Ripper Watch

By Rob Last edited 179 months ago
Ripper Watch

Did you really think you'd get through to Christmas without hearing another Jack the Ripper theory?

To be honest we're still smarting from Patricia Cornwell's misleading and overstated revelations of a few years ago that it was the painter Walter Sickert what done it (Cornwell, if you remember, went as far as buying up 32 Sickert originals and then tore one of them up in the hope of finding some conclusive DNA evidence).

This latest theory though, all hangs on a scratched, 18ct gold pocket-watch.

On first impressions the evidence seems to be rather more conclusive than the "hallmarks of a psychopath" crap that Cornwell had to resort to.

The watch (found in Liverpool in the mid-1990s) carries the scratched initials of five Ripper victims as well as the words, "I am Jack" and "J Maybrick" across its centre (James Maybrick being "an outwardly respectable Liverpool cotton merchant who frequented brothels and was addicted to arsenic and strychnine"). It was accompanied by a 64-page diary confession.

Oh well then. Case closed.

But wait. It might all be a hoax designed to net "£4m in TV and newspaper rights". After all the scratches could have been made at any time...or could they?

With the help of a very very powerful microscope and Bristol University's interface analysis centre, a conclusion has been reached. The markings on the watch, it was declared yesterday, "were tens of years old...they could have been very, very old and were certainly not new but it is difficult to be precise."

That's that cleared up then.

And some further reasons not to believe this particular theory? One of it's supporters is television's Jeremy Beadle and the "written confession" uses some decidely 20th-century expressions such as "top myself" .

Well, until next time then. And in the meantime we’ll just settle down with a cup ot tea and reread From Hell. Now that's a theory!

Last Updated 24 November 2004