fredag 27 december 2019

May I have your attention please? Will the real Jack the Ripper please stand up?

I repeat, will the real Jack the Ripper please stand up? We're gonna have a problem here ...

During a clear-out of stock at the University of Melbourne's Theology department an old document was found between the pages of a book. The document was a letter, sent in 1889 from a Reverend William Patrick Dott, telling of an attack on a woman named Mary by a 'Kosminski' who ran screaming at her with scissors in London's East End.

The letter ended up on eBay, where amateur 'Ripperologist' Tim Atkinson spotted it and bought it for £242. Tim Atkinson claims the letter is a "game changer" in the Jack the Ripper story because it is evidence that Kosminski could be violent and aggressive.

Aaron Kosminski was not only named as one of the suspects of the Whitechapel Murders of 1888, but the two highest ranking officers with direct responsibility for the Jack the Ripper investigation, also considered him to be a strong suspect for the murders. In fact he was one of three possible Jack the Ripper's named in official police reports.

 Sir Robert Anderson, Assistant Commissioner throughout the murders, wrote in his memoirs 1910:
"...undiscovered murders are rare in London, and the "Jack-the-Ripper" crimes are not in that category ... I will merely add that the only person who had ever had a good view of the murderer unhesitatingly identified the suspect the instant he was confronted with him; but he refused to give evidence against him... In saying that he was a Polish Jew I am merely stating a definitely ascertained fact..."

Anderson never name this suspect in his memoirs, but in 1987 when Chief Inspector Donald Swanson's copy of Anderson's memoir was made public Swanson had made penciled annotations to Anderson's narrative, and in so doing provided a little more information.

When Anderson talks of a witness "unhesitatingly" identifying their suspect but refusing to give evidence against him, Swanson explains that this was because the suspect was also a Polish Jew, and to bear witness would be to send a fellow Polish Jew to the gallows which he did not wish to have on his conscience..."

Swanson goes on to say that, following this identification, the suspect was returned to his brother's house in Whitechapel where the City Police kept him under constant surveillance until he a short time later was taken to Stepney Workhouse and from there sent to Colney Hatch lunatic asylum where he died shortly afterwards. Swanson ends with the statement "Kosminski was the suspect."

At Colney Hatch lunatic asylum the admission book states that Kosminski was not a danger to others, which has made many investigaters dismiss him as the Whitechapel murderer. Tim Atkins now means that the letter describing Kosminskis previouslu unknown attack on this woman proves that he could indeed be a danger to others and that he infact at least once attacked a woman with a sharp object.

Tim Atkinson found out that William Patrick Dott was a helper at All Hallows church, Barking by the Tower, at the time. He has been to All Hallows and matched the signature on his letter with that of the Reverend's from an old parish register from 1897. Paper historians have dated the paper and ink to the relevant period, so Atkinson is convinced the letter is genuine.

There is also a woman named Tilly, mentioned, and Atkinson believes this is a reference to Mathilda Kosminski, Aaron Kosminski's sister.

Usually when a serial killer suddenly stops it's because he has died or gone to prison for some other crime. Kosminski was comitted not long after the last known Ripper-murder.

But Swanson was wrong about Kosminskis death at Calney Hatch. In April, 1894, he was transferred to Leavesden Asylum, where he would spend the remaining twenty-five years of his life, dying there on the 24th of March, 1919.

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