For the April U.talks I chose the topic of Jack the Ripper. I spent a lot of time researching all the details of the case and 8 main suspects. I chose this topic because I wanted to present on something I usually wouldn’t. My previous U.talks have been about animals or art so this was quite different! I am very interested in true crime stories and it was easy for me to get invested in this case and have fun researching and presenting it. Below are all my slides and the research I did.





East london

White chapel district- area with a proclivity for violence and crime and poverty



No clear motive

Among time of murder literacy was increasing among general population

Covered in newspaper and people became obsessed with the murders

In the end the public was so disappointed at failed attempts to identify the killer police commissioner and home secretary resigned



First five victims “the canonical five”

Canonical five were prostitutes- had to turn to this in white chapel district to survive

Believed to claim lives of up to 11 women



First murder

August 31 1888 3:40 am

Mary Ann Nichols found in Bucks Row in whitechapel

Body discovered by Charles Cross and Robert Paul

Charles claims he was walking down bucks row when he noticed a bundle towards the western end

Found on her back with Throat slashed and disemboweled

Only been dead for a half hour meaning killer was likely nearby when she was found



Second murder

September 8 1888

Annie Chapman her throat was slashed and womb cut out

29 hanbury st

Discovered by john davis elderly resident of hanbury st building

Dr. George Phillips served as police surgeon and proposed murderer had anatomical knowledge in the way he cut out annie’s womb



September 27 1888 the central news agency received a letter from apparent killer


“Dear Boss, I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they wont fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about leather apron gave me real fits. I am down on whores and shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the lady no time to squeal. How can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit enough. Ha Ha. The next job I do I shall clip the lady’s ears off and send to the police officers just for jolly wouldn’t you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work. The give it out straight. My knife’s so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good luck Your truly, Jack the Ripper. Dont mind giving me the trade name. Wasn’t good enough to post this before I got all the red ink off my hands. Cursed no luck yet They say I’m a doctor now. Ha ha.”


Letter wasn’t released to the public until october 1st 1888. Many believe it was fabricated by a journalist but the name stuck and killer from that point on went by jack the ripper



Third murder

September 30 1888

Elizabeth Stride found on Berner st

Dead for 30 minutes when examined at 1:15 am

Found by lewis diemshutz

Only throat was cut which led police to believe was interrupted when lewis approached



Fourth murder

Only 45 minutes after murder of elizabeth stride another body was found in mitre square just west of stride murder

Catherine eddowes. Second victim same night

Body severely mutilated including face

Uterus was removed along with left kidney

He walked east away from catherine and back towards elizabeth where along the way he dropped a piece of catherine eddowes apron

Found by alfred long in doorway of apartment block near goulston st

Near apron message written in chalk “the juwes are the men that will not be blame for nothing”

Returning back towards murder sight could suggest he lived in this area



Postcard received by the police station dated october 1st 1888

“I was not codding dear old boss when I gave you the tip. You’ll hear about Saucy Jacky’s work tomorrow double event this time. Number one squealed a bit couldn’t finish straight off had not the time to get ears for the police. Thanks for keeping the last letter back till i got to work again. Jack the Ripper.”

Interesting because nobody would know about it * make little bit about not going around yelling or dixie cup string telephone *

October 13 1888 police spent a week searching every house in the east ends slums but found nothing.

October 16th George Lusk received a letter. Lusk was head of mild end vigilance committee. Comprised of local businessmen to assist the police.  

Received a box with a letter addressed “from hell” with half a human kidney inside.

Thought to be catherine eddowes but was just a prank from a medical student.

* bit about this is how people took it like wouldn’t this be funny*



Fifth murder

November 9th 1888

Mary Kelly found at 13 Miller’s court in her bed by her landlord’s assistant seeking rent

Most gruesome murder she was disemboweled and basically “skinned down”

Landlord said “the sight that we saw i cannot drive away from my mind. It looked more like the work of a devil than of a man.”



When asking around if anybody had seen ripper most described him as

Between 25-35 years old

Between 5’5-5’7

Stocky build, fair complexion, mustache

Wearing a dark overcoat and a tall hat

Scotland yards violent crime command team said that jack the ripper who one could call evil incarnate could be described in appearance as “perfectly sane , frighteningly normal, yet capable of extreme cruelty



Sir melville macnaghten head of criminal investigation department said in 1903 he had a general suspicion of who the killer was

Knew that ripper has basic knowledge of anatomy, possible a doctor

Narrowed his list of suspects down to 3 names

Going to discuss 8 possible killers starting with mcnaghten’s 3



Suspect #1 montague johnson druitt

A barrister (lawyer practice as advocate in higher courts)who had an uncle and cousins who were doctors

Around time of his death was around age of 40 and had an interest in surgery

Possibly lived with his cousin who was practicing medicine close to where the whitechapel murders occured

Month before first canonical murder montague’s mother went insane and montague had written in a note he feared he was also going insane.

In mcnaughtans notes he writes

“From private information I have little doubt but that his own family suspected this man of being the Whitechapel murderer; it was alleged that he was sexually insane”

After final murder montague disappeared only to be found dead in four weeks of last murder

Body found floating in thames river on december 3rd 1888




Michael ostrog

A russian doctor and criminal

Ostrog had been in an asylum previously for homicidal tendencies

Mcnaughten notes that ostrog could not provide a strong alibi for his whereabouts during the murders

Ultimately he was not convicted because there wasn’t enough evidence linking him to the crimes



Suspect #3

Aaron Kosminski

Polish and jewish Resident of whitechapel

Spent time in asylum in 1889 after the last murder

Resided in asylums until his death in 1919

Known for his hatred towards women particularly prostitutes

His appearance matched descriptions provided by the police of a man in mitre square ( night of double murder )

Kosminski’s name recently made headlines being featured in a book titled “naming jack the ripper” by Russel edwards.

