WHO WAS JACK THE RIPPER?
The number of Jack the Ripper Suspects now runs to well over a hundred. Some of them are highly possible contenders for the mantle of Jack the Ripper, others are just downright ridiculous.
Each year several books come out claiming that the authors have managed to crack the case and have solved the world's greatest murder mystery. Some of them, admittedly, have managed to unearth fascinating little nuggets of information and, in so doing, have added an extra little piece to the jigsaw.
But the majority tend to twist the facts to fit their particular theory as opposed to looking at the theory and demonstrating how it stands up against the known facts about the case.
CONTEMPORARY JACK THE RIPPER SUSPECTS
In the early days, the police appear to have believed that the crimes were being carried out by one of the local gangs, and thus their investigations focussed on these so-called "High-Rip" gangs.
However, by early September 1888, the police had come to the conclusion that, were the local gangs responsible, the publicity and panic that the murders had generated would have led one of the members to inform on the others.
THE POLICE LOOK FOR A LONE ASSASSIN
By the time of the murder of Annie Chapman on 8th September 1888, the police seem to have decided that they were, in fact, looking for a lone assassin and began seeking ways of bringing him to justice.
DID THE MURDERER HAVE MEDICAL KNOWLEDGE?
There was a great amount of speculation that the killer demonstrated some amount of medical and/or anatomical knowledge. To this end the police began looking into the activities of several medical students who had spent time in asylums.
However, this line of enquiry drew a blank as the movements of these students were accounted for and they were ruled out of involvement in the crimes.
WAS HE A BUTCHER OR SLAUGHTER MAN?
Others disagreed that the murderer was demonstrating any great degree of medical skill and opined that his abilities were little more than those of a butcher or slaughter man.
The police, therefore, carried out extensive enquiries amongst the numerous local butchers and slaughter houses. But, yet again, nothing came of their investigations as all the alibis checked out thus eliminating those interviewed as suspects.
DID HE LIVE IN THE AREA?
Throughout the hunt for Jack the Ripper the police remained convinced that they were looking for a suspect who lived in the district and, on the whole, their enquiries and investigation focussed on the neighbourhood where the crimes were occurring.
Over 2,000 interviews were carried out by the Victorian police officers, more than 300 people were actually investigated and 80 people were detained in police custody. It is possible that Jack the Ripper was one of these, but none of the interviews, investigations or detentions yielded anything concrete that enabled the police to point the finger at one suspect and say that he was Jack the Ripper.
A SUSPECT LIST THAT KEEPS GROWING
Ever since the Jack the Ripper Murders ended suspect after suspect has been put forward as being responsible for them. Prince Albert Edward Victor, Lewis Carol, The Freemasons and Dr Barnardo are just a few of the more outlandish Jack the Ripper suspects to have been put forward.
Others, such as Thomas Cutbush, were put forward around the time of the murders, discarded as likely suspects, and then found themselves brought back into the frame thanks to modern research, or their asylum records being opened to the public.
Our Jack the Ripper Suspects resource presents the case both for and against some of the more popular suspects. In so doing you will then be able to sift through the evidence and decide for yourself which of them, if any, you think is the likeliest of all the Jack the Ripper Suspects.