My Final Solution It is doubtful that the identity of Jack the Ripper will never be solidified; there will always be misinterpretation, falsification of evidence, and lack thereof. It did not take a criminal master mind to elude the police in 1888. There was no real skill involved in severing vital arteries and disemboweling abdomens. There have been many suspects presented throughout the years however there is no consensus as to the identity of the Ripper. Within these possible identities, from sailor to midwife, I believe it is more plausible that Montague John Druitt could have been the assailant. There is much evidence against Druitt: his ease of access to the crime scenes, anatomical knowledge, and mental state.
It is important to address the background of Druitt in order to prove his guilt. Other than accusations of being the Ripper and a few events his life was rather uneventful. According to Sugden, Begg, Casebook, and Russo he was of English heritage and born in Dorset in 1857. He was the second son of a medical practitioner. And in 1880 he graduated with a degree in Literature, Humanities, and Classics from Oxford College. He took a job as an assistant schoolmaster at a boy’s school. While at Mr. Valentine’s School in Blackheath Druitt studied for the bar exam and eventually became a barrister in 1885. In 1888 he was “mysteriously dismissed from his duties” from Mr. Valentines School and was “in serious trouble” with them (Russo 57). Druitt was also a skilled cricket player and was in many cricket clubs in which he held leadership positions. He was again dismissed from his position with reasons unbeknownst to the public (Russo 58). The death of this father marked the transition from a relatively agreeable life to one of moral and physical deterioration. After the death of his father his mother started showing signs of insanity and ultimately was committed to an asylum where she was certified insane. She was to stay in many different institutions until her death in 1890. It is accepted that Druitt committed suicide on December 1 shortly after his dismissal from both of his jobs. He was found in the Thames January 5, 1889 at age 31. On examining the body the police found four large stones in each pocket, currency, two checks, first class ticket from Blackheath to London, another ticket from Hammersmith to Charing Cross, gold watch, kid gloves, and a handkerchief. The coroner determined it was suicide “whilst an unsound mind” (Begg 324).
The evidence against Druitt lies primarily in his background. First, one of the attributed characteristics of the Ripper was that of anatomical knowledge. Druitt’s father was medical practitioner (Casebook). It has been stated before that Druitt himself was a doctor, but historical documents and family witness statement have proven this incorrect. His father died of a heart attacks when Druitt would have been 28 which would have given him ample time to attain the knowledge of placement of organs, what to remove and the process to remove the organs. There would also obviously be medical literature that his father would have been reading; Druitt could have picked up any of the books at any time and read them.
Second, was Druitt’s appearance; witnesses described the Ripper as ages 28 to 35. Druitt was right in the middle of this range at 31 years old. Many of the other suspects were well over this age including Stephenson and Williams. Witnesses also describe the man as respectable looking with a mustache which both describes Druitt. Witnesses describe the man a stocky and “foreign-looking” which would not describe Druitt seeing as he was slender and very much an English man. However, there is a plausible explanation for this. Primarily being that, according to The Weather Channel, London’s position situated by the Thames give for a cool misty climate (1). London was dreary and wet most of the time especially in autumn when the murders took place. It goes on to say that morning temperatures are normally around 30 degrees (1). Druitt would have had a coat on to block the rain and cold which would give him a stocky build and appearance. As in regard to “foreign-looking” there is no way that any witness could have gotten a clear look at the suspect when it was either precipitating or there was a thick layer of fog, not to mention that all the murders were committed during the night hours on poorly lit streets. Furthermore, anti-Semitism was abounding during this time period. Many Londoners were upset about cheap foreign labor taking their jobs so they would be quick in saying that a man who was killing locals was “foreign-looking”. Stanford Journal of Legal Studies addresses the validity of eye witness statements saying that the human brain had the capacity to remember accounts that was introduced to them and not an actual memory (1). The case of Jack the Ripper exemplifies these findings. Jewish hatred was introduced in society and therefore the witnesses see a foreign man when in fact they saw and Englishman in poor lighting. Witness statements are too inconclusive to be the basis of an argument. Consequently they must be disregarded as to the physical appearance of the Ripper. It is more plausible that the witnesses were influenced by political attitudes of the time and that the perpetrators identity was masked by the weather and time of day.
