Three years ago, an unknown man with a brown leather briefcase appeared on the doorstep of Jari Louhelainen in Liverpool.
Jari Louhelainen, a Finnish expert in molecular biology, may have solved the mystery of the infamous Jack the Ripper.
“Here's something that might interest you,” the man said, after introducing himself as Russell Edwards. The contents of the briefcase has allowed Louhelainen to determine the identity of the infamous serial killer that held London in the cold clutch of fear 126 years ago, Jack the Ripper.
Louhelainen on Sunday stumbled into the global media limelight as the findings of the study were released. The story of the forensic investigation, in turn, is published today in a book written by Edwards, Naming Jack the Ripper.
“I didn't realise how big a thing it was until today,” Louhelainen commented to Helsingin Sanomat on Sunday.
Inside the briefcase was a shawl that had allegedly belonged to Catherine Eddowes, one of the victims of Jack the Ripper. Reportedly, the shawl was nabbed from the murder scene by a detective who intended on giving it to his wife.
“The wife didn't care for it too much, for obvious reasons,” tells Louhelainen.
Louhelainen was initially sceptic about the authenticity of the shawl but changed his mind gradually. First, the shawl was illuminated with a UV light to reveal blood stains consistent with the other murders of Jack the Ripper. In addition, the shawl was shown to have traces of other bodily fluids: semen.
“It was known that Jack the Ripper used to unload himself, so to speak, after a murder,” explains Louhelainen.
In addition, traces of the kidney cells of the victim were found on the garment. “It was typical of Jack the Ripper to remove the internal organs of the victims.”
The real breakthrough, however, did not occur until a group led by Edwards located the descendants of both the suspected serial killer and his alleged victim, whose DNA samples were later shown to match the semen of the suspect and the blood of the victim, respectively. “We were able to prove that the shawl was at the murder scene,” says Louhelainen.
How reliable are the findings?
“One strand of the DNA found in the shawl was a 99.2 per cent match to the sample taken from the suspect's descendant, another a 100 per cent match.”
The results were received already in February. Thereon, Louhelainen conducted further DNA analysis to determine the colour of eyes and hair of the offender, as well as his birth region. It all fit. The scientific evidence shows that Jack the Ripper was one of the six key suspects of the police, Aaron Kosminski, a barber of Polish heritage.