A series of murders that took place in the East End of London from August to November 1888 were blamed on an unidentified assailant known as Jack the Ripper.
There has been much speculation over the years as to who he was, so with this post we're going to go over the suspects list.
|Montague John Druitt|
Montague John Druitt (15 August 1857 – early December 1888) was a Dorset-born barrister who worked to supplement his income as an assistant schoolmaster in Blackheath, London, until his dismissal shortly before his suicide by drowning in 1888. His decomposed body was found in the Thames near Chiswick on 31 December 1888. Some modern authors suggest that Druitt was homosexual, that he was dismissed because of this and that it may have driven him to suicide. However, his mother and his grandmother both suffered mental health problems and it is possible that he was dismissed because of an underlying hereditary psychiatric illness. His death shortly after the last canonical murder (which took place on 9 November 1888) led Assistant Chief Constable Sir Melville Macnaghten to name him as a suspect in a memorandum of 23 February 1894. However, Macnaghten incorrectly described the 31-year-old barrister as a 41-year-old doctor. On 1 September, the day after the first canonical murder, Druitt was in Dorset playing cricket, and most experts now believe that the killer was local to Whitechapel, whereas Druitt lived miles away on the other side of the Thames in Kent. Inspector Frederick Abberline appeared to dismiss Druitt as a serious suspect on the basis that the only evidence against him was the coincidental timing of his suicide shortly after a murder considered by some to be the final one in the series.
|James Thomas Sadler|
|William Henry Bury|
William Henry Bury (25 May 1859 – 24 April 1889) had recently moved to Dundee from the East End of London, when he strangled his wife Ellen Elliott, a former prostitute, on 4 February 1889. He inflicted extensive wounds to her abdomen after she was dead and packed the body into a trunk. On 10 February, Bury went to the local police and told them his wife had committed suicide. He was arrested, tried, found guilty of her murder, and hanged in Dundee. A link with the Ripper crimes was investigated by police, but Bury denied any connection, despite making a full confession to his wife's homicide. Nevertheless, the hangman, James Berry, promoted the idea that Bury was the Ripper.
|Dr Thomas Neill Cream|
Dr Thomas Neill Cream (27 May 1850 – 15 November 1892) was a doctor secretly specialising in abortions. He was born in Glasgow, educated in London and Canada, and entered practice in Canada and later in Chicago, Illinois. In 1881 he was found guilty of the fatal poisoning of his mistress's husband. He was imprisoned in the Illinois State Penitentiary in Joliet, Illinois, from November 1881 until his release on good behaviour on 31 July 1891. He moved to London, where he resumed killing and was soon arrested. He was hanged on 15 November 1892 at Newgate Prison. According to some sources, his last words were reported as being "I am Jack the...", interpreted to mean Jack the Ripper. However, police officials who attended the execution made no mention of this alleged interrupted confession. As he was still imprisoned at the time of the Ripper murders, most authorities consider it impossible for him to be the culprit. However, Donald Bell suggested that he could have bribed officials and left the prison before his official release, and Sir Edward Marshall-Hall suspected that his prison term may have been served by a look-alike in his place. Such notions are unlikely, and contradict evidence given by the Illinois authorities, newspapers of the time, Cream's solicitors, Cream's family and Cream himself.
|Thomas Hayne Cutbush|
|Frederick Bailey Deeming|
|Carl Ferdinand Feigenbaum|
|Robert Donston Stephenson|
James Maybrick (24 October 1838 – 11 May 1889) was a Liverpool cotton merchant. His wife Florence was convicted of poisoning him with arsenic in a sensational, and possibly unjust, trial presided over by Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, the father of another modern suspect James Kenneth Stephen. In her book, Jack the Ripper: The American Connection author Shirley Harrison asserted James Maybrick was both Jack the Ripper and the Servant Girl Annihilator of Austin, Texas. A diary purportedly by Maybrick, published in the 1990's by Michael Barrett, contains a confession to the Ripper murders. In 1995, Barrett confessed to writing the diary himself, and described the process of counterfeiting the diary in detail. He swore under oath that he and his wife, Anne, had forged it. Anne Barrett, after their divorce, later denied forgery, and their story changed several times over the years. The diary was discredited by historians who pointed to factual errors in relation to some of the crimes, and document experts pronounced the diary a fake; the handwriting does not match that of Maybrick's will, and the ink contains a preservative not marketed until 1974.
