Monday, November 20, 2006

Is This Jack the Ripper?

From The Scotsman:
The face of Jack the Ripper, the 19th-century killer whose identity still remains a mystery, has been revealed for the first time.

Using state-of-the-art profiling, investigators have created a vision of what the murderer, who strangled and butchered five London prostitutes, would have looked like--and revealed that police at the time were probably searching for the wrong kind of man.

Laura Richards, of Scotland Yard’s Violent Crime Command, analysed evidence from the case using modern police techniques and has been able to form the most accurate portrait of the Ripper ever put together. She claims that the 118-year-old evidence shows the Ripper was aged between 25 and 35, he was between 5ft 5in and 5ft 7in tall and was of a stocky build.
I don’t know. We have ample reason to be skeptical. We’ve heard previously about “conclusive proof” of the Ripper’s identity--from a phony diary in the 1990s, revealing that the murderer was cotton merchant James Maybrick, and most notoriously, from Patricia Cornwell’s 2002 book, Portrait of a Killer, which insisted that Jack was actually English impressionist painter Walter Sickert. Until somebody comes forward with conclusive proof of Jack’s identity--and, in the absence of sufficient, comparable DNA evidence, how is that possible?--maybe it’s better that the Ripper remain a mystery.

(Hat tip to Bill Crider.)

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