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New Evidence in 126 Year-old Murder Case May Lead to Jack the Ripper
“The Ripper case has been endlessly exploited by authors who are heavy on speculation, but light on facts. It’s time we turn that trend on its head,” said Wescott, who made the controversial decision to omit the killer’s well-known moniker from the title of his book in an effort to distance his work from less scholarly offerings. “I feel that truth will out. People are tired of hype. They’re tired of being duped. They want evidence and solid reasoning. If you have that, people will find you. You don’t need hype.”
Wescott’s research has uncovered a woman who lived either with or next door to five consecutive murder victims and who played a significant role in the investigation of at least one of the dead women. “She was the first to correctly identify the body and at the same time provided a false story about the victim’s final movements. What this means”, says Wescott, “is that she knew in advance who had been murdered. She could only have learned that from the killer.”
Jack the Ripper has been identified in recent years with Victorian artists such as Van Gogh and Walter Sickert, American serial killer Herman Mudgett (alias H. H. Holmes), and in past years with historical personages such as Sir William Gull, physician to Queen Victoria, and even the Queen’s own grandson, HRH Prince Albert Victor Edward, aka ‘Prince Eddy’. None of these theories have stood up to scrutiny and the Ripper’s identity remains wrapped in mystery.
“I’m not interested in selling a suspect,” assures Wescott. “What motivates me is finding out what happened on those dark, cold streets so many years ago. Somebody committed these murders. That somebody did his best not to get caught, and in doing so made a number of mistakes.” The identification of these mistakes offers the first real break in the case in over a century, and the revelations don’t stop there.
THE BANK HOLIDAY MURDERS is the first book to focus on the early murders and the investigations into them. It was a unique approach that resulted in numerous new finds and insights. “Polly Nichols is now largely regarded as the first Ripper victim, though that’s not what investigators thought at the time,” observes Wescott. “The Ripper mystery is a book that most of us picked up and started reading at chapter four. What I wanted to do was start fresh from page one, so that’s what I did. And by the time I got to chapter four I had a completely different perspective on what might really have happened.”
The book also examines the case of a ‘crooked’ police sergeant who attempted to frame a man for the killings and a small group of powerful lodging house owners with numerous connections to the victims, as well as the corrupt officer and the newly discovered accomplice.
About Tom Wescott: He has published extensively on the Ripper case for the past 15 years with work appearing in journals such as Ripperologist, Casebook Examiner, Ripper Notes, and the Whitechapel Society Journal, among others. He has also contributed extensively to Casebook.org and Jtrforums.com, the two largest sources of Ripper-related information on the web. His work has been acknowledged in the works of the most respected authors in the field, including Stewart P. Evans and Keith Skinner (Letters from Hell) and Paul Begg (‘The Complete Jack the Ripper A-Z’ with Martin Fido and Keith Skinner and ‘The Complete and Essential Jack the Ripper’ with John Bennett). The Bank Holiday Murders is his first book.