Jun 24, 2020 in Informative

Modern Death Investigations and Jack the Ripper


Jack the Ripper is probably one of the most famous serial killers that have ever existed in the history of the Whitechapel district in London. He was believed to have knowledge in surgery as he had slashed all his victims on the left side of the neck where an artery connected to the heart was located. Victims associated with the murders attributed to Jack the Ripper were missing internal organs, and most of them were prostitutes who lived in the Whitechapel district. However, it remains unclear how many victims he has killed due to the different opinions and views that different investigators have had over the years.

The diary brought forward by Michael Barrett insinuating that James Maybrick had been the serial killer was later retracted by Barrett himself since he claimed that it was a forgery. This diary would finally bring closure to all murder cases associated with Jack the Ripper. However, forensic analysts disapproved the information that diary was forged, citing that some of the characteristics of the journal may have been indeed works of a potential serial killer. After several forensic procedures, it was identified that Jack the Riper was truly a serial killer. 

Modern Death Investigations and Jack the Ripper

The world today is nothing short of a masterpiece when it comes to the matters of forensics. Advanced technology and involvement of forensic science equipment have shaped the way that crime scenes were viewed in the previous days. Murders associated with Jack the Ripper would ultimately have a chance of finding better conclusions and being solved if forensics were involved. Jack the Ripper was probably one of the most famous serial killers that ever existed in the history of the Whitechapel district in London. Jack the Ripper was believed to have knowledge in surgery as he had slashed all his victims on the left side of the neck where an artery connected to the heart was located. Victims associated with the murders attributed to Jack the Ripper were missing internal organs, and most of them were prostitutes who lived in the Whitechapel district. It is clear that the modern world has embraced different techniques than the ones used by London Metropolitan police department in 1888. These techniques range from the vast use of DNA sampling machines to fingerprint indexing equipment. Thus, the modern forensics would assist in solving almost all of the Ripper cases due to the technological advancements in forensics’ matters.

Canonical Five

About 11 murder cases had occurred during the Ripper’s time of reign. However, only 5 victims stood distinct from other identified victims. The five victims were believed to had been murdered by the same person as they shared similar wounds and body mutilations. Although the other six victims had also been brutally murdered, there was no precision matching to that of the canonical five. The names of Jack the Ripper's victims were Mary Ann, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly.

 Mary Ann Nichols’ body was discovered on August 31, early in the morning, in front of a horse stable in the Whitechapel district. According to Stubley, Mary’s throat had been deeply cut in two locations with a knife. Her lower abdomen was also partially ripped open by a dip wound that was believed to had been inflicted by the same knife that was used in her throat. The examining doctor stipulated that Mary had died less than 30 minutes from the time that she had been found. 

Ann Chapman was reported to have been seen last by an eyewitness at Hanbury Street during the morning of her murder talking to an unknown man. The report said that sounds were heard by a witness, and 20 minutes later, the body of Ann was found mutilated. Ann’s throat was cut in the same manner to that of Mary Ann’s and her abdomen was ripped open. Her intestines were found but they were torn, with later autopsies revealing the missing uterus and parts of her vagina

Elizabeth Stride was murdered alongside Catherine Eddowes. According to Owen (2009), the body of Elizabeth Stride was found in Dutfield’s Yard within the London city.  Although Elizabeth was believed to had been murdered by Jack the Ripper, it was unclear why no other incisions had been made. Elizabeth’s throat was slashed, but there were no abdominal mutilations. It was believed that Elizabeth might have interrupted Ripper murdering another victim. 

Catherine Eddowes, who was killed on the same morning as Elizabeth Stride, was discovered in Mitre-square located in the city of London. Eddowes’ throat had been cut just like the rest of the Ripper’s victims, and her abdomen ripped open by a visible fresh wound. It was discovered that Catherine was missing a left kidney and a part of her uterus. 

Mary Kelly’s murder was believed to be the most horrible of the crimes conducted by Jack the Ripper in Whitechapel district. Her mutilated body was found by her landlord who was in the rent collection duty. Mary Kelly’s body was mutilated beyond recognition, with her face completely ripped off and her heart missing. The open chest and missing internal organs were the most gruesome act that had been conducted by the Ripper.

