Despite the case being closed over a century ago, the grisly tale of Jack the Ripper is still very much a hot topic amongst historians. In fact, many prominent “Ripperologists” have published their theories surrounding the ghastly Whitechapel murders. Though it is unlikely that the true culprit will ever be revealed, every so often a new suspect is brought to light.
In a new book entitled The Seduction of Mary Kelly, William J Perring documents the life and final movements of Mary Kelly; widely regarded as the fifth canonical victim of Jack the Ripper, she was brutally murdered in a run-down room in a dingy part of the East End.
However, what makes Perring’s work interesting is that he theorises that not only was the killer a member of the Salvation Army, but also a woman. Though this is not the first time a female culprit has been named, Perring argues that “Julia” the Ripper had a unique motive for her crimes.
Speaking to the Huffington Post, Perring commented, “What if the killings… were in fact, carried out with the best of intentions? If this were the case, then every investigation and criminal profile would be rendered invalid, as it would be based on a total misunderstanding of the motive.”
He continued, “History abounds with cases where terrible acts have been performed for the (perceived at least) general good – and there is no doubt the sensationalism of the Ripper murders created a focus on Whitechapel, that resulted in much being done to improve this previously ignored part of London.”
It’s certainly an interesting theory and Perring further stipulates that if the killer were a man, he would have been caught. Reportedly, at the height of the Ripper investigation any man who appeared to be carrying a suspicious bag was mobbed and dragged to the police station. A woman, however, could pass unhindered and if she was wearing the traditional black overcoat of the Salvation Army, she could easily conceal any suspicious bloody stains…
Other notable female suspects include Lizzie Williams, the wife of a noted London gynaecologist whose husband also fell under suspicion and Mary Pearcey, often dubbed the Mad Midwife or even “Jill” the Ripper after she murdered her lover’s wife and child. Though convincing arguments have been made for both of these women, no concrete evidence has ever been found.
If you are a budding Ripperologist and have a keen interest in one of history’s most famous unsolved crimes, then join us on our renowned Jack the Ripper tour! Our enthusiastic and knowledgeable tour guides will take you to several key locations involved in the murders and reveal interesting facts about the killer and his habits! Full information regarding the tour can be found online, as well as information for bookings and groups.