Best-selling crime writer Patricia Cornwell is sure that Britain’s most famous serial killer, Jack the Ripper, was artist Walter Sickert (above). Cornwell, 60, first made this claim in her controversial 2002 book Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper — Case Closed, which enraged many art historians.
In a new book that will be released next week, Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert, Cornwell says she has new forensic evidence to tie Sickert to the crimes, according to The Sunday Times.
In the book, she writes that scientific analysis matches writing paper used by Sickert to some of the taunting letters the Ripper sent to police during his killing spree in Whitechapel, London.Three Sickert letters and two reportedly written by Saucy Jack had came from a paper run of just 24 sheets, the newspaper reported.
Cromwell also claims in her new book that Sickert would even dress up as what Jack the Ripper was supposed to look like when he painted. In his paintings, Sickert captured the seedy and sleazy world of Victorian nightlife, including music-hall dancers and prostitutes.
He even painted a scene based on a murdered prostitute — the case of Emily Dimmock, who was found with her throat cut from ear to ear in 1907. Her case became known as The Camden Town Murder. Incidentally, another artist, Robert Wood, was tried for the slaying, but was acquitted.
Cromwell also believes that while the Ripper is known to have killed at least five women in the 1880s, that he is responsible for as many as 20 deaths.
Cornwell, who has spent millions of dollars investigating the case, also claims the artist confessed to a friend that “he would not mind having to kill and eat raw flesh,” which she compared to the killer’s reference to cannibalism.
The identity of Jack the Ripper, who targeted prostitutes who lived and worked in London’s East End in 1888, has been debated for over a century.
The killer was also called “the Whitechapel Murderer” as well as “Leather Apron” within the crime case files.
At least three of the victims had internal organs removed, which led to rumors that the killer had some surgical knowledge and could have been a doctor.
We’d be as excited as anyone if the identity of the infamous Jack the Ripper was finally authenticated. What do you think? Has Cornwell cracked the case?
Main photo: Walter Sickert [George Charles Beresford/Public Domain]