New Theory: Jack the Ripper Was a Woman

New book claims doctor's wife did the dirty deeds

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted May 10, 2012 9:30 AM CDT | Updated May 13, 2012 9:58 AM CDT

(Newser) – The sadistic killer who struck London in 1888, killing five prostitutes over a 10-week span may have been ... a woman? A new book (titled the says-it-all Jack the Ripper: The Hand of a Woman) puts forth a new theory: That Jack the Ripper was indeed a female, specifically one named Lizzie Williams, wife of royal physician Sir John Williams. Author John Morris tells the Birmingham Mail that "numerous clues scattered throughout the crimes, taken individually, may mean little, but when grouped together a strong case for a woman murderer begins to emerge."

What are these clues? For one, Lizzie was unable to bear children, which makes the fact that three of the prostitutes' wombs were removed suspect. Morris believes a crazed Lizzie Williams decided to take revenge on those who could have children, and notes that she suffered a breakdown after the murders. Supporting Morris' case: The women weren't sexually assaulted, and bits of a woman's cape, skirt, and hat were recovered from the fireplace of the final woman to die, Mary Jane Kelly. Except Kelly had never been seen wearing the items—and she was reportedly having an affair with Sir John Williams, who was himself considered a prime suspect. Lizzie Williams died in 1912, having never been interviewed about the murders.

A member of staff is seen reflected in "The Illustrated Police News" on display during a press preview for the exhibition "Jack the Ripper and the East End" at the Museum in Docklands, London.   (AP Photo/Akira Suemori)
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