An article querying whether new advancements in DNA profiling will be able to finally reveal the true identity of the notorious Jack The Ripper?
At the time of writing this article, it is 122 years since the terrible Jack the Ripper murders were committed in Whitechapel, in the East End of London.
The horrific murders were so violent and disturbing that the inhabitants and newspapers of London were morbidly fascinated, and thus the Jack the Ripper legend was born.
There were 11 unsolved murders that took place between the period of 1888 & 1891 (the reign of Jack the Ripper), but only 5 are believed to be the true work of Jack.
The unfortunate victims were:
Mary Ann Nichols murdered on 31st August 1888
Annie Chapman murdered 8th September 1888
Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes both murdered on 30th September 1888
Mary Jane Kelly murdered on 9th November 1888.
Despite London Metropolitan Police assigning their finest men to investigate the grisly murders, the crimes were never solved and the identity of the notorious Jack still remains a mystery to this day.
There have been speculations and theories as to the identity of Jack, but the prime suspects of the day were:
Montague John Druitt
Dr Francis Tumblety
At the time that the murders were committed, there were no forensic scientists, DNA or psychological profilers that could assist the police with solving these terrible crimes.
Nowadays the science and technology applied to solving modern day murders has improved drastically, making it increasingly difficult for someone to get away with these types of terrible crimes. And it is through these new advancements in technology, that will finally help to identify who Jack the Ripper really was.
A breakthrough in DNA profiling was discovered by Professor Ian Findlay, called Cell Track ID. By using this method, Professor Findlay was able to extract the DNA fingerprint from a single cell or strand of hair up to 160 years old.
Letters believing to have been written by Jack the Ripper during his killing spree, were sent to Professor Findlay, of Queensland’s Griffith University. Professor Findlay had hoped to be able to extract DNA from saliva present on the stamps attached to the letters. If the DNA had been successfully extracted, it was to be compared against the DNA of the descendants of the Ripper suspects, and thus reveal the true identity of Jack.
Unfortunately the DNA was too badly degraded, so a full profile could not be compiled (there were insufficient DNA markers present). However, with further developments in DNA profiling it may be possible to discover new ways of enhancing degraded DNA or even to clone degraded DNA sufficiently to be able to compile a full profile of Jack the Ripper and finally reveal who he was.
However, even if the true identity of Jack is finally revealed within my lifetime through DNA cloning, I believe that the stories of Jack will continue to live on for many more years.