Was James Maybrick Jack The Ripper?
Was James Maybrick Jack The Ripper?
The murderer who was known as Jack The Ripper was never identified. Many people were suspected, but there was nothing that could link them to the killings to the extent that it could lead to them being tried.
One man who was only named a long time after the events was a Liverpool cotton merchant called James Maybrick.
An anonymous diary was found in 1992. Although it was not claimed to have been written by Maybrick, there were enough links to his life to make some people believe that it was written by him. From the beginning many people considered it a hoax, but there was some interest in it. Tests carried out showed that it was possible that it could have been written in the 1880s, although equally the ink used could be found much later.
There were however some issues regarding content as it is claimed that there was information contained in it that were not known at the time of the murders. This however could lead to it being written by him, as he would have known about them if he was the murderer. There is also a reference to the Poste House pub in Liverpool and that did not exist until much later. A local writer Tom Slemen claims that there was not a single pub in the Country called the Poste House at the time. http://www.slemen.com/maybrickdiary.html
There was also a reference to what Jack did to the body of Mary Kelly. The diary claims that he removed her breasts and put them on the table, although later evidence shows that while they were removed, they were placed elsewhere in the room.
There are certainly some coincidences that may make some people believe that the diary was written by Maybrick. On one of the official photographs released by the police, it clearly shows the initials F.M. in the background. It is said that this was a reference to James' wife Florence Maybrick - a women who both cheated on him and was convicted of murdering him. As Mary Kelly was around the same age and looked quite like Florence, was Maybrick thinking that he was getting revenge on his wife by murdering the prostitute. In the same way, the Ja from the beginning of James and the ck at the end of Maybrick spelling Jack could have been a clues that the police missed.
Regardless of the authenticity of the diary, Maybrick does have links to the East End of London. As a cotton merchant he would know the area, and there is also an indication that he was previously married and that his former wife lived near to the scene of some of the crimes.
Points in favour of the diary being true are the nickname Sir Jim. It would not have been widely known that this was how Maybrick sometimes referred to himself, yet it is mentioned a few times in the diary. There is also information relating to Catherine Eddowes and that she was carrying an empty tin box. This did not come out for some time but clearly someone who was there would know it.
The writing is very similar to a letter Maybrick wrote aboard the SS Baltic in 1881, but is not like the writing in his will. It has been said that he was too ill to write or sign his will and so his brother did it for him. This may explain the difference.
Some other links such as the word "Jewes" could be a rough written James, rather than the misspelling of the word "Jews" and the V s cut in Catherine Eddows body when joined made an M.
William D Rubenstein adds further to the case by revealing that a letter was sent to a local Liverpool newspaper claiming that the next murder would be in Dublin. The letter was signed "Diego Laurenz - Diego being Spanish for James and Laurenz rhyming with Florence. Maybrick was well known for his word play, and this has been shown a few times throughout the case. A book written by Michael McIlwee "The Gangs Of Liverpool" tells of a well know gang in Liverpool in the 1880s called The High Rip Gang, so another link to the Ripper being Maybrick is found as that could be how he decided on the name.
Prof. Rubenstein also makes a point that the murders all happened on Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Many of the other names linked with the killing where wealthy and in one incident Royal, and they would very likely be away from the City on weekends.
It is probable that no one will ever be identified fully and the case closed, but unless someone comes forward with a great amount of evidence to name another person, James Maybricks' name will always be considered as one of many possibles.