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Author says he's discovered Jack the Ripper's identity

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(Read caption) 'Naming Jack the Ripper' is by Russell Edwards.

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An author says he has discovered the identity of notorious 19th-century serial killer Jack the Ripper.

In his book "Naming Jack the Ripper," Russell Edwards details how DNA evidence was used to match an item left behind at a crime scene with the man he says is the criminal. Edwards believes Aaron Kosminski, a Polish immigrant, was behind the crimes. He had come up many times before when suspects for the crime were discussed, according to the Times of London.

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At an auction in 2007, Edwards obtained a shawl with blood and other DNA evidence on it that he says was discovered next to one of the victims, Catherine Eddowes. He worked with scientist Jari Louhelainen and according to the International Business Times, Louhelainen compared DNA he says was on the shawl to DNA from a descendant of Eddowes and said the two matched. He and Dr. David Miller then compared DNA on the shawl that could be from Kosminski to DNA from a descendant of Kosminski and said the two also matched.

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Edwards identified himself as an “armchair detective,” according to the Guardian, and said his identification of Kosminski is “definitely, categorically and absolutely” the answer.

“I’ve got the only piece of forensic evidence in the whole history of the case,” he said of the shawl. “I’ve spent 14 years working on it, and we have definitively solved the mystery of who Jack the Ripper was. Only non-believers that want to perpetuate the myth will doubt. This is it now – we have unmasked him… When we discovered the truth it was the most amazing feeling of my entire life.”

However, others are casting doubts on the proposed solution. Professor Sir Alec Jeffreys, who came up with the technique of DNA fingerprints, told the Independent that it is an “interesting but remarkable claim that needs to be subjected to peer review, with detailed analysis of the provenance of the shawl and the nature of the claimed DNA match with the perpetrator's descendants and its power of discrimination; no actual evidence has yet been provided.” And David Rumbelow, identified as an expert of the case by The Times, said the shawl was not on a police list of what was found near Eddowes’ body, while Richard Cobb, who is in charge of conventions about the case and tours, told The Times that the shawl was near Eddowes’ descendants during a 2007 conference, which could be the source of the family DNA.

“The shawl has been openly handled by loads of people and been touched, breathed on, spat upon,” he said.