Its been over 120 years since Jack the Ripper first hit the headlines for the murder and mutilation of at least 5 East-London women. Yet he’s back in the media once again as best-selling author Patricia Cornwell claims she has discovered the killer’s real identity…
Patricia Cornwell first accused the famous artist Walter Sickert in 2002, cause alarm and even outrage in the historical art community. In her new publication, Ripper: the Secret Life of Walter Sickert, Cornwell details £6 million worth of what she claims proves him as the murder of the 5 women, as well as up to 20 more.
Cornwell’s proof consists if the striking similarities between Sickert’s doodles and artworks and the Ripper’s. Several of Sickert’s paintings are mimicked in the arrangement of the murdered women’s bodies, with one painting – Putana a Casa – showing strange black brush marks across the subjects face, much like the slashes across Catherine Eddowes’ face. Another painting shows a woman with her mouth open and head thrown back, also similar to the photo of Eddowes.
Cornwell claims that further proof can be found in the fact that the ripper and Sickert used the same stationary. Of a run of just 24 sheets of the same paper, 3 letters came from Sickert and 2 came from Jack the Ripper.
Cornwell details further proofs including a false alibi provided for Sickert by the art world, the similarities between the ripper’s noted and Sickert’s in a hotel guestbook, and the secretive treatment of historical evidence. She states that the identity of the ripper is being protected, even now, and that it may never be possible to prove that it was Sickert. But her book looks set to cause a ripple in the minds of the public.
Cornwell states that her seeming obsession with unmasking the ripper has stemmed from goodwill, claiming she is trying to do ‘the right thing’. It appears for now, at least, unlikely that the truth will ever come out, and that the ripper shall remain an enigma.