New book claims that Jack the Ripper was – a woman?

Author John Morris points to Lizzie Williams, the wife of a suspect, as the possible culprit.

In 'Jack the Ripper: The Hand of a Woman,' Morris points to doctor's wife Lizzie Williams as the most likely suspect in the killings.

A new book offers an alternate interpretation on the historical mystery of the identity of Jack the Ripper: writer John Morris says “Jack” was a woman.

In “Jack the Ripper: The Hand of a Woman,” Morris posits that the famous serial killer was in fact a woman named Lizzie Williams, the wife of a doctor named Sir John Williams, who himself is often pointed to as a suspect in the case.

“The case for a woman murderer is overwhelming,” Morris told the Birmingham Mail. “There’s absolutely no doubt that the Ripper was a woman. But because everyone believes that the murderer was a man, all the evidence that points to a woman has always been ignored.”

In his book, Morris cites the fact that three of the victims were missing their wombs as a clue pointing to Williams, who was said to be infertile. Morris also claims that one of the victims, Mary Jane Kelly, was having an affair with Sir John Williams, whom Morris says was in charge of abortion clinics in the Whitechapel area where the murders took place. Items of women’s clothing that were discovered in the fireplace of Kelly later, but did not belong to Kelly, also point to a female murderer, says Morris.

Morris also mentions three buttons of the kind that would be on a woman’s boot that were found near Catherine Eddowes, a victim, as evidence.

The murders of five women in 1888 in Whitechapel are commonly ascribed to Jack the Ripper, though many claim that other murdered women were victims of his (or hers) as well.

Molly Driscoll is a Monitor contributor.

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