|Walter Richard Sickert|
James Kenneth Stephen (25 February 1859 – 3 February 1892) was first suggested as a suspect in a 1972 biography of another Ripper suspect, Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale by Michael Harrison. Harrison dismissed the idea that Albert Victor was the Ripper but instead suggested that Stephen, a poet and one of Albert Victor's tutors from Trinity College, Cambridge, was a more likely suspect. Harrison's suggestion was based on Stephen's misogynistic writings and on similarities between his handwriting and that of the "From Hell" letter, supposedly written by the Ripper. Harrison supposed that Stephen may have had sexual feelings for Albert Victor, and that Stephen's hatred of women arose from jealousy because Albert Victor preferred female company and did not reciprocate Stephen's feelings. However, Harrison's analysis was rebutted by professional document examiners. There is no proof that Stephen was ever in love with Albert Victor, although he did starve himself to death very shortly after hearing of Albert Victor's death. In 1978, Frank Spiering further developed the theory in his book Prince Jack, which depicted Albert Victor as the murderer and Stephen as his lover. The book is widely dismissed as a sensational fiction based on previous theories rather than genuine historical research. Spiering claimed to have discovered a copy of some private notes written by another suspect, Sir William Gull, in the library of the New York Academy of Medicine and that the notes included a confession by Albert Victor under a state of hypnosis. Spiering further suggested that Albert Victor died due to an overdose of morphine, administered to him on the order of Prime Minister Lord Salisbury and possibly Albert Victor's own father, Edward VII of the United Kingdom. The New York Academy of Medicine denies possessing the records Spiering mentioned, and when Spiering was offered access to the Royal Archives, he retorted: "I don't want to see any files."
Francis Thompson (18 December 1859 – 13 November 1907) was an ascetic and influenced the young J. R. R. Tolkien, who purchased the Works of Francis Thompson in 1913–14. Perceived as a devout Catholic, in 1889 Thompson wrote the short story "Finis Coronat Opus" (Latin: "The End Crowns the Work"). It features a young poet sacrificing women to pagan gods, seeking hell's inspiration for his poetry in order to gain the fame he desires. Thompson is alternatively seen as a religious fanatic or a madman committing the actions described in his story. In 1877 Thompson failed the priesthood and in the Autumn 1878 he entered his name on the Manchester Royal Infirmary register. The infirmary, in which he studied for the next six years as a surgeon, required that its students have a strong physique for the gruelling workload. The study of anatomy, with dissection classes, was a major part of study from the first term. Between 1885 and 1888 Thompson spent the majority of his time homeless, living in the Docks area south of Whitechapel. Thompson tried a number of occupations. As well as a surgeon and a priest, Thompson tried being a soldier, but was dismissed for failing in drill. He also worked in a medical factory. This may have been where, apart from his years as a surgeon, Thompson procured the dissecting scalpel which he claimed to have possessed when he wrote to the editor of the ‘Merry England’ in January 1889 of his need to swap to a razor for shaving.
|Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale|
|Sir John Williams|
There was no evidence against Barnardo, Benelius, Puckridge or Sanders. According to Donald McCormick, other suspects included mountebank L. Forbes Winslow, whose own suspect in the case was a religious maniac, G. Wentworth Bell Smith. Most recently, morgue assistant Robert Mann was added to the long list of suspects. Named suspects who may be entirely fictional include "Dr Stanley", cult leader Nicolai Vasiliev, Norwegian sailor "Fogelma", and Russian needlewoman Olga Tchkersoff.
We may never know the the true identity of 'The Ripper' but who do you think the main suspect is? is it even a name that's on this list?