The face of Jack the Ripper could finally be unmasked after a vital clue is discovered hidden in police files.
A hooded figure carved into Scotland Yard Detective Frederick Abberline’s wooden walking stick may be the only true likeness of London’s most notorious serial killer.
Abberline was taken off the case after failing to catch the killer terrorizing the dark streets of Whitechapel in the autumn of 1888.
Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly had their throats slashed and mutilated in a way that police believed their killer knew human anatomy.
Consumed by the case, Chief Detective Abberline had the only known facial composite of Jack the Ripper carved into his walking stick.
For years the baton had been stored at the Police College in Bramshill, Hampshire, and was feared lost when the college closed in 2015.
College content creator Antony Cash said: “Finding this cane was an exciting moment for us.
“Jack the Ripper is one of the greatest and most infamous murder cases in our history and his crimes were significant in paving the way for modern policing and forensics as he caused the police to start experimenting and developing new techniques as they tried to solving these homicides, such as crime scene preservation, profiling, and photography.
“This walking stick is such a fascinating artifact that it represents a historically significant moment in policing.
“It’s amazing that we can put this on display here in Ryton, along with the original newspaper clippings, so our officers can see firsthand how far we’ve advanced in policing since then.”
Jack the Ripper
The story of Jack the Ripper has become one of the most enduring mysteries in history
His brutal and seemingly motiveless killing spree has, over the decades, led to more than 200 names being placed in the frame, including celebrity suspects such as Lewis Carroll, Prince Albert Victor and Sir John Williams, obstetrician to the royal family.
But despite a large-scale investigation, the Ripper – described as the first modern serial killer – was never caught.
In 2014, another author said that forensic evidence proved that Polish-born Aaron Kosminski was the real killer.
A shawl found next to Catherine Eddowes’ body was analyzed by Dr Jari Louhelainen, who found the alleged killer’s DNA next to the victim’s blood.