Crime

DNA Evidence Reveals Identity Of Jack The Ripper

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

DNA evidence has finally solved the murder mystery that has eluded criminologists since the 19th century.

Researchers say they now know beyond a reasonable doubt that Jack the Ripper was none other than Aaron Kosminski, a Polish immigrant who was committed to a mental asylum at the height of the Ripper’s murder spree.

Kosminksi was a suspect at the time of the murders, according to notes from Chief Inspector Donald Swanson. But over the years more high profile suspects were added to the list, including the Queen’s surgeon Sir William Gull and the artist Walter Sickert.

The Ripper killed at least five people in the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. His victims were usually female prostitutes who worked in the London slums. He is also linked to three other mutilation murders in the area, the last one occurring in February 1891 – the same year Kosminki was committed to an asylum.

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Kosminksi, born in Klodawa, which was then part of the Russian Empire, immigrated to England with his family in 1881. He lived in Whitechapel, working as a hairdresser.

Mental health notes from his doctors indicate he suffered from psychological problems since 1885.

Kosminksi was committed to the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum in February 1891 and remained there until his death in 1919 at age 53.

Finnish DNA expert Dr. Jari Louhelainen examined a shawl from the last confirmed Ripper victim, Catherine Eddowes.

“It has taken a great deal of hard work, using cutting-edge scientific techniques which would not have been possible five years ago,” Louhelainen told the Daily Mail. “Once I had the profile, I could compare it to that of the female descendant of Kosminski’s sister, who had given us a sample of her DNA swabbed from inside her mouth.”

“The first strand of DNA showed a 99.2 percent match, as the analysis instrument could not determine the sequence of the missing 0.8 per cent fragment of DNA,” Louhelainen said. “On testing the second strand, we achieved a perfect 100 per cent match.”

Sources: Metro, Daily Mail

Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / USM MS photos