Druitt’s mysterious job history should also be discussed in the case of Jack the Ripper. Many believed that Druitt was a doctor; however, recent evidence has disproved this and revealed that he was actually a barrister and an assistant schoolmaster at a boy’s school, and was an avid cricket player where he was said to have “formidable strength in his arms and wrist” (Casebook). The fact that Druitt was released from both of his jobs for undisclosed reasons is the most mysterious part of his work history. There has been no documentation found as to why he was let go and there seems to be no persons willing to disclose the information either. This gives no other choice than to believe that there was something behind the dismissal that the school or the cricket club did not want the public to know. So what could that be? Many Ripperologists believe that he must have been caught sexually abusing the boys at Mr. Valentine’s and the cricket club found out. Consequently both fired Druitt because they did not want their reputation ruined. There is no evidence of these accusations anywhere or any evidence that Druitt was homosexual. It is more plausible however, that Druitt was caught doing something else. There is no record of Druitt having a wife or even a steady girlfriend so prostitutes are the only other logical choice. This would give him reason to be in the East End of London where he could employ a cheap woman. It is highly likely that both employers found out that he was associating with prostitutes and was dismissed because they did not want their good names ruined. Also, when Druitt was found in the Thames he had two checks which may have been from the school and from the cricket club as settlements, which he would not have gotten if he had sexually abused children, and if he did they would just be checks to keep him quiet. The school would have had an obligation to turn him into the authorities not to mention the parents of the children that were abused. If these parents were sending their children to school they would not want the assistant head master fraternizing with prostitutes. So, therefore, if the parents somehow found out they would want Druitt immediately dismissed and in turn the cricket club fired most likely because someone from the school played at the club and told everyone. In all likely hood Druitt did not sexually abused the students like most people assume, he was probably having relations with prostitutes and was consequently fired for his undesirable behavior.
Also notable was his family history. There was a long line of insanity in his family. His grandmother and sister were all bordering on insanity and his mother was certified insane. It is highly probable that some of these traits were transferred to Druitt. This would explain the horrific mutilations Mary Kelly sustained. It would also fully explain his suicide, or quite possibly why he was fired from his jobs. Druitt’s father also died in 1885 which, according to his family members, did not seem to faze him much because he went about his daily life the same as he did before (Casebook). It is said that his own family believed he was the Ripper. Russo states that a cousin of Druitt thought that he committed the murders but did not tell the authorities because they did not want suspicion placed on the family name (61). MacNaghten also states in his memorandum that the family believed it was Druitt. This is based off of “private information” in which the informant was never told. MacNaghten asserts that, “the murderer’s brain had given way and that he had killed himself soon thereafter” (Russo 63). There is but one source MacNaghten could have gotten this – the family. Druitt had a distant relative that served at the Police Commissioner’s secretary which could have possibly been the main informant. But why would MacNaghten not disclose the information and put the case to rest? It is because the family would have been ruined and nothing good would have come out of it because he believed the Ripper was already dead. Druitt had a family history that contributed to his suspicion as the Ripper, the lead investigator of the case was sure he was the killer, and his own family spoke of his guilt.
