It’s been nearly 130 years since Jack the Ripper tormented London’s streets. It remains one of the most famous unsolved series of murder cases of all time.
But now – finally – investigators think they know who “Jack the Ripper” really is.
His name: James Maybrick. Based on evidence found in his diary, researchers believe he may be the infamous killer.
A Liverpool cotton salesman, his recently uncovered writings confess to the killing of six women, five in London’s East End, where the Ripper haunted and a another in Manchester.
The Telegraph reports that he ended his 9,000-word confession with “I give my name that all know of me, so history do tell, what love can do to a gentleman born. Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper.”
Researchers knew about the document for 25 years, but most haven’t taken it seriously. Now they believe they can prove its authenticity.
The research team was able to trace the book back to Maybrick’s former home in Liverpool, which changes the 25-year-old narrative that the confession was written long after the killing spree took place.
Maybrick – a wealthy merchant who lived on a large estate – died in 1889, one year after the last murder committed by Jack the Ripper.
The diary was found beneath the floorboards of his mansion by electrical workers in 1992. It then fell into the hands of a former scrap metal dealer, Mike Barrett, who kept the diary-confession secret.
There were other suspects in the murders, including serial killer H.H. Holmes and a physician to Queen Victoria, but the diary – containing the most intimate details of the murders – could be the most damning piece of evidence if it is indeed authentic.
Robert Smith, who published the original diary in 1993, and has written the new book, believes Mr Barrett and those who supplied him with the document, kept this crucial fact secret because they were frightened of being prosecuted.
Mr Smith said: “When the diary first emerged, Mike Barrett refused to give any satisfactory explanation for where it had come from, but after painstaking research, chiefly by Bruce Robinson, we can now show a trail that leads us directly to Maybrick’s home.”
Some of the details of the murders – contained in the confession – could only have been known by the killer himself.
Things were made more confusing when Barrett signed a sworn affidavit claiming he made the whole thing up. He later retracted the confession.
Throughout all this, Mr Smith has never wavered from his belief that the document is genuine.
He explained: “I have never been in any doubt that the diary is a genuine document written in 1888 and 1889.
“The new and indisputable evidence, that on 9th March 1992, the diary was removed from under the floorboards of the room that had been James Maybrick’s bedroom in 1889, and offered later on the very same day to a London literary agent, overrides any other considerations regarding its authenticity.
“It follows that James Maybrick is its most likely author. Was he Jack the Ripper? He now has to be a prime suspect, but the disputes over the Ripper’s identity may well rage for another century at least.”
H/T: Mental Floss