Press "Enter" to skip to content

Bid to unmask Jack the Ripper with forensic evidence from final victim thwarted by Catholic church

A chance to resolve the 132-year-old mystery of Jack the Ripper with forensic evidence has been thwarted – by the Roman Catholic church.

Authorities which own the cemetery where the Ripper’s final victim was buried have refused to allow an exhumation.

Their decision has stymied a bid by an author who believes he is related to Mary Jane Kelly – who was murdered in Whitechapel, east London, in November 1888 – to prove the link with DNA.

Dr Wynne Weston-Davies, a retired surgeon, argues that Mary Jane was the street name used by his great aunt, Elizabeth Weston-Davies, while working as a prostitute.

He claims Jack the Ripper, who murdered five women in 1888 and has never been identified, was Mary Jane’s former husband, a journalist called Francis Spurzheim Craig.

Her death was an act of revenge by Craig, 51, who killed the four others as ‘cover’ for his sickening crime, Dr Weston-Davies claimed in his book, The Real Mary Kelly.

But the Mail can reveal that Dr Weston-Davies’ plan to obtain DNA from the grave at St Patrick’s Catholic cemetery in Leytonstone, east London, has been blocked by the Secular Clergy Common Fund, the Catholic charity which owns the site. 

Dr Weston-Davies, 76, was told: ‘The Fund, as the authority controlling the burial ground, would… object to exhumation as this would disturb the remains of other persons in the cemetery.’ 

The Ministry of Justice is minded to grant a licence for the exhumation – but the final decision rests with the cemetery owners.

At the time of the Ripper’s 12-week reign of terror Craig was a reporter covering courts and inquests in the East End. 

Dr Weston-Davies believes Craig’s knowledge of police methods led him to kill four other women as a cover. 

He claims the journalist killed Elizabeth after being shamed by the collapse of their brief marriage and her return to prostitution.

Craig died in 1903 by slitting his own throat – just as the Ripper’s victims perished.

If DNA links Dr Weston-Davies to Mary Jane Kelly, it would prove she was indeed his great aunt, Elizabeth Weston-Davies, and add weight to his Ripper claims. 

He said: ‘I am confident we can exhume that coffin cleanly… It is my great hope that the church authorities will change their minds.’

Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *