNA I extracted. It was of a type known as the haplogroup T1a1, common in people of Russian Jewish ethnicity. I was even able to establish that he had dark hair.

    Now that it’s over, I’m excited and proud of what we’ve achieved, and satisfied that we have established, as far as we possibly can, that Aaron Kosminski is the culprit.

    Dr Jari Louhelainen is a senior lecturer in molecular biology at Liverpool John Moores University and an expert in historic cold-case forensic research.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...e-murders.html

  3. #3

    Default Re: Identity of Jack the Ripper

    Jack the Ripper finally identified by DNA? Maybe, maybe not ...

    http://www.oregonlive.com/today/inde...ly_identi.html

  4. #4

    Default Re: Identity of Jack the Ripper

    Jack the Ripper: Scientists who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'

    It was supposed to have been the definitive piece of scientific evidence that finally exposed the true identify of Jack the Ripper after he had brutally murdered at least five women
    on the streets of Whitechapel in the East End of London, 126 years ago.

    A 23-year-old Polish immigrant barber called Aaron Kosminski was "definitely, categorically and absolutely" the man who carried out the atrocities in 1888,
    according to a detailed analysis of DNA extracted from a silk shawl allegedly found at the scene of one of his murders.

    However, the scientist who carried out the DNA analysis has apparently made a fundamental error that fatally undermines his case against Kosminski – and once again throws open the debate over who the identity of the Ripper.

    The scientist, Jari Louhelainen, is said to have made an "error of nomenclature" when using a DNA database to calculate the chances of a genetic match.
    If true, it would mean his calculations were wrong and that virtually anyone could have left the DNA that he insisted came from the Ripper's victim.

    The apparent error, first noticed by crime enthusiasts in Australia blogging on the casebook.org website, has been highlighted by four experts with intimate knowledge of DNA analysis – including Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys,
    the inventor of genetic fingerprinting – who found that Dr Louhelainen made a basic mistake in analysing the DNA extracted from a shawl supposedly found near the badly disfigured body of Ripper victim Catherine Eddowes.

    They say the error means no DNA connection can be made between Kosminski and Eddowes. Any suggestion therefore that the Ripper and Kosminski are the same person
    appears to be based on conjecture and supposition – as it has been ever since the police first identified Kosminksi as a possible suspect more than a century ago.

    The latest flurry of interest in Kosminski, who died in a lunatic asylum, aged 53, stems from a book, Naming Jack the Ripper, published earlier this year, by Russell Edwards,
    a businessman who bought the shawl in 2007 on the understanding that it was the same piece of cloth allegedly found next to Eddowes.

    "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 finally 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 told The Mail on Sunday, which serialised his book.

    Edwards commissioned Dr Louhelainen, a molecular biologist at Liverpool John Moores University, to carry out a forensic analysis of the shawl,
    including the extraction of any DNA samples that may be present within the cloth, which had been supposedly stored unwashed all this time by the family of the London policeman who had acquired the artefact.

    Dr Louhelainen, who declined to answer questions, managed to extract seven incomplete fragments of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), and tried to match their sequences with mtDNA from a living descendant of Eddowes, called Karen Miller.


    The work has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, and the only detailed description by Dr Louhelainen comes from Edwards' book. "One of these amplified mtDNA segments had a sequence variation which gave a match between one of the shawl samples and Karen Miller's DNA only; ie the DNA sequence retrieved from the shawl did not match with control reference sequences," Dr Louhelainen writes.

    "This DNA alteration is known as global private mutation (314.1C) and it is not very common in worldwide population, as it has frequency estimate of 0.000003506, i.e. approximately 1/290,000. This figure has been calculated using the database at Institute of Legal Medicine, GMI, based on the latest available information. Thus, this result indicates the shawl contains human DNA identical to Karen Miller's for this mitochondrial DNA segment," he says.

    But experts with detailed knowledge of the GMI's mtDNA database claimed that Dr Louhelainen made an "error of nomenclature" because the mutation in question should be written as "315.1C" and not "314.1C". Had Dr Louhelainen done this, and followed standard forensic practice, he would have discovered the mutation was not rare at all but shared by more than 99 per cent of people of European descent.

