Jack the Ripper's true identity was plunged back into darkness this week after an amateur sleuth admitted he'd made grave error in assessing DNA evidence that fingered Aaron Kosminski, a 23-year-old polish barber, as the man behind five grisly East London murders in 1888.
According to The Independent (UK)
, the scientist, Jari Louhelainen, made an "error of nomenclature" when assessing DNA retrieved from a shawl of one of the victims, Catherine Eddowes.
"I've got the only piece of forensic evidence in the whole history of the case. I've spent 14 years working, and we have finally solved the mystery of who Jack the Ripper was. Only non-believers that want to perpetuate the myth will doubt. This is it now – we have unmasked him," said Louhelainen's business partner, Russell Edwards, before the big reveal last month.
Louhelainen said he had found a unique, identifying mutation in the Ripper's DNA called 314.1C, but what he really found was 315.1C, an exceedingly common mutation shared by 99 percent of Europeans. Moreover, he seems to have misplaced a decimal point elsewhere in his work, exaggerating the rarity of his mistaken mutation by a factor of 10, Gizmodo reported
The Washington Post pointed out
that the latest Ripper debunking is hardly the first, and not likely to be the last in the over 120-year-old cold case. A number of suspects have been identified over the years, including Victorian artist Walter Sickert and Queen Victoria’s grandson.
In the end, "Any suggestion therefore that the Ripper and Kosminski are the same person appears to be based on conjecture and supposition – as it has been ever since the police first identified Kosminksi as a possible suspect more than a century ago," the Independent concluded.
The search continues.
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