Forensic Intervention and how it would have Assisted the Ripper Cases

Modern day forensics has made use of accelerating technology, and it is clear that the killings by John the Ripper would not have been unpunished in this technological era. The following forensic science tools bring to light the importance of forensics, making it clear why they would turn out to be a success in tracing the serial killer. 

Alternative light photography is a technique used by forensic nurses to ascertain the degree of damage that occurred on a victim. The device can verify the physical conditions of the victims of an attack even before the assault had happened. This tool would assist the Metropolitan police to identify the interior bruises on the skin that the Ripper had exposed his victims to and see whether there was a pattern among them

Video Spectral Comparator 2000 is a forensic device to determine hidden writings, paper quality, and the origin of the paper. The machine would have assisted the Metropolitan police figure out whether the published journal had belonged to the exact period of Maybrick. This could have aided in the closure of Jack the Ripper’s murder cases.

DNA sequence is used to profile DNA samples to ascertain the victim or perpetrator at a crime scene. A sequencer uses skin or hair samples found at a crime scene. Therefore, using this technique, the Metropolitan police could have easily identified the Ripper’s victims. The sequencer could identify bones and teeth; hence, this could assist in the discovery and proof if Maybrick were the actual Ripper. 

Forensic Carbon-14 Dating is a technique used to identify the age of remains by measuring the levels of decomposition of radiocarbon. The method could have been used for identification to determine whether the book provided by Michael Barrett had been forged or it was authentic. 

Magnetic Fingerprinting is a forensic technology used to compare fingerprint patterns easily and quickly. According to Mooney, the equipment assists in the accurate retrieval of fingerprint impressions without any contamination. The Metropolitan police would have quickly identified Jack the Ripper as a perpetrator if the tool were in use at the time since all fingerprints are linked to an external database source.

Modern Day Murder Investigation

Modern day investigations have taken a different dimension as compared to 1888, when the Ripper cases were recorded. The following four steps are the key steps when attempting to solve a murder incident in the present day.

Documentation of Everything

The police detectives ensure that everything is documented in the book of the crime. This eases the process of finding clues and connections of the cause of the killings. The documentation would have been much easier to assist in the Ripper cases, as each account would have even the tiniest of details.

Timeline of Events

The detectives establish the timelines, within which the homicide events could have taken place, and they can quickly draw conclusions from the reported events. In the Ripper’s time, there was no timeline monitoring; therefore, nobody could prove whether the death of the Ripper victims was indeed within a specific timeline.

Following Leads

The modern day detectives always follow up on the leads of the evidence obtained at the scene of the crime. Had the police department of London Metropolitan followed the leads inclusive of prints and eyewitnesses, the Ripper could have possibly been identified.

Treatment of Everything as Evidence

Modern day death investigations treat everything at the crime scene as evidence, which does not correlate to what the Metropolitan police department did in 1888. According to Stubley, the department only followed on the victims’ bodies and not on the factors that could have led to that.

Murder Investigative Approaches in 1888 and Present Day

The modern day methods to murder cases would have found a solution to the murder of Jack the Ripper. The prints found on the victims’ clothes would have been analyzed to identify if it was indeed one person who had been involved in all the reported 11 murders. The prints obtained would have been compared against those of Maybrick’s and if a positive outcome were obtained, he would have been convicted of murder.

Impact of the Ripper Cases on Modern Day Investigations

The Ripper cases paved the way for scientific intervention in police investigations. Detailed accounts of events and photography were adopted by the police department, a thing that was not thought to be important in 1888. The Ripper cases also prompted the introduction of specializations of the police departments, such as the homicide department, with an aim to improve the investigation of murder cases.


Modern day technology improves all the time and the benefits it comes with assist in the better identification of both victims and perpetrators at any crime scene. Although the forensic science was used in the recent past, the intensity was limited, and the people carrying out the tests had choices of either disapproving or approving the tests. The modern day forensic science provides tests that give results beyond doubt and the conclusions derived are tangible as they are based on either DNA structure or credible prints. The fact that nobody was convicted for the murders attributed to Jack the Ripper was the failure of the police department at the time. The modern day equipment and technology could have helped solve the crimes of the past, including those committed by Jack the Ripper.

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