Not too long ago, I wrote about the “Murder Victims of Jack the Ripper – Who Were They?” For more than a century, the Whitechapel Murders remained a debate and intrigued many people, because there were hundreds of suspected Jack the Ripper personalities named during the period of investigation. While there were many theories and conjectures about whom Jack the Ripper was, none of those convicted or suspected satisfied the Ripper’s profile convincingly.
Some theories pointed towards signs that the Ripper was a doctor, someone educated and from an upper class in the society, and someone who knew the Whitechapel district well enough. This theory does sound plausible, but then it causes distrust and fear about the medical profession. It also suggests that the rich would exploit the poor for heinous acts and brutal murders.
Others speculated that the Ripper was a butcher or a tradesman who lived in the Whitechapel, and he worked through the week, which explains why the murders typically happened over or near the weekend.
My List of Suspected Jack the Ripper Personalities
Nonetheless, there were several alleged suspects years after the investigation. Contemporary documents linked people to the case and accused people. Most of the suspects in the Ripper Murders case have been dead for a while, which allows us to suspect anyone without consequences. Based on the substantial historical evidence, here’s a list of people who’ve gone down in history as the most likely suspects arrested:
Montague John Druitt
Born on 15 August 1857, and died on December 1888, his birthplace was Wimborne Minister (Dorset). He worked as the assistant schoolmaster in Blackheath, while he was a barrister. The Assistant Chief Constable, Sir Melville Macnaghten was the one who named him the ripper when he found Montague John’s body in the Thames, decomposed, on 31 December 1888. The cause of death based on evidence was suicide by drowning. Authorities considered him the ripper because his death followed that of Mary Jane Kelly, which happened on 9 November 1888. However, nothing else had any connection to the Whitechapel murders.
In earlier investigations, Macnaghten had mistakenly documented Montague as a doctor, 41 years old, and not as a barrister, and he was actually 31 years old at that time. His home was several miles away from Whitechapel, in Kent, and on 1 September 1888, on the day of the first of the canonical murders, he was playing cricket. He had an alibi. These details later reduced suspicions about his being a ripper. Before Montague committed suicide, he had been relieved of his duties as a schoolmaster. Although there is no proof of this, investigators assumed the reason was that he was homosexual, which was a taboo at that time. This likely led to his suicide. Moreover, his mother suffered from mental illness, which could mean his dismissal was due to fears of hereditary mental health disorders.
Seweryn Klosowski or George Chapman
Lived between 14 December 1865 and 7 April 1903, George Chapman migrated to the UK from Poland, where he was born. He emigrated sometime between 1893 and 1894. After his arrest for murdering three of his wives, Chapman died due to hanging as punishment for the murders. He used tartar emetic, a potent arsenic poison that leads to very painful death, to kill his victims. During day hours, he worked as a barber in Whitechapel. Abberline, the Chief Inspector at that time, believed he was the ripper and continued to believe so after Chapman hung. However, many experts on the case don’t agree with Abberline because Chapman’s methods were not like those of the ripper. He chose to poison over butchering.
He lived between 11 September 1865 and 24 March 24, 1919. His birth name was Aron Mordke Kosminski, and he had Polish origins and he immigrated to Britain in 1880s. He was a Jew and worked as a hairdresser in Whitechapel during the time of ripper incidences. He had been an inmate at the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum in 1891. However, it was several years later that documents that suggested that he is a murder surfaced. Some people speculate that Kosminski was confused with another Polish Jew, Aaron Cohen (also known as David Cohen), who had violent tendencies, unlike Kosminski. Cohen was the same age as Kosminski.
The police report said that there was a strong reason to believe that Kosminski had hatred for women and homicidal tendency. However, he died in the asylum, in 1919.
He became the suspect and became famous as the “Leather Apron” after Mary Ann Nichols and Annie Chapman’s murders. He lived between 1850 and 1897. During the time of the Whitechapel murders, he was working as a bootmaker. Sergeant William Thicke arrested him on 10 September 1888 because he believed that Pizer assaulted prostitutes. However, he had alibis, which later cleared him of all allegations. There was no concrete evidence pointing towards his involvement in the Whitechapel murders, but he had a stabbing incidence on his record.
