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Jack the Ripper

(111 Posts)
Eltonjohnssyrup Tue 13-Mar-18 00:19:57

Not really an AIBU, just posted here for traffic.

What do you think about the investigation searching for Jack the Ripper? Do you think they could have identified him by now using DNA if they wanted to? I do.

I think it would make a huge statement about the importance of women and how much it had increased between the late 1800s and now if we managed to finally identify the killer.

DalekDalekDalek Tue 13-Mar-18 00:24:56

It would be very difficult to get hold of his DNA now. You could try and get it from his victim's bodies but you would risk mixing it up with anyone else who came into contact with the bodies. It would also be difficult because the DNA would have decomposed making it hard to get a complete sequence. And then, who would you compare it to? DNA is only useful is you can compare to someone. You could compare it to the entire population and try and find relatives but it would all be speculative because it would be so hard to confirm that the DNA used in the beginning belonged to him. You would also need everyone to give their DNA to compare with. How many people would volunteer in case they found out that they were related to him?

SuperBeagle Tue 13-Mar-18 00:27:08


There is no DNA, and any DNA they had now would be far too minimal or far too degraded to test. It would also require one of his descendants (close enough to determine a familial DNA link) to have their DNA in the system at present.

It won't happen. I am confident about that.

Graphista Tue 13-Mar-18 00:27:44

I believe the authorities know who he was and did from the end of the murders. That he was caught and either died in the process of being caught or was quietly executed.

That he was an establishment figure or certainly at least an upper class man and the feeling at the time was the authorities hadn't acted quickly enough or with enough effort due to the victims being "worthless" poor prostitutes (although it's thought he killed others too), means that revealing his being an upper class, possibly even well known man would have caused near revolution.

All the dna stuff is just a distraction.

Queenoftheblitz Tue 13-Mar-18 00:28:31

Oh yes if there had been DNA testing I'm sure he would have been caught.
I don't know what can be done now as i can't imagine his DNA survived.
I know there's a shawl privately owned and claims made that it belonged to one of the victims.
The victims were treated quite respectfully at the time. They were called "unfortunates" instead of prostitutes and viewed sympathetically because of the poverty so prevalent then.
Crowds came out for their funerals and wept.
I think the city and met police did work hard on the case but got distracted by the letters sent purporting to be Jack.

HelenaDove Tue 13-Mar-18 00:29:59

I watched a programme where they found a descendant of one of the women he killed. i THINK it was a descendant of Annie Chapman and if i remember rightly the prog was on the Yesterday channel.

Queenoftheblitz Tue 13-Mar-18 00:38:45

Helena I think they have tracked down three of the victims descendants.
I don't think any of the JTR films I've seen have given a true account of how these women lived - always portrayed as brassy when in fact they had all been "respectable" before they turned to drink.

Riverside2 Tue 13-Mar-18 00:57:51

Op "Do you think they could have identified him by now using DNA if they wanted to? I do."

Sorry, do you mean you think they should try to identify him now? I'm a bit confused. Even if there are preserved articles that might have his DNA on it, we couldn't identify him now. Unless you have a particular person in mind who might have left stuff behind.....but even then, what would constitute proof after so many years?

TIRFandProud Tue 13-Mar-18 01:02:48

Why statement do you think it would make?

I think resources could be much better directed where there's a real benefit for victims or their families who are still alive.

Seems like quite a strange question OP

tolerable Tue 13-Mar-18 01:07:33

whos paying the cost?

PigletJohn Tue 13-Mar-18 01:12:48

I had an idea that the "probable suspect" was a Baltic seaman who ended his days in a lunatic asylum.

Raven88 Tue 13-Mar-18 01:24:26

They could use familial DNA.

SuperBeagle Tue 13-Mar-18 01:27:12

They could use familial DNA.

For whom? The victims or Jack?

Aquamarine1029 Tue 13-Mar-18 02:00:46

Any testing would be a waste of time and money. The history behind Jack the Ripper is intriguing, but it just doesn't matter anymore.

steff13 Tue 13-Mar-18 02:00:49

Are you asking if the murders happened in 2018, could they have identified him with DNA? Perhaps, but 2018 Jack the Ripper would likely be aware of modern methods and thus more carful.

