Author says he's discovered Jack the Ripper's identity

Russell Edwards, author of 'Naming Jack the Ripper,' claims DNA findings confirm who was responsible for the crimes attributed to the serial killer.

'Naming Jack the Ripper' is by Russell Edwards.

An author says he has discovered the identity of notorious 19th-century serial killer Jack the Ripper.

In his book "Naming Jack the Ripper," Russell Edwards details how DNA evidence was used to match an item left behind at a crime scene with the man he says is the criminal. Edwards believes Aaron Kosminski, a Polish immigrant, was behind the crimes. He had come up many times before when suspects for the crime were discussed, according to the Times of London.

At an auction in 2007, Edwards obtained a shawl with blood and other DNA evidence on it that he says was discovered next to one of the victims, Catherine Eddowes. He worked with scientist Jari Louhelainen and according to the International Business Times, Louhelainen compared DNA he says was on the shawl to DNA from a descendant of Eddowes and said the two matched. He and Dr. David Miller then compared DNA on the shawl that could be from Kosminski to DNA from a descendant of Kosminski and said the two also matched.

Edwards identified himself as an “armchair detective,” according to the Guardian, and said his identification of Kosminski is “definitely, categorically and absolutely” the answer.

“I’ve got the only piece of forensic evidence in the whole history of the case,” he said of the shawl. “I’ve spent 14 years working on it, and we have definitively solved the mystery of who Jack the Ripper was. Only non-believers that want to perpetuate the myth will doubt. This is it now – we have unmasked him… When we discovered the truth it was the most amazing feeling of my entire life.”

However, others are casting doubts on the proposed solution. Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, who came up with the technique of DNA fingerprints, told the Independent that it is an “interesting but remarkable claim that needs to be subjected to peer review, with detailed analysis of the provenance of the shawl and the nature of the claimed DNA match with the perpetrator's descendants and its power of discrimination; no actual evidence has yet been provided.” And David Rumbelow, identified as an expert of the case by The Times, said the shawl was not on a police list of what was found near Eddowes’ body, while Richard Cobb, who is in charge of conventions about the case and tours, told The Times that the shawl was near Eddowes’ descendants during a 2007 conference, which could be the source of the family DNA.

“The shawl has been openly handled by loads of people and been touched, breathed on, spat upon,” he said.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.