He claims that a shawl purchased at an auction contains dna evidence proving kominski is the killer.

the shawl was purchased under the impression that it reportedly was found at the murder scene  on the person of catherine eddowes

Edwards enlisted help of molecular biologist Jari Louhelainen of liverpool’s John Moores University

Believe the blood stained shawl belongs to Catherine Eddowes based off of comparison from one of eddowes’ descendants.

Semen found on shawl matches dna of kosminski descendant

With this discovery many though this case was closed

But the scientist may have madea critical error of nomenclature. Louhelainen identified a mutation in dna on both the shawl and in Eddowe’s relative named karen miller. Mutation believed to be named 314,1C found in 1 in 290,000 people

However is identification was incorrect but actually 315,1C which is a mutation shared by more than 99% of people of european descent * so probably a lot of us have it *



Suspect #4

Notion that jack the ripper was actually a female

Theory called “jill the ripper”

A hunch by famed inspector aberline

While police are searching for a man when should be looking for a woman would make it very easy for killer to slip by unnoticed

Some have pointed out that a midwife would have sufficient anatomical knowledge and blood on her clothing would raise no eyebrows

Thought should be pointed out that all eyewitness testimony points to a man




Prince albert victor christian edward AKA the royal conspiracy

Prince edward known to frequent areas where victims were found

An activity which led to him contracting syphilis which drove him to insanity.

Some believe albert had a child with a local woman and queen victoria demanded that everyone who knew of the child be “taken care of”

believe that the insanity spawned from syphilis drove him to commit the murders himself

Conspiracy theorists believe he was never discovered because royal aids assisted in covering his identity

However this theory is generally considered ludacris because there is no substantial evidence to indicate its credibility




Famous painted walter sickert

A theory posed by crime novelist patricia cornwell

After making millions on her novels cornwell devotes her time to the pursuit of sickert as the ripper

In 2001 spent 2 million pounds buying 32 of sickert’s paintings, letters, and writing desk

*Cornwell went all nicolas cage national treasure cutting up one of sickert’s paintings in search of clues*

Cornwell claims that sickert was obsessed with the ripper which was true

He represented in some of his paintings even titling one “Jack the Ripper’s bedroom”

Cornwell claims one painting mirror the body position of mary kelly

Another painting mimics facial wounds of Catherine eddowes

Accounts as sickert cosplaying as jack the ripper

Cornwell shoots down alibi that sickert was in france at the onset of the murders

She cites sketches  that place him in london in music halls at the time of at least 3 killings

Biggest piece of evidence is  the analysis of forensic paper expert peter bower

Identified sickert’s and jack’s letters coming from a handmade paper run of only 24 possible sheets

The odds of both the ripper and sickert both writing letters on a  batch of paper that only had 24 copies in existence is relatively slim

While that is pretty compelling evidence remember that all the jack the ripper letters are unconfirmed




Joseph Barnett

Lived with mary kelly

Barnett may have lived in 10 different locations in east london making him well-versed in the area and capable of navigating back streets

Worked as a fish porter

Barnett was in love with kelly

According to a telegraph on november 10 1888 barnett referred to mary kelly as “his wife” when she was in fact only a roommate

Barnett disagreed with mary’s life as a prostitute and strived to make money to keep her off the streets

“Marie never went on the streets when she lived with me”

Some theorize that barnett committed the first murders to scare kelly off the streets which worked for a while but when barnett lost his job mary returned to prostitution to make ends meet

Their financial struggles often led to fights and barnett also disliked kelly’s love of gin

This led to one final fight in kelly bringing home two different prostitutes an act that joseph found unacceptable

The fight got violent and a window was smashed

Shortly after barnett moved out and only 10 days later kelly was found dead in her apartment

After murder barnett was questioned for four hours but eventually set free

Having lived there barnett would have intimate knowledge of household including how to unlock door from outside.

Was also aware of kelly’s schedule and tendencies

Details from scene suggest kelly was killed in her sleep and not by a stranger she invited in

Her clothes were folded by the end of the bed  as thought they had been taken off in the ordinary manner and she was wearing a nightgown.

As a fish porter barnett would have some anatomical knowledge

As an associate of kelly’s he would be someone local prostitutes knew allowing him to get close enough for a sneak attack

One newspaper of the time stated that his friends called him jack

Also matches physical description of the ripper’s alleged appearance and psychological profile

Finally, murders allegedly stopped after mary kelly, the final conical victim

Barnett would have no other reason to kill anymore now that his lover, who he was trying to keep off the streets was now dead.




James Maybrick, a cotton merchant

His death coincided with the stopping of the killings

Died one year after the murders

Upper class resided in estate called battlecrease house in liverpool. T

his might not make him a likely suspect as most believe he was a local man.

However all the murders were committed on saturday and sunday and most would assume a wealthy man would have the ability to travel on weekends would also have the benefit of not killing in his own locale.

Diary in his house discovered under the floorboards

Diary is signed “I give my name that all know of me, so what history do tell, what love can do to a gentleman born. Yours truly, jack the ripper”

Also within the diary are intimate details of the killings scientific tests date the diary during the era of the ripper killings

Diary found by mike barrett who admitted that he fabricated the diary only to recant the statement later. Chalking it up to not wanting the publicity.

A gold pocket watch was discovered the watch contains the scratched initials of the five canonical victims. MN AC ES CE MK along with the phrase “I am Jack”  and “J Maybrick”

Scratches were analyzed that suggests the scratches were not done in modern times

Watch dated 1846 and purchased for 225 pounds