Exploring the Identity of Jack the Ripper: The Most Notorious Serial Killer of the 19th Century

Jack the Ripper is one of the most notorious serial killers of the 19th Century. He killed at least five women in 1888, though other murders have been attributed to him posthumously. Jack the Ripper’s identity has never been revealed, despite attempts by many to uncover it. His story continues to haunt and fascinate people to this day.

History of Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper is the name given to the anonymous serial killer who murdered at least five women in London’s Whitechapel district between August and November of 1888. He was initially known as Leather Apron, a reference to the leather apron that some claimed to have seen the murderer wearing.

The first two victims, Mary Ann Nichols and Annie Chapman were killed within two days of each other in late August, and appear to be the first Ripper victims. Mary Ann Nichols’ body was discovered in a back street near Whitechapel; she had been disemboweled and her throat was slashed. The second victim was found in a similar condition.

Two days after the discovery of Annie Chapman’s body, a third victim named Elizabeth Stride was discovered, however her throat had not been cut and no wounds were found on her body; it is not certain if she was a Ripper victim or not. The fourth murder was of Catherine Eddowes, who was found two hours after the attempted murder of Elizabeth Stride; her body was disemboweled and her face had been mutilated. The fifth and final victim of the Ripper was Mary Jane Kelly, who was discovered on November 9, 1888; her throat had been slashed and her body had been gruesomely mutilated.

Investigations of Jack the Ripper

Police Investigation
The police investigations into the Ripper murders were headed by Police Commissioner Sir Charles Warren and Sir Robert Anderson. The investigations made little progress due to the lack of reliable witnesses or evidence; the only suspects were later cleared of all charges. The police distributed printed handbills with descriptions of the Ripper, but despite this, the murderer was never found.

Rewards for Jack the Ripper’s Capture
The authorities offered rewards for anyone who could provide information leading to Jack the Ripper’s capture. Two of the rewards were offered by private individuals, each offering £500; the first was offered by George Lusk and the second by Thomas Clues. Several newspapers also offered rewards, including the Daily News, which offered one hundred guineas.

Jack the Ripper Theory

The motive for the murders has never been determined. It has been suggested that the killer targeted prostitutes because he was unwilling to form relationships with women, or because the victims were vulnerable, providing easy targets.


Suspect Profiles
Jack the Ripper remains one of the most famous unidentified killers in history and there have been numerous theories as to his identity. To date, no one has been conclusively identified as the killer.

Montague John Druitt
Montague John Druitt was a barrister who was identified as a suspect due to several letters written by him, including one which referred to his “disappearance” and “removal”. He was also believed to have lived and worked near the sites of the murders. Druitt is the most commonly-accepted suspect and some researchers have concluded that he was, in fact, the Ripper.

Walter Sickert
Walter Sickert was a British artist who had a fascination with Jack the Ripper and often painted scenes related to the Ripper murders. He was sometimes credited as the killer due to his proximity to the murders, but his involvement was never proven and no evidence has been found to support the theory.

Joseph Barnett
Joseph Barnett was Mary Jane Kelly’s lover, who is thought to have killed her in an act of jealousy. He was initially suspected of the murders but later cleared of suspicion.

Jack the Ripper’s identity remains one of the most enduring unsolved mysteries in criminal history. Theories have abounded for over a century, with many suspecting a variety of individuals as the killer, though none of these have been conclusively proven. It is likely that the identity of Jack the Ripper will remain a mystery for many years to come.