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Ex-detective explores the real story of Jack The Ripper
STORIES about Jack the Ripper still send a chill down British spines, but how much do we actually know about the Whitechapel Murders of 1888?
With more than 100 books on the subject, as well as numerous films and television documentaries, the facts of the case have been endlessly dramatised and distorted, to the point that much of the truth is often lost.
And this is where Trevor Marriott comes in - to start from scratch and separate the myth from reality.
The retired murder squad detective has spent the last ten years carrying out a cold case investigation into the mystery which always fascinated him during his career.
And to mark 125 years since the brutal killings sent waves of fear through the East End, Marriott is set to tour the country to present his evidence, starting in Chesham.
He worked on about 20 murder cases with the Bedfordshire police force before retiring in the 1980s, but in 2002 decided to use his skills to investigate the Ripper case afresh.
He says the results are startling, as he is able to dispel many of the original theories which have been accepted as fact for more than a century.
He told Freetime: "I’d always had more than a passing interest in this mystery, but it wasn’t until I had more time on my hands that I got to look at it. "Jack the Ripper has almost become a cult figure over the years and the name has become synonymous with other murderers like the Yorkshire Ripper, which has helped keep the mystery alive."
Most claims and stories about the murders are based on the presumption that one killer was operating in Whitechapel, but Marriott started his investigation by taking away the the Ripper figure - which simply left a series of similar unsolved murders.
One generally accepted ‘fact’ is the killer murdered five prostitutes between August and November 1888, but Marriott has uncovered other victims both in London, the USA and Germany - leading to a new prime suspect.
And he added: "Lots of things about the mystery haven’t turned out to be true. I’ve also been able to prove using modern methods that the killer didn’t remove organs from victims, which is a major and important find.
"And I’ve uncovered the names of four suspects from the Metropolitan Police archive which had never been made public... And one of these names is very interesting."
Ultimately though, Marriott believes the Whitechapel Murders were not committed by the same person, while Jack the Ripper may have been nothing more than a myth created by a newspaper reporter.
Perhaps it’s the journalist in me that feels slightly disappointed at this, but if that’s the truth then that’s what should be told.
Marriott, who is also publishing a book this year, added: "Many people have put forward a case for a particular suspect but it’s never been proved. I entered the investigation in a totally unbiased way, with no one that I was pushing towards. I hope people when they’ve come along and see the show will be in a totally different mindset by the time they leave."
He says his one-man show called ‘Jack the Ripper- A 21st Century Investigation’ is packed with pictures from 1888 showing original crime scene photographs of the victims, the suspects and many other original photographs relative to the murders.
The show is at Chesham’s Elgiva Theatre on January 30. Tickets are £13 or £12 concessions. For the Box Office call 01494 582900 or see www.elgiva.com
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