Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Jack the Ripper's identity finally uncovered?

With the fragment of human kidney sent in the mail to the police came a letter: "I send you half the kidney I took from one woman ... and the other piece I fried and ate ..." The writer's return address: "From Hell." It was the fall of 1888, and all of London instantly knew that the gruesome missive came from "Jack the Ripper," who had just slashed to death his fourth known victim, 43 year old Catherine Eddowes.

All four women had been pathetic prostitutes, aging and worn, forced to ply their degrading trade in the slum district known as Whitechapel. A veritable cesspool of the most wretchedly impoverished people, it had narrow streets and alleys that led through a filthy maze of gin shops, brothels, and opium dens. Fewer than half the children survived to the age of five; up to seven people were packed into each tiny room of this garbage strewn warren. To fend off starvation in such desperate circumstances, many young women had no alternative but to become streetwalkers. Such women, for unexplained reasons, were the prey of the Ripper, who was never identified nor apprehended.

Mei Trow used modern police forensic techniques, including psychological and geographical profiling, to identify Robert Mann, a morgue attendant, as the killer. His theory, the result of two years intensive research, is explored in a Discovery Channel documentary, Jack the Ripper: Killer Revealed.

Trow's research is rooted in information from a 1988 FBI examination of the Ripper case, which had worked up a comprehensive criminal personality profile.

The portrait drawn up of Jack was as a white male from the lower social classes, most likely the product of a broken home.

It was also thought he would have had a menial job but with some anatomical knowledge, something like a butcher, mortuary or medical examiner's assistant or hospital attendant.

Because of prolonged periods without human interaction, Jack would also have been socially inept

It is known that Mann was from an extremely deprived background. His father was absent for much of his upbringing and he had spent some time as a child in a workhouse.

Trow said: "I wanted to go beyond the myth of a caped man with a top hat and knife, and get to the reality, and the reality is simply that Jack was an ordinary man."


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