Jack the Ripper is the name given to the unidentified serial killer who was murdered several working girls in the impoverished areas of Whitechapel, London in 1888. The actual name 'Jack the Ripper' came about by a letter sent written by someone who claimed to be the murderer. This letter was believed to have been a hoax and possibly sent by a journalist trying to heighten interest in the story. He also had some other nicknames which were "The Whitechapel Murderer" and "Leather Apron".
So who is this famous killer? Some of the suspects from the time were never proven to be the killer still to this day. In those days there was no forensic evidence to go on so the only way to catch a killer was to catch him in the act. More than 100 suspects have been proposed over the years. Some of the names that materialised around the time are Aaron Kosmiski, Michael Ostrog and John Pier to name just a few. Montague John Druitt was one suspect who committed suicide by drowning in 1888. An Inspector at the time Federick Abberline dismissed Druitt as a suspect ad the only evidence against him was the coincidental timing of his suicide which was not long after a murder.
Years passed and still the rippers real identity was unknown. With advancing technique such as forensic techniques which are used today many investigators and historians have tried to uncover his identity. Mei Trow who is an author and historian claimed to have discovered the real identity of Jack the Ripper. Mei also believes the famous Whitchapel murderer was also responsible for killing two more other women.
Mei Trow used modern forensic techniques, including psychological and geographical profiling over two years of intensive research. In conclusion Mei identified Robert Mann as the killer. Robert Mann was a morgue attendant from a deprived background. Mei's findings went on to become a Discovery Channel documentary called Jack the Ripper: Killer Revealed. Professor Laurence Alison who is a Forensic Psychologist at Liverpool University featured in the documentary said: "In terms of psychological profiling, Robert Mann is the one of the most credible suspects from recent years and the closest we may ever get to a plausible psychological explanation for these most infamous of Victorian murders."Mei Trow is just the latest in a long line of theories about who Jack the Ripper was.
At that time the activities of the Ripper were chronicled in the newspapers including the results of the inquiries and the actions taken by the police. Because at the time there was no such thing as forensic evidence or even finger printing, the only way to commit someone of murder was to actually catch them in the act of get them to confess.
To this very day Jack the Ripper has remained popular. This is due to the fact that he was never caught and the mysteries surrounding this killer add to the romance of the story and creating an intellectual puzzle that people still want to solve today.
Since the murders there have been many works of fiction in both books and movies. There was a recent BBC TV series called Whitechapel. Those still fascinated with these unsolved murders can also go on the Jack the Ripper tour in the East end of London. The tour lasts for 2 ½ hours and explores the historical background of the Ripper murders. You get to explore the dark passages and alleys that the murderer used and visit three murder sites and a couple of other possible Ripper sites.
Currently there is a legal case which is being fought out which could have huge implications for the infamous Jack the Ripper story. The true identity of this murderer has never been disclosed but there have been many suspects, more than 100 over the years. Around the time of the murders a few names became suspects including Aaron Kosmiski, John Pier and Michael Ostrog, but there were many more.
Ripperologist Trevor Marriott is fighting Scotland Yard in court to have its 123 year old Ripper case files opened which could potentially give modern day investigators a huge amount of information as to the real identity of the killer. Trevor Marriott is a retired British Police murder squad detective who has conducted a 21st century investigation using all his knowledge and expertise he had gained over his years of experience and has started to uncover startling new facts and evidence. Many of these facts Trevor has uncovered dispel the accepted theories concerning the actual murders.
The argument posed by Scotland Yard is that by disclosing the details of the four ledgers which are currently under lock and key would undermine the system they rely on which enables informants to disclose information with absolute anonymity. If Trevor Marriott wins the case it will be a victory for Ripperologists who have been coming up with numerous theories for who they think the killer was, but it will also be a blow to the confidence of a potential informant who could help with police enquiries.
The case doesn't look to be resolved until the latter part of 2011 but if it does go the way of Trevor Marriott and we get closer to finding out who Jack the Ripper really was, what will Ripperologists argue about in future? A cottage industry has been built around the gruesome story of what happened in the Autumn of 1888 in London's East End. Jack the Ripper walking tours, books and crime conferences have contributed to making murderer and case one of the most famous of all time.
There is plenty of information and websites dedicated to Jack the Ripper for fans to read about. You can go on tours and walk the same streets the Ripper prowled all those years ago. Regardless of the outcome of this case I think people and Ripperologists still be fascinated by the infamous Jack the Ripper story for many years to come
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