A chilling discovery has been made which could reveal who the identity of notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper, who mutilated and murdered women in London 133 years ago.
The mass murderer terrorised the streets of Whitechapel in 1888 and his mystery identity has long been a site of intrigue for people in Britain and around the globe.
Now researchers have rediscovered a walking stick, carved with the face of the man believed to have mutilated and killed five women in the capital’s East End.
The cane has the face of a drawn, haggard older man, who is eyes are darting menacingly underneath a long, brown hood – thought to be the only facial composite of the ripper.
The suspected face of Jack the Ripper has been revealed after police rediscovered a cane handed to Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline, one of the officers working on the notorious murder case
It is believed the walking stick, previously thought to have been lost, was handed over to Chief Inspector Frederick Abberline after his team of seven officers when he was taken off the case in 1889.
Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly were all murdered during the killing spree between 31 August and 9 November 1888.
It is believed other murders in the area taking place before and after 1888 could also be attributed to the Ripper.
The women, who worked as prostitutes, had their throats slashed with three of them having their organs removed.
Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly were all murdered during the killing spree between 31 August and 9 November 1888. All five women worked as prostitutes
From one of the victims, half a kidney was removed and sent to police officers along with a series of notes, signed off from Jack the Ripper.
Police researchers believe the features etched onto the stick were inspired by the suspect favoured by Mr Abberline – a Russian ‘lunatic’ called Dr Alexander Pedachenko who had been living in London during the killing spree, the Telegraph reports.
His name was written on a sign next to the cane while it was on display at Bramshill Police Staff College.
When the college closed down in 2015, the cane was feared to have been lost, but buried in archieves at Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warickshire, staff at the College of Policing found it once again.
The college said the cane is believed ‘to be the only facial composite of notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper’ and will now be put on display with original news cuttings about the murders.
There are many theories as to who the infamous serial killer was, from Queen Victoria’s surgeon Sir John Williams, who had a surgery in Whitechapel at the time, to her Grandson Prince Albert Victor who was taken to an asylum
Antony Cash, of the College of Policing, said: ‘Finding this cane was an exciting moment for us. Jack the Ripper is one of the biggest and most infamous murder cases in our history and his crimes were significant in paving the way for modern policing and forensics as it caused police to begin experimenting with and developing new techniques as they attempted to try and solve these murders, such as crime scene preservation, profiling and photography.
‘This walking cane is such a fascinating artefact which represents such a historically significant time in policing, and it’s amazing that we can put it out on display here in Ryton, alongside the original newspaper cuttings, so that our officers can see first-hand how far we’ve advanced in policing since then.’
The claim that the cane contains the face of the cold-blooded killer, however, is controversial among historians interested in the Ripper case.
Some suggest that the stick was of many cash-hungry salesmen sold to crowds who took to the scenes of the killings, with others saying each officer who worked on the murder investigation was handed the same walking stick – meaning it was not a bespoke item for Mr Abberline.
Other research, documented in The Curse Upon Mitre Square, claim it was the face of a mad monk character.
Mr Aberline had climbed up the ranks of Scotland Yard, becoming the chief detective in the criminal investigation department.
But mistakes were made during initial inquiries into the murders, with no fingerprinting being able to distinguish the difference between even human and animal blood, let alone the differences between people.
This means the true identity of Jack the Ripper could never be revealed, leaving it as one of the world’s unsolved cold cases.
There are many theories as to who the infamous serial killer was, from Queen Victoria’s surgeon Sir John Williams, who had a surgery in Whitechapel at the time, to her Grandson Prince Albert Victor who was taken to an asylum.