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Jack the Ripper 'was a Pole who died in asylum'

By Staff Reporter

It is one of the world's greatest murder mysteries and has baffled investigators for more than a century.

But now an author and self-confessed "armchair detective" has claimed to have solved who Jack the Ripper was.

Russell Edwards has identified Aaron Kosminski, a 23-year-old Polish immigrant who ended up dying in an asylum, as the murderer.

He said Kosminski was "definitely, categorically and absolutely" the man behind the grisly killing spree in 1888 in London's East End.

Mr Edwards said a blood-stained shawl he bought in 2007 after an auction in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, held vital DNA evidence that led him to the apparent perpetrator.

He added: "I have got the only piece of forensic evidence in the whole history of the case. I've spent 14 years working on it, and we have definitively solved the mystery of who Jack the Ripper was.

"Only non-believers that want to perpetuate the myth will doubt. This is it now – we have unmasked him."

Jack the Ripper murdered at least five women, slashing their throats, removing some of their internal organs and leaving their mutilated bodies in the Whitechapel area's darkened alleyways.

Mr Edwards (48), from Barnet, London, was "captivated" by the murder mystery and had been investigating it in his spare time before eventually coming to the decision that it could never be solved.

But then, in 2007, he saw that a shawl found next to the body of Catherine Eddowes, one of the Ripper's victims, was up for sale.

He bought it and enlisted the help of Jari Louhelainen, an expert in molecular biology, who used pioneering techniques to find DNA in the blood on the shawl and, from that, track down the Ripper.

Mr Edwards said: "I enlisted the help of Jari and we embarked on a three-and-a-half year journey. When we discovered the truth, it was the most amazing feeling of my life."

Kosminski was a Polish Jewish immigrant who, fleeing persecution in his Russia-controlled homeland, came with his family to England in 1881 and settled in the Mile End Old Town area.

He was admitted to a string of lunatic asylums and eventually died in one, in 1899, with gangrene of the leg.

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