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DNA tests from shawl sold in Bury reveal identity of Jack the Ripper, scientists claim

PUBLISHED: 18:01 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:26 20 March 2019

Ed Crichton from Lacy Scott and Knight in Bury St Edmunds holding up the catalogue showing the Jack the Ripper-related lot in 2007 Picture: ARCHANT

Ed Crichton from Lacy Scott and Knight in Bury St Edmunds holding up the catalogue showing the Jack the Ripper-related lot in 2007 Picture: ARCHANT

Scientists claim to have unmasked the identity of Jack the Ripper after DNA tests on a blood-stained shawl - which was sold following an auction in Bury St Edmunds - were published.

Edward Crichton from Lacy Scott knights auction centre in Bury St Edmunds holding up 2007 catalogue showing Jack the Ripper related lot. Edward Crichton from Lacy Scott knights auction centre in Bury St Edmunds holding up 2007 catalogue showing Jack the Ripper related lot.

The notorious serial killer who murdered at least five women in Victorian London more than 130 years ago has been unveiled as 23-year-old Polish barber Aaron Kosminski.

Kosminski was a Polish Jewish immigrant who, fleeing persecution in his Russia-controlled homeland, came with his family to England in 1881 and lived in Mile End Old Town.

He was admitted to a string of lunatic asylums, where he died in 1899 of gangrene in the leg.

MORE: Bury St Edmunds plays role in solving Jack the Ripper mystery

In an article featured in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, researchers at Liverpool John Moores University conducted genetic tests on DNA believed to have belonged to the infamous killer.

The DNA sample was taken from a stained shawl found next to the body of Ripper victim Catherine Eddowes, which had traces of blood and semen – the latter of which is believed to be from the suspect.

The shawl was sold for around £5,200 at auction by Bury St Edmunds company Lacy Scott and Knight in March 2007.

Buyer Russell Edwards released a book in 2014 claiming Kosminski, who was one of the chief police suspects at the time, was the killer after using the unpublished results of the university tests.

MORE: 150-year history of Lacy Scott and Knight on display at museum

The report of the study, by doctors Jari Louhelainen and David Miller, said: “We describe the investigation of, to our knowledge, the only remaining physical evidence linked to these murders, recovered from one of the victims at the scene of the crime.

“We applied novel, minimally destructive techniques for sample recovery from forensically relevant stains on the evidence and separated single cells linked to the suspect, followed by phenotypic analysis.

“The mtDNA profiles of both the victim and the suspect matched the corresponding reference samples, fortifying the link of the evidence to the crime scene.”

Ed Crichton, partner at Lacy Scott and Knight, said the shawl didn’t initially meet the reserve.

“At the time we sold it, we weren’t sure but we hoped it would play a part in finding out who Jack the Ripper was,” he said.

“There was quite a lot of Ripperologists there but the initial reserve was too high, so the shawl actually sold after the sale.

“It was fabulous to be able to handle the shawl and to be a small part of the history of the case.”

The 150-year history of Lacy Scott and Knight is currently on display at Moyse’s Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds until April 11.

For more information visit the Moyse’s Hall website

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