The crimes of Jack the Ripper make up one of the most famous unsolved murder cases of all time. Now, nearly 130 years after those gruesome murders cast a shadow over London, researchers believe they’ve uncovered the identity of their perpetrator.
As the Telegraph reports, the claim is based on evidence from a diary that belonged to a Liverpool cotton salesman named James Maybrick in the late 19th century. In the diary, Maybrick describes killing six women—five in London’s East End where the Ripper's historic murders occurred and one in Manchester. He signed the 9000-word volume: "I give my name that all know of me, so history do tell, what love can do to a gentleman born. Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper."
Jack the Ripper researchers have been aware of the document since it was discovered 25 years ago. While most experts have been hesitant to take it seriously, one team, led by Withnail & I writer and director Bruce Robinson, now believes it can prove the diary’s authenticity.
The team was able to trace the book back to Maybrick’s former home in Liverpool, which challenges the idea that the account was forged long after the killing spree took place. Maybrick, an affluent merchant who lived on a estate called Battlecrease House, died in 1889, one year after the last murder attributed definitively to the Ripper.
According to the research team, the diary was recovered from beneath the floorboards of his mansion by a group of electrical workers in 1992. From there it fell into the hands of Mike Barrett, a former scrap metal dealer from Liverpool, who kept the origins of its discovery a secret in order to avoid legal repercussions.
Suspects including H.H. Holmes and a former royal obstetrician have been accused of committing the brutal acts of 1888. The diary, which contains intimate details of the murders, could be the most damning piece of evidence in the century-old murder case if it is indeed authentic.
The transcript of the diary was first published in 1993 by Robert Smith. The follow-up to that discovery, 25 Years of The Diary of Jack the Ripper: The True Facts by Robert Smith, will be released with the new research on September 4.