Historian Don Rumbelow challenges Jack the Ripper DNA link to Kosminski
PUBLISHED: 11:03 10 September 2014 | UPDATED: 11:16 10 September 2014
A new claim this week that DNA has finally identified Jack the Ripper 126 years after the Whitechapel Murders has been challenged by a leading historian.
Donald Rumbelow, author of several works on the Victorian serial killer who gouged the bodies of at least five prostitutes murdered in 1888, claims the time elapse is too long for the DNA to be accurate.
“There’s no weight in the DNA theory,” Rumbelow told the East London Advertiser. “The sample is taken from the shawl alleged to have belonged to Catherine Eddowes, one of the victims.
“But it was never on the detailed two-page list of her belongings found at the murder scene. There was never any mention of a shawl among the items.”
The DNA is said to match a descendant of one of the seven main suspects, a deranged 25-year-old Polish immigrant named Aaron Kosminski who lived in Whitechapel at the time, identified in a new book by historical sleuth Russell Edwards who bought the shawl seven years ago.
Edwards claims semen stains on the shawl gave a DNA match to Kosminski’s descendant who he traced.
The shawl was said to have been kept as a gruesome souvenir by a constable at the scene in Mitre Square, Aldgate, on the night of September 30, 1888, and handed down through his descendants.
But the constable didn’t belong to the City of London Police. He was a Metropolitan Police officer stationed in Islington—five miles from Mitre Square, historian Rumbelow points out.
It was likely to have been handled by too many people down the years, including enthusiasts at a two-day Ripper convention held in Mile End last year where it was said to have been on display.
“The shawl would be heavily contaminated,” he added. “I don’t believe the shawl genuinely came from Eddowes.
“There is a problem of provenance about the chronology of the ownership or location of the shawl over the last 126 years.”
Catherine Eddowes, a 46-year-old prostitute living in Flower & Dean Street off Brick Lane, half-a-mile from where she was murdered, was one of two women butchered that night.
The latest theory about the killer is one of 100 that have emerged over the past century-and-a-quarter since the Whitechapel Murders which have named Kominski among a long line of suspects that have included American author Lewis Carroll—and even the Prince of Wales, long since discredited.