Did DNA On A Blood-soaked Shawl ID Jack The Ripper?

"Armchair Dective" thinks he's solved the 126 year old crimes of a serial killer.

jack the ripper tour

Serial murderer Jack the Ripper terrorized London 126 years ago and earned his chilling name by killing at least 5 women, leaving their mutilated bodies in alleyways. 

Now an amateur detective claims to have evidence that proves serial murderer Jack the Ripper was Polish immigrant Aaron Kosminski.

The theory is detailed in a book by  Russell Edwards,  "Naming Jack the Ripper," published this week. 

Edwards told ITV News: 

"I am a hundred percent certain. Definitive proof, conclusively proven, put the case to bed - we've done this." 

How did Edwards say he solved this decades old crime? 


Edwards, an "armchair detective", bought a blood-stained shawl at auction in 2007. A police officer claimed to have taken it from the scene of the murder of 4th victim Catherine Eddowes. It was then handed down through his family for generations.

Edwards worked with a Finnish molecular biologist to analyze the DNA. Through traces on the shawl, Edwards believes the killer has been identified as Kosminski. 

Although Kosminski was named by police as a possible suspect, experts on the case have long ruled him out as a serious contender to be the Ripper.  It seems he was considered a harmless mentally ill man who was locked up because he had a fondness for masturbation.

This week's revelations are not the first time a researcher has attempted to unmask the Ripper using DNA. In her book Portrait of a Killer, crime writer Patricia Cornwell identified artist Walter Sickert as the murderer. She based her evidence on DNA she claimed to have found on letters said to be written by the Ripper. Almost all experts consider the letters to be hoaxes, however. 

Another suspect is Frederick Bailey Deeming, who was locked up in prison for fraud. He went on to kill his wife and four children before fleeing to Australia. There he was hanged for killing another woman. Circumstantial evidence links him to the Ripper crimes.

Not everyone is convinced that the mystery has been solved. Richard Cobb, who runs Jack the Ripper tours, told the Times of London that “the shawl has been openly handled by loads of people and been touched, breathed on, spat upon," therefore contaminating the evidence.

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