We’ve all heard the story of Jack the Ripper, the unidentified serial killer who was famous for the Whitechapel killings in London in 1888. Though there were hundreds of suspects thought to be the real Jack the Ripper, no one was ever convicted for the murders.
Now, with the help of the latest developments in forensic science, DNA evidence on the shawl of Catherine Eddowes, one of Jack the Ripper’s victims, has shown that one of the key suspects in the Whitechapel killings was indeed Jack the Ripper.
Businessman Russell Edwards, 48, bought the shawl from an auction and sought help from a professional in order to come up with the identity of Jack the Ripper. Dr. Jari Louhelainen is an expert in the analysis of genetic evidence from historical crime scenes.
According to Mirror UK, Louhelainen compared the 126-year-old DNA from the victim’s shawl to the DNA of the victim’s relatives as well as the DNA from the suspects’ relatives and found one of the suspect’s in the case was a perfect match – a Polish immigrant named Aaron Kosminski who moved to London from Russia in the early 1880’s.
Edwards shared to Daily Mail UK how he came upon the shawl of Eddowes.
“It was in March 2007, in an auction house in Bury St Edmunds, that I first saw the blood-soaked shawl. It was in two surprisingly large sections – the first measuring 73.5 inches by 25.5 inches, the second 24 inches by 19 inches – and, despite its stains, far prettier than any artifact connected to Jack the Ripper might be expected to be.”
Edwards said that the shawl was found by the body of Eddowes soaked in blood. He also did his own research and said that the previous owner had a relative who was a police officer present on the crime scene.
Testing of the shawl started in 2011, when Dr. Louhelainen made use of photographic analysis in order to determine what the stains were on the shawl. Results indicated that they were blood stains and not only that, they were consistent with arterial blood spatter that is typically caused by slashing, which is how Eddowes was killed. Further studies showed that there was semen on the shawl. Additionally, Louhelainen found the presence of kidney cells, which is consistent to the murder as Eddowes’ kidney was removed by Jack the Ripper.
DNA was extracted from Eddowes’ and Kosminski’s descendants and both were a match, proving that the shawl is authentic, and that Kosminski was in the crime scene.
Kosminski was a 23-year-old hairdresser in London when the killings took place, and he resided a few hundred yards away from one of the victims’ residence. Reports say that Kosminski was most likely a paranoid schizophrenic. At the time of the murders, the police had no evidence to convict Kosminski, but he was kept under surveillance and stayed in mental asylums until his death.
Dr. Jari Louhelainen also shared his findings.
“Because of the genome amplification technique, I was able to ascertain the ethnic and geographical background of the DNA I extracted. It was of a type known as the haplogroup T1a1, common in people of Russian Jeweish ethnicity. I was even able to establish that he had dark hair. Now that it’s over, I’m excited and proud of what we’ve achieved, and satisfied that we have established, as far as we possibly can, that Aaron Kosminski is the culprit.”
[Images via BBC America / Movies Pictures]