THE search to uncover the identity of Jack the Ripper appears to be over.
The alleged identity of Jack the Ripper, the infamous murderer of at least five women in the late 1800s, has been revealed.DNA on a shawl found near one of the victims, Catherine Eddowes, reportedly contains a match to both her and one of the chief suspects, Aaron Kosminsky. A Polish immigrant, Kosminki was initially one of the suspects during the string of murders in London’s East End.
The Polish hairdresser, who moved to England with his family in 1881, was committed to a mental asylum at the peak of Ripper hysteria. Kosminski was born in Poland in 1865 before moving to Whitechapel, England.
The breakthrough came when Dr Jari Louhelainen, an expert in historic DNA, was commissioned to study a shawl found with Eddowes, the second-last “confirmed” victim of the Ripper more than 125 years ago.
The shawl — which still retained historic stains — had been bought by businessman Russell Edwards at an auction in 2007. It has survived without ever being washed and maintained genetic material.
“It has taken a great deal of hard work, using cutting-edge scientific techniques which would not have been possible five years ago,” Dr Louhelainen told a British newspaper.
“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.”
The murders attributed to Jack the Ripper began in 1888, with up to 11 deaths around the Whitechapel area linked to the killer.
Frances Coles, believed to be the Ripper’s last victim, died in February 1891 — the same year Kosminski was forcibly put in Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum.
He remained in mental health facilities until his death in 1919, aged 53.