New Evidence suggests Jack the Ripper lived on Flower and Dean Street
The century-old Jack the Ripper mystery may be one step closer to resolution after Canadian criminologists Dr. Kim Rossmo and Steve Le Comber of Queen Mary, University of London announced that their geographical profiling model pinpointed Jack the Rippers place of residence as Flower and Dean Street in old London. The street has long been known as “the wicked quarter mile” and was a festering slum of brothels, opium dens, and doss houses during the time of the Jack the Ripper murders.
Rossmo and Comber used their latest geographical profiling model and the locations of the five canonical Ripper victims to target the Victorian serial killer’s residence. The model works because most criminals operate in predictable locations, usually not too far from their home or place of work. But despite working in a somewhat-defined area, criminals also set up a “buffer zone” around their homes within which they avoid committing crimes of any sort.
The model had been previously used to track down the serial rapist Clive Barwell. A similar model was used to map early cholera cases in central London and in that instance, was even able to pinpoint the source of the outbreak as a water pump on Broad Street, Soho. More recently, the model was used to target the origin of a devastating malaria outbreak in Cairo.
Flower and Dean Street in the Victorian Era
Flower and Dean Street was located in the East End of London. Lying just off Brick Lane in Whitechapel, it was known as “the wicked quarter mile” before it was destroyed during World War II bombings. It was one of the most notorious slum areas of the Victorian era and was mentioned in official Jack the Ripper investigative reports as the “the foulest, most dangerous street in the whole metropolis.” The poverty and deprivation on the street were clearly reflected by the many common lodging-houses located on the road.
This is not the first time the infamous street has been suspected of being the location of Jack the Ripper’s residence. A 2008 Scotland Yard geographical profile of Jack the Ripper concluded that he most probably lived on Flower and Dean Street. Newspapers from the era also document that detectives at one time believed that it was a likely location for the Ripper. In 1888, during the peak of the serial killer’s rampage, police even conducted door-to-door inquiries on the infamous road.
Speaking at the Cheltenham Science Festival Dr Rossmo said:
“All the victims lived very close to Flower and Dean Street. The last victim was seen less than a block away picking up a customer, and that was probably her last customer, probably the Ripper. So, it is safe to say it was none of the Royal family as people have speculated. It is unlikely they would have frequented an area like that, and we think the Ripper is someone who lived on that street.”
Additional evidence pointing to Flower and Dean Street
It may be worthy to note that Jack the Ripper victim, Elizabeth Stride, spent her last afternoon of life cleaning rooms in a lodging house at 32 Flower and Dean Street. She was killed on the same night as Catherine Eddowes (September 30, 1888) and coincidentally (or not), both victims resided in two common lodging houses on the street. Tracing known Jack the Ripper movements after the Stride/Eddowes double-murder also suggests Flower and Dean Street as the Ripper’s place of abode. On the night of the murders, a bloody piece of apron taken from one of the victims was found in front of a building on nearby Goulston Street along with a message on the building’s wall that read: “The Juews are not the men that will not be blamed for nothing”. Dr Rossmo claims that if a line is drawn between the location of the victim’s bodies and the apron, it suggests the Ripper was heading towards Flower and Dean Street. In his presentation, he told attendees:
“It looks like he was on his way home.”