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