The face of Jack the Ripper, the gruesome 19th century killer of at least five women, has apparently been revealed.
A sculpted head, believed to be an image of the notorious killer, is on the wooden handle of a walking stick thought to be lost but has just resurfaced.
The cane was once owned by the London detective who spent years trying to track down the killer who left the women dead in London’s East End.
Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly were murdered in Whitechapel between August 31 and November 9, 1888.
The women, who worked as prostitutes, had their throats slit and three of them had their internal organs removed.
Letters mocking the investigators and claiming to be from the “killer” used the term “Jack the Ripper” for the first time. Most were thought to be hoaxes, but the nickname stuck.
Investigators believed the killer had a background in human anatomy, but never determined for certain how many victims there were in all.
Police investigating 11 murders in Whitechapel and Spitalfields between 1888 and 1891 have failed to link them to the five in 1888.
The walking stick was presented to Scotland Yard detective Frederick Abberline by fellow officers when he was taken off the case in 1889. He retired in 1892 and died in 1929.
The face etched into the handle is the only reported facial composite of the Ripper.
For years the baton was stored at the Police College in Bramshill, Hampshire, and was feared lost when the college closed in 2015.
When staff at the College of Policing HQ in Ryton, West Midlands were examining the memorabilia, they came across it again.
The walking stick with his face has now been put on display to show the new recruits’ advancements in police technology.
Antony Cash, content creator at the College of Policing, 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, representing a historically significant moment for policing.”