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London's 19th century serial killer "Jack the Ripper" was Polish immigrant: DNA expert

Editor: Zhou Minxi 丨Xinhua

09-09-2014 08:29 BJT

LONDON, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- An academic scientist in Liverpool claims to have discovered the identity one of England's most infamous 19th century murderers, Jack the Ripper.

Forensic expert, Dr Jari Louhelainen, a senior lecturer in molecular biology at Liverpool John Moores University, says DNA testing proves Polish migrant Aaron Kosminski, aged 23, was the brutal killer who brought terror to Victorian London more than 120 years ago.

He used cutting-edge technology to link Kosminski with one of the Ripper's victims, Catherine Eddowes.

The forensic work of Dr Louhelainen is outlined in a new book to be published on Tuesday.

The name Jack the Ripper was given to an unidentified serial killer who stalked impoverished areas of London's Whitechapel area in the 1880s.

Victims were female prostitutes who lived and worked in the slums of London. Usually their throats were cut prior to abdominal mutilations and the removal of internal organs. This fuelled speculation at the time that the killer possessed a working knowledge of anatomical science and surgical procedures.

At least five murders, including that of Eddowes, were linked by detectives to the Ripper, but there could have been more Ripper victims. The murders remain unsolved to this day.

Dr Louhelainen was able to extract 126-year-old DNA from an item of clothing, a shawl, found by the body of Catherine Eddowes.

The shawl, bought at a public auction by businessman and amateur sleuth Russell Edwards in 2007, was found to contain DNA from her blood as well as DNA from the killer.

Edwards, 48, enlisted Dr Louhelainen to examine the shawl, sparking a three year scientific analysis of the shawl and the search for the descendants of Catherine Eddowes and Kosminski. In the end, it was DNA coding that confirmed the authenticity of the shawl and the identity of the killer.

Dr Louhelainen was able to prove a 100 percent match that the DNA belonged to Polish migrant Aaron Kosminski.

Mr Edwards said: "The circle is now complete. One of the greatest unsolved crime mysteries of all time has been solved through cutting edge science, historical research and a great deal of determination and good fortune."

At the times of the savage murders of five women in 1880s London, Kosminski lived in the Whitechapel area. He was committed to a mental asylum in 1891 and remained there until he died in 1919. At the time of the killings, Kosminski was a suspect and at one point was placed under surveillance by the police.

In the new book "Naming Jack the Ripper", Russell Edwards details what he says "proves without doubt" that Kosminski was notorious Jack the Ripper.

"Naming Jack the Ripper" will be published as a hardback book by Sidgwick and Jackson on Tuesday.

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