    "If the match frequency really is 90 per cent plus, and not 1/290,000, then obviously there is no significance whatsoever in the match between the shawl and Eddowes' descendant,
    and the same match would have been seen with almost anyone who had handled the shawl over the years," Professor Jeffreys said.

    Dr Louhelainen appears to have made a basic error in calculating the frequency estimate. There are currently about 34,617 entries in the GMI database, and the figure would have been nearer to 29,000 when Dr Louhelainen carried out his research some time ago. So failing to find a match for a non-existent mutation should have given a frequency of about 1/29,000 – an error suggesting that he had placed a decimal point in the wrong place.

    "The random match probability of a sequence only seen once [as claimed for the shawl] is therefore roughly 1/34,617. With a database of this size, it is impossible to arrive at an estimate as low as 1/290,000," Professor Jeffreys said.


    Other scientists echoed Professor Jeffreys' concerns, including Mannis van Oven, professor of forensic molecular biology at Rotterdam's Erasmus University,
    Professor Walther Parson of the Institute of Legal Medicine in Innsbruck, and Hansi Weissensteiner, also at Innsbruck and one of the scientists behind the computer algorithm used by Dr Louhelainen to search the mtDNA database.

    A spokesperson for publishers Sidgwick & Jackson said: "The author stands by his conclusions. We are investigating the reported error in scientific nomenclature. However, this does not change the DNA profiling match
    and the probability of the match calculated from the rest of the haplotype data. The conclusion reached in the book, that Aaron Kosminski was Jack the Ripper, relies on much more than this one figure."


    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sc...r-9804325.html

  5. #5

    Default Re: Identity of Jack the Ripper

    On August 6, 1888, Martha Tabram was brutally murdered. Her death is still a century-old mystery that some confidently attribute to globally-infamous murderer Jack The Ripper. Tabram would have been the serial killer's first known murder.
    Tabram was a prostitute in London at the time of her death. It's believed she was drinking with a fellow sex worker, and eventually, the women split up and set a price with a couple of men. Tabram brought her client to a dark alley called George Yard, which was a notoriously dangerous, dimly-lit spot in the city. Her body was found the next morning.
    Jack The Ripper was only active for a few months in 1888, though he wreaked havoc during his murder spree. His preferred victims were prostitutes; he killed five between August and September that year. It's never been confirmed that Tabram died at his hand.
    Tabram was stabbed 39 times throughout her body. It was believed two different knives were used to kill her. Examiners also found Tabram had not recently had sex, according to jack-the-ripper.org.
    There's still a lively debate on if Tabram was a victim of Jack The Ripper. While the knife wounds hit both her throat and neck area and her stomach—areas that The Ripper targeted—her killing was different from the serial killer's leading methods in his known five victims.
    One of the telltale marks of Jack The Ripper was his decision to mutilate his victims' bodies. The way he did so proved to investigators that he had a knowledge of anatomy. The serial killer is still one of the most notorious in London history, despite only having been actively killing for one season. He was never caught, and his real identity remains unknown.
    The serial killer was also one of the first murderers to taunt police. It's believed Jack The Ripper sent a series of messages to the Scotland Yard police team, taking responsibility for the murders—similar to the infamous American Zodiac Killer—and teasing future crimes, according to Biography.
    In conversations surrounding Jack The Ripper's murder style, some claim he had low regard for female life, as his victims were often left in humiliating, inhumane ways.
    While there are no confirmations on the Ripper's identity, the leading theory is Polish immigrant Aaron Kosminski could have been responsible. This is because of DNA testing from samples found on Catherine Eddowes, one of Jack The Ripper's victims. The testing was done by Russell Edwards, who is not a member of law enforcement, and its authenticity is unconfirmed.

    https://www.newsweek.com/who-was-mar...rs-ago-1452835
    Last edited by Starless; 08-06-2019 at 04:45 PM.

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