An Irish-American, Tumblety worked as an “Indian Herb” doctor and made a fortune of it by selling across the U.S. and Canada. He had murdered someone in Boston and escaped prosecution after spending three weeks in prison. Tumblety admitted despising women, especially prostitutes. He had become sour after an earlier marriage to a prostitute. He had allegedly hosted an all-men dinner party at Washington D.C. where he displayed preserved women reproductive organs and proudly boasted that they came from “every class of women”.
Authorities arrested Tumblety as a suspect in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in 1865. However, they released him without charge. Once again, authorities arrested him on 7 November 1888 for “gross indecency”, engaging in homosexuality, which was an offense at that time. He escaped to France upon bail and then moved to the United States. He became a suspect in the Ripper Murders because of his dubious self-promotion and criminal charges.
William Henry Bury
Executed at Dundee (Scotland) Henry made a reputation for the murder of his wife. His wife was a former prostitute. There were some similarities between his wife’s murder and the Whitechapel murders. Bury was a resident of London’s East End during the period of the Ripper Murders, which made him a major suspect. The hangman, James Berry, also suspected that Bury was the ripper.
He used a rope to strangle Ellen, his wife and then inflicted several postmortem abdomen wounds using a penknife. After that, he stuffed the body into a trunk and hid it in the flat for six days.
It was on 10 February 1889 that he went to the central police station at Dundee to report his wife’s death as a suicide. He claimed waking up drunk to find his wife dead and instead of seeing a doctor; he cut her up and hid her in the trunk. William also said he was afraid the authorities would arrest him as suspected Jack the Ripper.
The crime scene had her hair rolled on the rope used to strangle her, a penknife smeared with her blood and flesh, blood-stained clothes along with some of Ellen’s belongings. There was no furniture in the flat, which pointed to the act of destroying evidence.
At the back of Bury’s flat, there was a chalk graffiti saying, “Jack Ripper is at the back of this door”, and “Jack Ripper is in this seller.” Assumingly, a local boy wrote these but there was never an identity of the person.
Dr. Thomas Neill Cream
The cream was the oldest of eight siblings, born in Glasgow (Scotland), and later moved to Quebec, Canada. He studies medicine, married, and moved to London to practice. His wife died of a mysterious illness soon. Then Crème began performing illegal abortions for the local prostitutes and was even a suspect in the death of one woman, but someone acquitted the charges later. However, after another death, Cream could not escape justice. The victim was Daniel Stott, who suffered from epilepsy and took frequent medications from Cream. Cream had an affair with Daniel’s wife, Julia and conspired to give Daniel pills contaminated with Strychnine. His conviction was life imprisonment but released ten years later.
The cream was in London in October 1891, where prostitutes began to die from Strychnine poisoning. Some names that were victims of this method of murders were Matilda Clover, Nellie Donworth, Emma Shrivell, and Alice Marsh. They had all described the man as one with a mustache, tall, and he gave them medicine as they lay dying in pain.
Matilda’s death in 1892 led to his conviction as her murderer. Before he hanged on 16 November 1892, his last words were, “I am Jack…” However, at the time of the Whitechapel murders, he was serving his time in prison. Some people believe that he could have snuck out through bribery and corruption to commit the Ripper Murders.
Thomas Hayne Cutbush
Cutbush lived between 1864 and 1903 and suffered from a violent and disturbed youth. As a result, he became clinically insane at about 1888. He wandered the streets of London throughout the Ripper Murders, which made him a likely suspect. He was at the Lambeth Infirmary for treatment in 1891. Thomas suffered from delusions due to syphilis and ranted threats about cutting the staff at the Infirmary open. He had stabbed a woman at the infirmary in the buttocks once and attempted to stab another woman too. In 1891, they moved him to his new location, at the Broadmoor Hospital, where he remained until he died in 1903.
This suspect lived between 1858 and 1926, and he is none other than the famous Prince Albert Victor – the Duke of Clarence and Avondale. There has been much speculation and gossips linking him to the Whitechapel murders, in fact, some famous writers have written books with logical explanations that could confirm that Prince Albert was a major suspect. The story centers on his secret marriage to Annie Crook, a prostitute and having a child, which compromises the royal lineage. However, facts about Prince Albert Victor go against this theory.
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