Jack the Ripper’s identity may have finally been proven by a recently-uncovered Victorian painting, claims a new book.
Author of The Inevitable Jack the Ripper, Paul Christian, says the 130-year-old piece contains hidden clues to suggest the artist himself was the notorious East London serial killer, brutally murdering five prostitutes in 1888.
Victorian artist Walter Sickert’s painting, sent to Mr Christian in 2013, shows a scene on the streets of London featuring three figures – one is believed to be the Ripper and two are thought to be his victims, Mary Kelly and Martha Tabram.
Victorian artist Walter Sickert’s painting, sent to Mr Christian in 2013, shows a scene on the streets of London featuring three figures – one is believed to be the Ripper and two are thought to be his victims, Mary Kelly and Martha Tabram
In the artwork, a person believed to be the Ripper walks towards a woman resembling Mary Kelly, the last of the Ripper’s five victims.
A second woman wears a shawl decorated with many red spots, possibly referring to the 39 times Martha Tabram was stabbed. She is thought to be the killer’s unofficial sixth victim, many historians claim.
A set of railings in the artwork also appear to show the numbers 1888 – the year of the Ripper’s gruesome campaign.
On the back of Sickert’s painting is a sketch which Mr Christian claims is supposed to be the police chief in charge of the investigation to find the Ripper, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Charles Warren.
Mr Christian (left), 36, said: ‘The evidence I have unearthed can allow us to now confidently point the finger at Walter Sickert (right)’
In the back of the artwork (pictured right), the man circled on the left is Sir Charles Warren (left) and on the right is Jack the Ripper
Mr Christian, 36, said: ‘The evidence I have unearthed can allow us to now confidently point the finger at Walter Sickert and a conspiracy of arty types behind the Jack the Ripper case.
WHO WERE JACK THE RIPPER’S VICTIMS?
Jack the Ripper’s victims were Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly.
Nichols was discovered at around 3.40am on August 31, 1888 in Buck’s Row (now Durward Street), Whitechapel. Her throat was cut twice and her lower abdomen had some incisions.
Chapman’s body was discovered at about 6am on September 8 near a doorway in the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields. Her throat was also cut twice, her abdomen was slashed open and her uterus was removed.
The corpse of Elizabeth Stride, pictured
The corpse of Annie Chapman, pictured
Stride and Eddowes’ murders were referred to as a ‘double event’ as they were both found within an hour of each other on September 30.
Kelly’s mutilated and disembowelled body was discovered at 13 Miller’s Court, off Dorset Street, Spitalfields, November 9. Her throat had been severed down to the spine, the abdomen almost emptied of its organs and her heart was missing.
‘Sickert was certainly a major suspect before this, but there are details in the painting that only the killer could have known.’
The author is not the only one to suggest such a theory.
Writer Patricia Cornwell has published two books claiming Sickert to be the real Jack the Ripper: Jack the Ripper—Case Closed and Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert.
Yet the idea is not believed by many, despite Sickert claiming he lived in Jack the Ripper’s old home and painting a scene called Jack the Ripper’s Bedroom, which included his own figure.
Stewart Evans, an expert on Jack the Ripper disregarded the findings as having a lack of ‘genuine evidence to suggest that Sickert was a murderer’, reported the Sun.
Other suggestions include Monatgue John Druitt, a schoolmaster who was fired in 1888 and died of suspected suicide a month later.
Crime historian Dr Jan Bondeson named Dutch sailor Hendrik de Jong as a prime suspect for the most notorious set of unsolved murders in history.
At the time of the Whitechapel murders, de Jong is believed to have worked as a steward on board a ship which made frequent trips from Rotterdam to London.
This provided him with the perfect means of getting out of the country after his heinous crimes.
He later murdered two of his ex-wives in his native Netherlands in 1893 and bludgeoned to death two women above a pub before attempting to set their bodies on fire in Belgium in 1898.
To this day, Jack’s identity remains a mystery.
At the time, police suspected the Ripper must have been a butcher, due to the way his victims were killed and the fact they were discovered near dockyards, where meat was brought into the city.
The victims were Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly. Each one was found in the early hours of the morning around Whitechapel.
They were all associated with the Ripper as they were all cut at the throat and heavily mutilated.
In the artwork, a person believed to be the Ripper walks towards a woman resembling Mary Kelly (pictured), the last of the Ripper’s five victims
WHO WAS JACK THE RIPPER?
Jack the Ripper is thought to have killed at least five young women in Whitechapel, East London, between September and November 1888, but was never caught.
Numerous individuals have been accused of being the serial killer.
At the time, police suspected the Ripper must have been a butcher, due to the way his victims were killed and the fact they were discovered near to the dockyards, where meat was brought into the city.
There are several alleged links between the killer and royals. First is Sir William Gull, the royal physician. Many have accused him of helping get rid of the prostitutes’ bodies, while others claim he was the Ripper himself.
A book has named Queen Victoria’s surgeon Sir John Williams as the infamous killer. He had a surgery in Whitechapel at the time.
Another theory links the murders with Queen Victoria’s grandson, Prince Albert Victor, the Duke of Clarence.
At one point, cotton merchant James Maybrick was the number one suspect, following the publication of some of his diary which appeared to suggest he was the killer.
Some believe the diary to be a forgery, although no one has been able to suggest who forged it.
Other suspects include Montague John Druitt, a Dorset-born barrister. He killed himself in the Thames seven weeks after the last murder.
George Chapman, otherwise known as Severyn Kłosowski, is also a suspect after he poisoned three of his wives and was hanged in 1903.
Another suspected by police was Aaron Kosminski. He was admitted to Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum and died there.
Dr Thomas Neill Cream poisoned four London prostitutes with strychnine and was hanged in 1892.
Some of the more bizarre links include Lewis Carroll, author of the Alice in Wonderland books, who taught at Christ Church until 1881 – which was at the forefront of the Ripper murder scenery.
Winston Churchill’s father – Lord Randolph Churchill – has also been named as a potential suspect.
Crime writer Patricia Cornwell believes she has ‘cracked’ the case by unearthing evidence that confirms Walter Sickert, an influential artist, as the prime suspect. Her theories have not been generally accepted.
Author William J Perring raised the possibility that Jack the Ripper might actually be ‘Julia’ – a Salvation Army soldier.
In The Seduction Of Mary Kelly, his novel about the life and times of the final victim, he suggests Jack the Ripper was in fact a woman.