Sunday Sun, UK:
He stalked the streets of London’s East End in 1888, striking terror into the hearts of all.
Now new light is being shed on Jack the Ripper . . . including a Geordie connection.
Forensic expert and retired police inspector Norman Kirtlan has been profiling the notorious Victorian serial killer and uncovered new evidence including a possible Ripper murder in the Gateshead area.
Norman has compared Victorian police methods with those used by today’s cops and has come up with some startling results.
He said: “For the past four years I have been teaching forensics throughout the UK.
“It is apparent that the interest in the Whitechapel murders has not diminished since they were perpetrated in the 1880s.
“When one of my students gave me a book by Pat Cornwell, linking the murder with artist Walter Sickert, it occurred to me that many of the theories linking everyone from the Prince Regent to American psychopath doctors were based on primitive evidence gathering and faulty forensics at the time.”
Jack the Ripper is the popular name given to the monster who killed a number of prostitutes within a mile area in Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Aldgate, and the City of London.
Cornwell presented her theory that Sickert was responsible for the murders in a book in 2002.
She claimed she was able to scientifically prove DNA on a letter attributed to the Ripper and one written by Sickert belong to only one per cent of the population.
The world over people are fascinated with the murders. The Ripper wasn’t the first serial killer, but is one of the most famous.
He was never caught and, to this day, people puzzle over who he was.
In many movies he’s portrayed as a tall man with a black coat and top hat, stalking the mists of Old Whitechapel.
But Norman warned: “Once we adopt that image we can never look at the case with an open mind.
“We have to start with a clean piece of paper and look broadly at a case that, while it happened over a century ago, still provides opportunities for discovering new evidence.
“Using modern profiling methods and examining the evidence with a completely open mind, it seems obvious that there were many flaws in the case - and the many suspects put forward by authors over the years.”
His research has led him to a Ripper-style murder, here in the North East. A week before Ripper victim Mary Kelly was murdered in her squalid room, Jane Savage was found on Birtley Fell, Gateshead, with her intestines spilled out and her throat cut.
“The Metropolitan police were terrified of this escalating,” said Norman.
“Ripper detectives from London were very quickly at the scene and discounted the possibility that the Ripper was responsible. Her lover Willy Waddell was blamed and he was hanged.
“Perhaps an innocent man was sent to the gallows as a result of the Ripper’s handiwork being discounted.”
He added: “Serial killers, we now know, travel outside of their original killing zone. The railways were regular and reliable, and if we look at Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe - he, was mobile and at liberty to kill at will.
There were other Ripper-type murders around the country, and if the police had been wholly ethical back in 1888, we could accept that Jane Savage’s lover was the murderer. But we can’t rule out the London connection.”
Norman will be revealing more of his theories at a session called Jack the Ripper - The Truth at Gateshead Heritage@St Mary’s, at Oakwellgate, Gateshead, on March 10. It starts at 6.30pm and tickets are £2 from the box office 0191 433 6965.
He is also running a forensics course for the WEA at the Bridge Hotel, Newcastle, from September 8. For enquiries email: firstname.lastname@example.org