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“Some say it was Old Nick himself
Or else a Russian Jew,
Some say it was a “cannibal” from the
Isle of Kickaiboo.”
Contemporary rhyme


MONTAGUE DRUITT
Macnaghten was convinced that Druitt was the killer, enigmatically citing private information. A teacher, barrister and sportsman, Druitt lived an apparently respectable life in Blackheath. However, in November 1888, he was dismissed from school for unspecified “serious trouble”, and soon after drowned himself in the Thames. Despite Macnaghten’s conviction, Druitt’s lack of local links and his proven whereabouts near the times of several murders make him an unlikely candidate.

AARON KOSMINSKI
Kosminski lived in Whitechapel in 1888, perhaps as a hairdresser. Macnaghten asserts that he hated women, especially prostitutes, and had strong homicidal tendencies. He was committed to Colney Hatch asylum in 1891. Even so, many doubts surround naming him as the Ripper – his slight appearance; the fact that he was in circulation long after Mary Ann Kelly’s death; the fact that despite being in asylums foe nearly 20 years until his death, he was considered no danger to others. It is possible, though, that Macnaghten may have mixed him up with Nathan Kaminsky.

JAMES MAYBRICK
Maybrick was a wealthy Liverpool cotton merchant, poisoned by his wife in May 1889. He did not figure in any Ripper theories until 1994, when a diary, claimed to be that of Maybrick and recording the killings day by day, was published. However, Maybrick does not fit the age profile, his visits to Whitechapel are unproven and, most importantly, the “diary” incorporates some of the classic errors which have crept into Ripper mythology.

MICHAEL OSTROG
Number three on Macnaghten’s list of suspects, Ostrog was an intelligent, smooth-talking Russian who, it was said, had trained as a doctor. Nevertheless, he had behind him a huge string of convictions for theft and confidence tricks. Despite Macnaghten’s interest, there is hardly anything of susbstance to connect him with the Whitechapel murders.

JOHN PIZER, “Leather Apron”
Pizer was a bootmaker and part-time thug who frightened prostitutes into paying protection money. They, it was said, knew him as “Leather Apron”. At the murder scene of Annie Chapman, a leather apron was found. Two and two were duly put together to make five. Whipped on by The Star newspaper, the hue and cry went up for Pizer. On arrest, he was proved to have impeccable alibis.

WALTER SICKERT
Sickert, the famous artist recently brought into the spotlight by crime novelist Patricia Cornwell, had Whitechapel connections, was fascinated by the Ripper murders and regularly disguised himself. Indeed, he has often been linked to the Masonic Conspiracy theory (see page 18). Although it is a tantalizing theory, the problem, as with so many Ripper theories, is that weight is placed on slender possibilities to the exclusion of more convincing counter-evidence.


POLICE NOTICE
TO THE OCCUPIER.

On the mornins of Friday, 31st
August, Saturday 8th, and Sunday,
30th September, 1888, Women were
murdered in or near Whitechapel,
supposed by some one residing
in the immediate neighbourhood.
Should you know of any person
to whom suspicion is attached, you
are earnestly requested to com-
municate at once with the nearest
Police Station.
Metropolitan Police Office,
30th September, 1888.



More Suspects

Montague Druitt, Macnaghten’s suspect.

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