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Butcher is prime suspect of killings

PUBLISHED: 16:13 27 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:12 11 August 2010

IT IS a mystery that has fascinated and baffled generations of historians and policemen around the world. Who exactly was the notorious man dubbed Jack the Ripper? Well, more than 120 years after he slaughtered at least five women and struck fear into th

IT IS a mystery that has fascinated and baffled generations of historians and policemen around the world. Who exactly was the notorious man dubbed Jack the Ripper?

Well, more than 120 years after he slaughtered at least five women and struck fear into the streets of London's Whitechapel one Dagenham author is pretty certain he has the answer.

Ripper expert William Beadle, of Aldborough Road, has just published his new book Jack the Ripper Unmasked, which points the finger firmly at a man called William Henry Bury.

Bury moved to the East End in 1887, a year before the five-month killing spree began. The horsemeat butcher was out all night on the dates of the murders and when his wife 'committed suicide' she had been strangled and her body ripped up in the same way as the Ripper's victims.

When Bury was executed for the murder of his wife, the Whitechapel killings stopped. According to Beadle's book, a Scotland Yard detective even conceded to the hangman that he was 'quite satisfied that you have hanged the Ripper.'

Beadle has also carefully put together a psychological profile of Bury and compared it with those of other serial killers. He discovered that, like many of these murderers, Bury had a terrible childhood and a violent relationship with his wife.

Beadle, 63, says he's now "personally convinced Bury was Jack the Ripper."

The author first heard of Bury in 1989 when he read a book called Jack the Ripper A-Z.

"It mentioned Bury and I thought: this is a man worth looking at. As I started researching him, more and more information came to light which indicated he was the killer.

"In 1995 I wrote an overview of the Ripper murders called Anatomy of a Myth. I talked about Bury in the final chapter, but decided he was worth dedicating a whole book to."

Beadle, who grew up in Dagenham and went to John Perry Primary School and the now-defunct Park Secondary Modern, says his Jack the Ripper fascination began at the age of 13, after watching a documentary about the murders on TV.

As well as writing books on the subject he is now the chairman of the Whitechapel Society 1888, a forum for anyone interested in delving deeper into the killings, as well as the Victorian society in which they happened.

When asked why Jack the Ripper has captivated so many people over the years, Beadle says: "I think his allure lies in the fact that, officially, he was never caught. It's the supreme murder mystery."

Despite an obvious passion for investigating unsolved crimes the author says he's never been tempted to join the boys in blue.

"My father was a policeman, but it's actually never appealed to me. I wouldn't like the constraints of the police force, I enjoy investigating on my own."

Jack the Ripper Unmasked can be found at most good bookshops and on Amazon priced £17.99.


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