Modern FBI profiling also points to Druitt as the murderer. He matched the general aspects of the profile such as age, being a product of a broken home in which his mother was very unstable and marital status (Rossmo). He also matches in the fact that he worked in Whitechapel and was familiar with the region. In 1972 a Ripperologist, Dan Farson, found that one of Druitt’s cousins, Dr. Lionel Druitt, had a general practice in the East End during 1879 Russo also says that Montague himself had an office in the East End at 9 King’s Beach Walk (64). Because there are no records of Druitt being violent he could have very well internalized his anger. He would logically have no safe place to extravert his anger of his mother and sister’s situation and would have eventually taken it out on someone else. However there is one major issue of the modern FBI profile that Druitt does not match – suicide (Rossmo). It is most probable that, according to Russo, Druitt did not commit suicide. It is highly likely that his family and his employers took part in his death. This is true because his family and jobs he had worked for wanted to keep their good name. First his employers would have found out about Druitt fraternizing with prostitutes which would have gotten back to his family who in turn also wanted to keep their good name. Therefore, one party or both parties likely murdered Druitt and staged it as a suicide. Evidence of this includes the suicide date being one day after he was fired from his second job. He was fired and his employers, or family, did not want information released to the public so they threw him in the river. The second piece of evidence is that there were stones in his pocket. If someone was trying to kill themselves why would they put stones in their pocket? All that would have to be done is to not come up for breath. Four stones in each pocket will not keep you from floating. Also were the remaining contents of his pockets. Would a man who was going to kill himself buy a train ticket? The simple answer is he would not. There would be no police investigation into a murder when it was found out that he had a family history of insanity, leaving this explanation extremely possible. There are many modern reasons as to why Druitt would be the most plausible Ripper, including FBI profiling and evidence of murder versus a suicide.
Many have argued that Druitt could not be the Ripper on basis of his location the night of the murder or the morning after. It is normally said that he was too far away from the crime scenes. However if each crime is examined it is clear that Druitt could have committed the murders. For the purpose of this paper only the five canonical victims will be discussed. Mary Ann Nichols was found on Bucks row at 3:40 a.m. on the 31st of August 1888(Sugden 37). On the day after the murder Druitt was playing cricket in Dorset, England which is about three hours from Whitechapel. He could have stopped at his cousins office cleaned up and easily caught a train straight home. The same is the case for Chapman. She was found at 6:00 a.m. and Druitt was playing cricket in Blackheath the next morning (Sugden 85). It is not stated which Blackheath in the UK but they range from 4.8 miles to 107 miles, according to Google maps. The time ranges from 18 minutes to two hours and thirty minutes, all of which are very easily done. Again the same is for Kelly in which the she was found at 4:00 a.m. on November 9. There is no documentation of the whereabouts of Druitt the day after so it must be assumed that he had nothing of importance to attend to and that he would have had plenty of time to kill her and return home. Stride and Eddowes are harder to explain. Stride was found at 1:00 a.m. and Eddowes at 1:44, so, he would have had to kill Stride, walked for 44 minutes and killed Eddowes (Begg 242). After Eddowes he dropped his apron north-east of the body. This is just a four minute walk from Mitre Square to Goulston Street and directly south-east is a train station less than two blocks away. When he was waiting for a train he could have easily walked the ten minutes to his office at King’s Bench Walk. Druitt’s routine is extremely accessible and close to the murders, making him one of the most plausible suspects.
Druitt is the most plausible suspect by far. The first reason is because he was mentioned in the MacNaghten memorandum by “personal information” most likely give to him by Druitt’s own family members. He was also raised in a broken home, had a history of insanity and was familiar with the East End of London. Moreover, he was able to access the murder sites and easily kill the women. His father’s practice also gave him some anatomical knowledge- at least the knowledge to take a few organs out and remove some. Druitt fits eye witness descriptions and his death is mysteriously linked to the murders. It is highly likely that Druitt was fired because he was fraternizing with prostitutes, because he had no wife, when both the boys school and cricket club found out and fired him to keep their reputation alive. But this was not good enough for the family or the employers because the information could still leak into the public so they killed Druitt. Druitt is by far the most plausible suspect.
Begg, Paul. Jack the Ripper The Definitive History. New York: Longman, 2004.
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“Montauge John Druitt.” Casebook. 01 Apr. 2009 <www.casebook.org>.
Russo, Stan. Jack the Ripper Suspects. MacFarland and CO.
Sugden, Philip. The Complete History of Jack the Ripper. New York: Carroll & Graf, 2002.
“The Weather Channel.” Www.weather.com. The Weather Channel. 27 Apr. 2009.