Allegations made earlier this year that Jack the Ripper had finally been unmasked thanks to DNA evidence are now being called into question as some experts assert that an error may have been caused by a misplaced decimal point in the calculations.
Dr. Jari Louhelainen claimed to have identified Jack the Ripper, after examining genetic evidence on a shawl found next to one of the killer’s victims, according to The Daily Mail. DNA samples were matched to Aaron Kosminski, a suspect, and Catherine Eddowes, one of the Ripper’s victims. Scientists now claim, however, that Louhelainen made an error in his calculations, and that the 126-year-old mystery of Jack the Ripper’s identity is still unsolved.
— Video Forensics (@Video_Forensics) October 19, 2014
The apparent error has been highlighted by four experts with knowledge of DNA analysis, according to The Independent, after first being noted by Australian crime enthusiasts on casebook.org. The experts, including Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, inventor of genetic fingerprinting, assert that this basic flaw means that no connection can be drawn between Kosminski and Eddowes, relegating any claim that the 23-year-old Polish immigrant barber was actually Jack the Ripper to the realm of conjecture.
— Salon.com (@Salon) October 18, 2014
The recent interest in Kosminski’s connection to the Ripper case stems from a book published earlier this year by Russell Edwards, Naming Jack The Ripper. In 2007, Edwards purchased the shawl from which the DNA was extracted, as The Inquisitr noted, on the understanding that it had been found next to one of the Ripper’s victims.
“I’ve got the only piece of forensic evidence in the whole history of the case,” Edwards asserted. “I’ve spent 14 years working, and we have finally 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.”
Dr. Louhelainen identified a global private mutation in the DNA, 314.4C, said to occur in only one of every 290,000 people. The experts assert, however, that an “error of nomenclature” occurred, and that the mutation in question is actually 315.5C, which is shared by more than 99 percent of people of European descent. According to the publishers of Naming Jack The Ripper, however, the book’s conclusions are the result of more than just DNA evidence.
“The author stands by his conclusions,” a spokesperson for Sidgwick & Jackson asserted. “We are investigating the reported error in scientific nomenclature. However, this does not change the DNA profiling match and the probability of the match calculated from the rest of the haplotype data. The conclusion reached in the book, that Aaron Kosminski was Jack the Ripper, relies on much more than this one figure.”
[Image: Mary Evans Picture Library via The Daily Mail]