Jack the Ripper?
Montague John Druitt:
Druitt graduated Winchester College in 1880 and was highly involved with debating politics there. He was also very active in the cricket club there and remained an avid cricket player throughout his life. After he graduated he began to teach at a boarding school in Blackheath and 2 years after this began to pursue a law career as well. His father died in 1885 and in July of 1888 his mother was committed to an insane asylum. A history of mental illness seemed to run in her family with multiple suicides and suicide attempts in the family history. Nothing seemed to be unusual about his life until his body was found in the Thames on December 31, 1888. He appeared to have committed suicide several weeks prior to his body being found. He was dismissed from his post at the school in Blackheath around the end of November 1888, but it is not certain of exactly when. This dismissal seems to have been what triggered his suicide. He was not considered a Jack the Ripper suspect until well after his death when the memoranda of Inspector Macnaghten was found listing Druitt as his primary suspect. However, he does not state any solid evidence and Druitt does not match a majority of the descriptions if we can even take those into account at all. In my opinion, Druitt is a poor candidate for Jack the Ripper even though he is a popular suspect. His busy schedule with cricket and his work, and his residence, all seem to discount him as a suspect especially considering he was not brought up elsewhere. His suicide was probably a result of a family history of mental illness and not guilt for the murders.
Joseph Barnett lived around Whitechapel his entire life and was the son of a fish porter. His father died in 1864 and his mother deserted the family soon after. The children were raised by the eldest brothers and the eldest sister. By1878 all of the brothers had become fish porters. He met Mary Kelly in April of 1887. They lived together for the next year and a half. He lost his fish porter’s license in July of 1888 for theft and has a fight with Kelly in October. He still visited her often though until her death in their final residence in 13 Miller’s Court on November 9, 1888. He did not emerge as a Ripper suspect until the 1970s when it was conjectured that he had committed the murders to scare Kelly off the streets and stop her from being a prostitute. There are circumstantial occurrences that support the theory of Barnett being Jack the Ripper. He fits the approximate physical profile, the FBI profile and would explain things about Mary Kelly’s murder. There does not appear to be anything linking him to the other murders. This leads me to believe that while he is a probable candidate for Mary Kelly’s murder he was probably not Jack the Ripper.
Maybrick was a cotton merchant from Liverpool. His family was well established in the area. He married an American woman, Florence, and they lived in England and Norfolk, Virginia. He contracted Malaria after living in Norfolk for 3 years and became addicted to arsenic as a result of his treatment. This addiction seemed to last his entire life. They had two children and moved to Aigburth in March 1888. However, their marriage had deteriorated. In April of 1889, Maybrick’s health began to fail and he eventually died the following May. His wife was accused and convicted of poisoning him. In 1992, a diary emerged that was supposedly written by James Maybrick. In this diary he confessed to being Jack the Ripper. The diary has not been confirmed authentic or fake. There really isn’t much evidence to support that he was the Ripper outside of this diary. It does not seem like he would have that much knowledge of Whitechapel and therefore it seems improbable to me that he was the Ripper.
Thomas Neill Cream:
Cream was born in Scotland in 1850 and moved to Canada with his family four years later. He graduated from McGill College in Montreal in 1876 with a medical degree. He soon became involved with Flora Brooks and after an unwanted pregnancy occurred he performed the abortion himself almost killing Brooks. He was then forced to marry her and they moved to London where he continued his studies. A few years later he returned to Canada and became an abortionist. A woman was then discovered dead in his office, but he was not accused of murder. He then moved to Chicago where another woman was found dead in his care in 1880. This time he was charged of murder, but not convicted. He then began to give out an elixir for epilepsy and developed a special relationship with one of his epilepsy patients. When the husband found out he mysteriously died. Cream then implicated himself in the crime suggesting that they exhume the body because they would find he had died of strychnine poisoning. He was imprisoned in Illinois from 1881 to 1891 and soon after traveled to London. He soon began to poison more women and implicating himself in the crimes. He was charged with murder and sentenced to hang on November 15, 1892. His last words were recorded as “I am Jack…” There are theories that he had a double and that they took turns being in prison so that the other would have an alibi, but this is farfetched at best. The fact that he was known to poison women also makes him less likely to be Jack the Ripper because it seems highly unlikely that he would switch to the more violent murders that are attributed to Jack the Ripper.
Michael Ostrog: Ostrog was generally described as Russian or Polish and was only tracked through a series of crimes committed throughout his life. He was a thief and con man and served jail sentence after jail sentence as a result. He used several aliases as well. In August of 1887, Ostrog was once again arrested for theft and either in an effort to stay out of jail or genuine illness he displayed signs of insanity and was sent to insane asylum. He was discharged in March 1888 as cured. His whereabouts cannot be accounted for after this time. On October 26, 1888, his description was published in The Police Gazette for failure to report and ended with ‘special attention is called to this dangerous man.’ Macnaghten listed him as a suspect in his memoranda, but no other evidence points to Ostrog. The notice in the Gazette was not that out of the ordinary and there was suspiction cast on anyone who had just been released from an insane asylum. Also, Ostrog showed no previous signs of violence and did not match the physical description given by the witnesses. When Ostrog was questioned in 1894 for theft committed in 1889 it was discovered that he was actually in a French insane asylum at the time and therefore could not have committed the murders.
James Kenneth Stephen: Stephen studied at Eton and Oxford and was a prominent student at both. He became a great speaker, writer, and teacher. Stephen was the tutor of Prince Albert and this appears to be his only real connection to the Jack the Ripper murders. He sustained a blow to his head in the winter of 1886-7 which appeared to cause brain damage. He became ill and died on February 3, 1892. This is a very shaky suspect in my opinion. There was no real signs of violence and no suspicion that he had ever even been to the East End. A connection with Prince Albert who most likely did not have anything to do with the murders completely rules him out as a suspect in my opinion.
Rosyln D’Onston Stephenson: Stephenson wrote several articles about the murders and showed great interest in them. He lived in the East End and was said to dabble in black magic. His highly involved curiosity in the murders was noted and he was said to allude to things that he felt Jack the Ripper would have done that were similar to aspects of the murders. He seemed to inject himself into the case as serial killers tend to do. However, there appears to be no evidence at all that he was remotely involved with the murders.
Prince Albert Victor: Prince Eddy was a slow child who grew up to be quite the womanizer, but still not so bright. He died in 1892 of influenza. His entire connection to the Ripper murders was the result of a man named Joseph Gorman who claimed to be Walter Sickert’s grandson. He told the story of how Prince Eddy was married a woman from the East End, Annie Crook. They had a child together. In order to cover this up all who knew about it were killed by Sir William Gull working with John Netley, the coachman, and Sir Robert Anderson acting as a lookout. There was no evidence for any of this and Prince Eddy was not even in the country on the day of one of the murders.