Richard III re­searchers rule out lo­cat­ing Jack the Rip­per’s vic­tim

Yorkshire Post - - NEWS -

HOPES OF find­ing the re­mains of Jack the Rip­per’s last known vic­tim have been dashed by the same ex­perts who iden­ti­fied the skele­ton of King Richard III.

Re­searchers from the Univer­sity of Le­ices­ter in­ves­ti­gated the fea­si­bil­ity of lo­cat­ing Mary Jane Kelly’s grave in Ley­ton­stone in east Lon­don, and con­cluded the “Her­culean” project would take too long and cost too much.

The team was com­mis­sioned by crime writer Pa­tri­cia Corn­well, who has writ­ten two books on the se­rial killer be­lieved to have mur­dered at least five women in Whitechape­l, Lon­don, from Au­gust to Novem­ber 1888.

But af­ter vis­it­ing St Pa­trick’s Catholic Ceme­tery in Ley­ton­stone, where Ms Kelly is thought to have been buried, the sci­en­tists de­cided that search­ing for the mur­der vic­tim’s re­mains was im­prac­ti­cal. In a new re­port en­ti­tled the The Mary Jane Kelly Project, they pointed out that it was likely to in­volve ex­ca­vat­ing an area con­tain­ing hun­dreds of graves, and each ex­huma­tion would legally re­quire the con­sent of next of kin.

Lead re­searcher Dr Turi King said: “The pre­cise lo­ca­tion of her grave is un­known and, not only that, it rapidly be­came clear that as such, the re­mains of a num­ber of other in­di­vid­u­als would have to be dis­turbed and that her re­mains are highly likely to have been dug through when the com­mu­nal grave site she was buried in was reused in the 1940s, mak­ing ac­cu­rate iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of any of her re­mains highly prob­lem­atic if not im­pos­si­ble.”

Dr King was part of the team that con­firmed a skele­ton found be­neath a Le­ices­ter car park in 2012 be­longed to Richard III, who was killed at the Bat­tle of Bos­worth Field in 1485.

Richard’s descen­dants lost a High Court fight in 2014 to have his re­mains rein­terred in York Min­ster. Mem­bers of the Plan­ta­genet Al­liance had claimed it had been the wish of the king, also known as Richard of York, to be laid to rest in the church. But they lost the le­gal bat­tle and his re­mains were buried in Le­ices­ter Cathe­dral.

PA­TRI­CIA CORN­WELL: Funded re­searchers to look into find­ing Mary Jane Kelly’s re­mains.

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