Some interesting news this morning for those interested in the tale of Jack the Ripper, the infamous serial killer who stalked and brutally murdered prostitutes in London's East End in 1888.
A shawl supposedly belonging to Catherine Eddows, one of the Ripper's known victims, was recently tested for DNA and two differing profiles turned up, some of it from Catherine Eddows herself and some from semen deposited on it by an unknown male.
One of the major suspects in the Ripper murders was a man called Aaron Kosminski. He was an immigrant Polish Jew and was in fact named as Jack the Ripper by high ranking police officers in the years after the investigation ground it's way into a dead end. Kosminski was supposedly identified by a fellow Jew in the act of murder or very soon thereafter but as Jews in late 19th century London had it tough at the best of times the witness would not go public. Jews didn't dob members of their own faith in to the police. However some police officers in their later years seemed convinced it was him yet were unable to secure evidence or testimony which would prove the fact.
This until now had been conjecture and a vast array of theories and suspects remain in play and my summary of course is sparse and written from memory.
It seems that a relative of Aaron Kosmisnski's sister has given DNA and it has been matched to the stain found on Catherine Eddow's shawl and the mystery of just who Jack the Ripper was may have been solved. Perhaps.
There is some doubt about the chain of evidence and if the shawl does in fact belong to the late Catherine Eddows and the results will have to be reviewed by the peers of those investigators who have announced the findings. We will just have to hold our breath until the results are verified.
Aaron Kosminski was certainly a troubled individual and was committed to a mental asylum in 1891 and died there 28 years later. He is only one of the many men put forward as Jack the Ripper.
I have stood in Mitre Square where Catherine Eddows was murdered and it is still a dark and forbidding place at night with few visitors and a scant eerie glow from the low lighting in the Square all that distinguishes it's modern surroundings from the decrepit dwellings which surrounded it in 1888.
Catherine Eddows was a poor young woman from the hard scrabble streets of 19th century London trying to survive the best way she could the only way she knew how. In all this talk about unmasking Jack the Ripper let us not forget the terrible fate of her and other women who fell afoul of this terrible maniac who seemed to arise from Hell.
Have a nice day.