Jack the Ripper’s face ‘revealed’ as police make bizarre new discovery

Carved head, thought to be image of notorious murderer, found again after disappearing for seven years

Jane Dalton
Thursday 29 December 2022 23:48 GMT
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The cane has been put on show to new police recruits
The cane has been put on show to new police recruits (College of Policing)

The face of Jack the Ripper – the gruesome 19th-century killer of at least five women – has apparently been revealed.

A carved head, thought to be an image of the notorious murderer, is on the wooden handle of a walking stick that was thought to have been lost but has just resurfaced.

The stick was once owned by the London detective who spent years trying to track down the killer who left the women dead in London’s East End.

Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly were murdered in Whitechapel between 31 August and 9 November 1888.

The women, who worked as prostitutes, had their throats slashed, and three of them had internal organs removed.

Letters taunting investigators and claiming to be from the “killer” first used the term “Jack the Ripper”. Most were thought to be hoaxes but the moniker remained.

Detectives believed the murderer had a background in human anatomy but never established for certain how many victims there were in all.

Police investigating 11 murders in Whitechapel and Spitalfields between 1888 and 1891 could not link them to the five in 1888.

The walking stick was presented to Scotland Yard detective Frederick Abberline by fellow officers when he was taken off the case in 1889. He retired in 1892 and died in 1929.

A street near Spitafileds market where Jack the Ripper killed most of his victims
A street near Spitafileds market where Jack the Ripper killed most of his victims (AFP via Getty Images)

The face etched into the handle is the only reported facial composite of the Ripper.

For years the cane had been stored at the Police College in Bramshill, Hampshire, and was feared to have been lost when the institution closed in 2015.

When staff at the College of Policing’s headquarters in Ryton, West Midlands, were looking through memorabilia, they came across it again.

The walking stick with its face has now been put on display to show new recruits advancements in police technology.

Antony Cash, content creator at the College of Policing, said: “Finding this cane was an exciting moment for us.

“Jack the Ripper is one of the biggest and most infamous murder cases in our history and his crimes were significant in paving the way for modern policing and forensics as it caused police to begin experimenting with and developing new techniques as they attempted to try and solve these murders, such as crime scene preservation, profiling and photography.

“This walking cane is such a fascinating artefact, which represents such a historically significant time in policing.”

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