In case you missed it, one of the greatest murder mysteries in history has been solved: the identity of Jack the Ripper. Researchers say that DNA on a shawl found near one of the victims, Catherine Eddowes, reportedly contains a match to both her and one of the chief suspects, Aaron Kosminsky. The Polish hairdresser, who moved to England with his family in 1881, was committed to a mental asylum at the peak of Ripper hysteria.
Apparently, the breakthrough came when Dr. Jari Louhelainen an expert in historic DNA, was commissioned to study a shawl found with Eddowes, the second-last “confirmed” victim of the Ripper more than 125 years ago. The shawl — which still retained historic stains — had been bought by a businessman at an auction in 2007.
“It has taken a great deal of hard work,” he explains. “We used cutting-edge scientific techniques which would not have been possible five years ago.” He goes on to say that once he had the profile, he could compare it to that of the female descendant of Kosminski’s sister, who had given him a sample of her DNA swabbed from inside her mouth. “The first strand of DNA showed a 99.2 per cent match,” he offered. “On testing the second strand, we achieved a perfect 100 per cent match.”
- FAST FACTS: Kosminski was born in Poland in 1865 before moving to Whitechapel, England, in 1881. The murders attributed to Jack the Ripper began in 1888, with up to 11 deaths around the Whitechapel area linked to the killer. Frances Coles, believed to be the Ripper’s last victim, died in February 1891 — the same year Kosminski was forcibly put in Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum. He remained in mental health facilities until his death in 1919. He was 53.