Jack the Ripper Unmasked - William Beadle

JACK the Ripper was really William Bury, a pathetic alcoholic who was hanged in Dundee for the murder of his wife. That is the theory of Ripper expert William Beadle in his new book, Jack the Ripper Unmasked (�17.99, John Blake). Beadle compares the murde

JACK the Ripper was really William Bury, a pathetic alcoholic who was hanged in Dundee for the murder of his wife.

That is the theory of Ripper expert William Beadle in his new book, Jack the Ripper Unmasked (�17.99, John Blake).

Beadle compares the murders to those of other serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy and draws up a psychological profile of the infamous Whitechapel slasher who gutted at least five women in 1888.

The book is full of detailed research and reads like TV dramas CSI and Criminal Minds. But it is not convincing enough to end the debate about Jack's real identity.


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Beadle's theory is that Bury killed women who reminded him of his mother, Mary Jane, who was committed to a lunatic asylum when he was a year old and died when he was four, and his sister, Elizabeth Ann, who died of an epileptic fit when he was four months old. Beadle argues that the Ripper's victims all had one of those four names, including Catherine Eddowes who was going by the name of Mary Ann Kelly.

Of course, they were pretty common first names.

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He also suggests that the Ripper mutilated the women, removing their intestines and sexual organs because his father had been killed when a cart wheel ran the whole length of his body, presumably causing similar injuries. Seems a bit far-fetched to me.

He's on stronger ground towards the end of the book when Bury kills his wife, leaving similar wounds to the Ripper's trademark. Bury was always out when the Ripper struck and objects were found at his home which corresponded to those taken from the Ripper victims.

- LINDSAY JONES

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