You’ll recall last month this blockbuster story “Jack the Ripper identity confirmed by DNA”. Well, as we suspected… meh.
A 23-year-old Polish immigrant barber called Aaron Kosminski was “definitely, categorically and absolutely” the man who carried out the atrocities in 1888, according to a detailed analysis of DNA extracted from a silk shawl allegedly found at the scene of one of his murders.
However, the scientist who carried out the DNA analysis has apparently made a fundamental error that fatally undermines his case against Kosminski – and once again throws open the debate over who the identity of the Ripper.
The author of the book that revealed this line of evidence, Russell Edwards, paid Dr Jari Louhelainen, a molecular biologist at Liverpool John Moores University, to do a forensic analysis on the shawl that supposedly belonged to Catherine Eddowes. Even though this story was dubious in itself, it was discovered by __ that Louhelainen made an “error of nomenclature” when using a DNA database to calculate the chances of a genetic match. The details are technical and not easy for the layman to understand. Several scientists are quoted at agreeing that the mistake may have happened. But if this is true, it means that the DNA wasn’t a good match to suspect Aaron Kosminski.
The problem is, neither the original findings nor the critique are of much value since the details weren’t published in a reviewed journal. So, we are back to “Unsolved”.