Wednesday, May 04, 2005

My Ripper Was a Sailor

The popular wisdom says that Jack the Ripper, the serial killer who terrorized London in 1888, was a surgeon; he mutilated his victims with scientific precision. A new book poses a contrary theory: Jack was a sailor responsible for not only the killings in Whitechapel but also more in Nicaragua and Germany.

[Trevor Marriott's] conclusions, published this week in Jack the Ripper: the 21st Century Investigation, challenge the conventional wisdom that the murderer was a skilled surgeon. Moreover, Marriott says the location and timing of the killings - not far from London docks with gaps of several weeks in between - suggest the killer may have been a merchant seaman.

Marriott thinks he may have identified the ship he arrived on - the Sylph, a 600-tonne cargo vessel which arrived in Britain from Barbados in July 1888, before the killing of the Ripper's first victim, Mary Ann Nichols, and which returned to the Caribbean on November 22, two weeks after the Kelly slaying, from where the same killer could have committed the Nicaraguan murder spree.

"The detectives at the time took a very blinkered approach,' says Marriott. "They were convinced the killer was someone who lived or worked in the Whitechapel area. They completely overlooked the fact that there was a pattern emerging which pointed to the possibility the killer may have been a sailor who only occasionally visited Whitechapel, hence the gaps between the murders."

Link. Perhaps the sailor theory would also explain the killings around the London Bridge in Lake Havasu, Arizona.

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