Does the Saucy Jack postcard still exist? It may have something from him on it, but you'd have to have something to test it against.

Queenoftheblitz Tue 13-Mar-18 08:23:49

Yes the original Jack postcards and letters still exist but it's generally understood that these were hoaxes.
One letter possibly was from Jack. It was sent with a kidney that he claimed to have taken from Catherine Eddowes. If her dna is on the letter it could be verified by testing her descendants. And if Jack's dna is on it then there's a starting point.
There were some strong suspects but their descendants would have to be tracked.
I agree that a new investigation is a huge waste of resources.

Purplerain101 Tue 13-Mar-18 08:30:50

I saw a documentary on the crime and investigation channel a few months ago about how the great grandson of the serial killer ‘H H Holmes’ believes he was Jack the Ripper as ther is documented evidence that he was in London during the time of the crimes and then went back to America when the crimes stopped

steff13 Tue 13-Mar-18 08:36:25

I think that's been debunked, but I'm not 100% sure.

Queenoftheblitz Tue 13-Mar-18 08:40:33

Hh Holmes was pure evil!
Thing is, there are physical descriptions of JTR as witnesses saw the victims with a man minutes before their deaths.
Some heard his voice so these witness accounts could be compared to physical descriptions.
i just don't believe there can ever be absolute proof of who he was, even if a signed confession exists.
At best there will be "strong evidence" of guilt.

ShatnersWig Tue 13-Mar-18 08:48:00


Jack the Ripper as such almost certainly never existed. The first use came in a letter (one of literally hundreds) and weight of opinion is that it, along with all the others (with one possible but still doubtful exception), were hoaxes and that the original Ripper letter was probably penned by a journalist.

It is also more likely than not that the 5 women generally held as victims of JTR were killed by possibly two, potentially even three different killers. Not, as some authors have claimed, in some mad conspiracy, but totally independent of each other. Murder of prostitutes was hardly unheard of.

Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman and Catharine Eddowes were probably killed by one man. Liz Stride was probably killed by someone else. Mary Kelly may have been killed by the same killer as the aforementioned trio but could have been killed by another.

It is also possible that Martha Tabram was the first victim of the same killer as the aforementioned trio.

OutyMcOutface Tue 13-Mar-18 08:50:15

You are so right! It’s really not that hard. All they would have to do is go back on a time machine, grab a bit of DNA and hey presto! So easy. And so worth the extortionate cost to the tax payer just to solve a hundred year old cold case.

OurMiracle1106 Tue 13-Mar-18 08:54:48

My question is how would you get descendants of Jack the Ripper to consent to DNA testing? If they’ve never been in trouble with the police their dna wouldn’t be on the system and surely dna can only be used to link you to a crime? Not to find out if one of your ancestors did something so long ago? What’s to gain? Unless victims descendants want to I think it should be left to rest.

MarkBorrigan Tue 13-Mar-18 08:57:29

This is so interesting! I agree with Graphista's theory; I've always thought he was a member of the aristocracy or some other high and mighty society member. I don't think there's any point to relaunching an investigation now though.

Queenoftheblitz Tue 13-Mar-18 08:57:53

Shatner I agree with what you say about Liz Stride and Martha Tabram.
But I disagree about prostitute murders. They were not common at all. There was certainly a lot of DV and street abuse but killing like this was rare.
Which is why the case was such big news. JTR has long been considered the first serial killer.

ParanoidGynodroid Tue 13-Mar-18 09:00:24

Did anyone ever read the book by Patricia Cornwell about JTR, where she claimed that Walter Sickert, an English Impressionist artist, was the killer? It was unbelievably bad: full of barely circumstantial evidence, assumptions and contrived arguments, e.g. that Sickert was briefly involved in amateur dramatics therefore was a master of disguise hmm. I believe she also ripped up a valuable painting of Sickert's, an important piece of British art, in an attempt to try and prove something. Awful.

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