One-hundred and twenty-six years after he brutally murdered at least five women in east London, the identity of the notorious “Jack the Ripper” has been determined through DNA testing, The Daily Mail reports.
DNA analysis shows Aaron Kosminski, a Polish immigrant who has always been one of the prime suspects, to be the killer. Kosminki’s DNA was extracted from a bloody shawl said to have been found next to one of the victims, Catherine Eddowes, whose DNA also was found on the scarf.
The detective work began when amateur sleuth Russell Edwards bought the shawl at auction seven years ago. Its authenticity had always been questioned, but Edwards believed it to be real because of the pattern of Michaelmas daisies on the end. He thought the pattern might be a clue left by the killer since Michaelmas, still celebrated in Victorian times, fell on Sept. 29 in the Western Christian church and on November 8 in the Eastern Orthodox church.
Sept. 29 and Nov. 8 were the dates of the last two murders.
DNA extraction methods used in modern crimes were useless, because the DNA would have degenerated. So Edwards took the shawl to famed DNA expert Jari Louhelainen, who used a method that allowed extraction of the DNA.
Louhelainen found blood and kidney DNA on the scarf as well as semen. One of Eddowes’ kidneys had been removed by the killer.
Testing of a living relative of Eddowes proved an exact match for the blood and kidney DNA. A relative of Kosminski proved an exact match for the semen.
The man who sold the scarf to Edwards claims to be a descendant of the police officer who obtained permission to take the scarf from the crime scene and give it to his wife.
“Incredibly, it was stowed without ever being washed,” Edwards said.
Louhelainen said the technique used also allowed him to determine the ethnicity and region of the person who had left the semen on the shawl.
“It was of a type known as the haplogroup T1a1, common in people of Russian Jewish ethnicity,” he said. “I was even able to establish that he had dark hair.”
Both were matches for Kosminski, whose family had fled Poland during Russian pogroms.
Kosminski was 23 years old at the time of the killings and was later committed to an insane asylum, where he died 30 years later.