New lead in Jack the Ripper case emerges from stately home’s archives

PUBLISHED: 07:00 08 October 2013 | UPDATED: 07:38 12 October 2013

Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper


A DYNAMITE new lead in the case of Jack the Ripper has emerged from 125-year-old archives at Hatfield House.

The Whitechapel murders in 1888 – a timeline of terror

• April 3: Emma Elizabeth Smith is brutally attacked by two or three men, dying of her injuries the following day, first of the Whitechapel murders but unlikely to be a victim of Jack the Ripper.

• August 7: The body of Martha Tabram is found, a possible early victim of Jack the Ripper, but not one of the ‘canonical five’.

• August 31: The mutilated body of London prostitute Mary Ann Nichols is found. She is widely accepted to be the first ‘canonical’ victim of Jack the Ripper.

• September 8: The mutilated body of prostitute Annie Chapman is found. She is considered to be the second victim of Jack the Ripper.

• 27 September: The ‘Dear Boss letter’ signed “Jack the Ripper”, the first time the name is used, is received by the Central News Agency.

• 30 September: The so-called ‘double event’. The bodies of prostitutes Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes, the latter mutilated, are found. They are generally considered Jack the Ripper’s third and fourth victims respectively.

• November 9: The mutilated body of prostitute Mary Jane Kelly is found. She is considered to be the fifth, and last, of Jack the Ripper’s victims.

The document was an instruction to then Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Charles Warren by Prime Minister Robert Cecil, an ancestor of the current Lord Salisbury, to interview a mystery man by the name of De la re Brett.

Brett claimed to know details of the prostitute slayings, which were then known as the Whitechapel murders.

In his evidence, Brett claimed there was a group behind the killings, lending weight to the theory that Freemasons were involved in the Jack the Ripper murders.

The claims were unearthed by ex-Bedfordshire murder squad officer and now author, Trevor Marriott, who has been conducting an investigation into the hottest cold case in history since 2002.

Mary Ann 'Polly' NicholsMary Ann 'Polly' Nichols

Mr Marriott told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “As part of the investigation I wanted to see if there was any correspondence between senior Government officials and police.

“There was one letter that was uncovered in the archives in Hatfield House.”

The letter was De la re Brett’s statement.

He added: “De la re Brett claimed the murders were committed by a group of people – that gets you back to the Masonic angle.”

Catherine EddowesCatherine Eddowes

He added: “For Lord Salisbury to instruct Sir Charles Warren to take a statement [from Brett] he must have been an important person.”

Mr Marriott said the main thrust of his theory on the Ripper killings is that Jack the Ripper did not exist at all.

“There was no Jack the Ripper.

“I think when you look at the murders you can draw a conclusion that perhaps three of the murder victims were killed by the same person,” he said.

Annie ChapmanAnnie Chapman

Mr Marriott added: “There was no such person [as Jack the Ripper].

“It was a myth created by the press.”

He said the three victims he believed were killed by the same hand were Annie Chapman, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Ann ‘Polly’ Nichols.

* Contrary to popular belief, ‘Jack the Ripper’ did not remove his victims’ organs at the crime scenes.

Trevor MarriottTrevor Marriott

That is the claim made by author and ex-police officer Trevor Marriott, who aims to “dispel the myths” surrounding the 125-year-old multiple murder case.

He said he believed the organs were removed later, probably by pathologists.

** And Mr Marriott said an alleged hoax letter sent by ‘Jack the Ripper’ was “the most wonderful piece of journalism in 125 years”.

Mr Marriott said the first mention of “Jack the Ripper” in the infamous ‘Dear Boss’ letter, sent to the Central News Agency, in London on September 27, 1888, was a hoax perpetrated by a reporter.

The 'Dear Boss' letter, which includes the first reference to "Jack the Ripper"The 'Dear Boss' letter, which includes the first reference to "Jack the Ripper"

He said journalist Tom Bulling drunkenly penned the chilling letter, part of which read: “I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled.

“Grand work the last job was.

“I gave the lady no time to squeal.

“How can they catch me now.

“I love my work and want to start again.”

The letter was signed: “Yours truly, Jack the Ripper”

*** For more on the Hatfield connection to the ‘Jack the Ripper’ killings buy the Welwyn Hatfield Times, out on Wednesday.

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