|Michael O'Mara Books|
31 August 2023
My thanks to the publisher and Alison Menzies for my copy of this book
This highly revelatory book, based on original research and completely new analysis, presents a compelling new suspect as the most notorious serial killer of all time. Using a different analytical approach, for the first time, Sarah Bax Horton identifies a named perpetrator as Jack the Ripper by linking eye-witness accounts of the killer’s distinctive physical characteristics to his official medical records. It argues that his broken left arm, which left him unable to work in early 1888, was one of his triggers to kill as part of a serious physical and mental decline caused by severe epilepsy.
This new perpetrator fits the profile as stated by the police of the day: a local man of low class of whom they became aware after the final murder, when they launched an unsuccessful surveillance operation against him. As has never been done before, the author – an experienced former government researcher with specific expertise in research and analysis – formulates a complete analysis of the killer and his methodology, including how he accosted his victims, where he took them to their deaths, his unique modus operandi of a blitz-style attack, and how he escaped from each crime scene without detection.
Each of the six murders – from Martha Tabram to Marie Kelly – is discussed and reconstructed as perpetrated by this man, with his escalating violence clearly demonstrated.
📖 My Review..
Profiling 'Jack the Ripper' is as fascinating today as it was during that fateful period in the East End of London when the horrific murders were taking place. This account looks in considerable detail not only into the character of 'One Armed Jack' who very much fits the description given by some witnesses but it also brings into sharp focus each of the murders and the subsequent inquests which took place. In using considerable research a profile emerges of a man who could very much be responsible and the author does a convincing job in putting forward her findings so that a realistic picture of a violent, and unstable, criminal emerges in precise detail.
I found the book fascinating and very quickly became immersed in what it was like to live in the squalid conditions around Whitechapel in the 1880s. The women who plied their trade as sex workers eking out a meagre existence for a few pennies and a tot of gin never stood a chance against a man who was hellbent on murder. It was interesting to have the Victorian policing methods brought to life and to read witness statements gathered at the time and presented at each of the the inquests of the murder victims. Whilst the police methods were as good as they could be at the time, I did wonder just what those Victorian police officers would make of our modern day forensic science teams.
The author writes well and puts forward her analysis with great attention to detail so that by the end of the book I was convinced by her argument that this man could be responsible. Over one hundred and thirty-five years later we still have a morbid fascination for the events which took place in Victorian London and the names of the unfortunate victims of Jack the Ripper will never be forgotten.
About the Author
Sarah Bax Horton is a former civil servant who worked for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office for over twenty years. She has an MA honours degree in English and Foreign Languages from Somerville College Oxford. Her interest in genealogy and a family member related to the Jack the Ripper case inspired her to research the lives of the personalities involved.