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Unmasking Jack the Ripper
"Perhaps the best Jack the Ripper documentary produced in recent years." North American and European DVD formats both available.
Buy now!

Trevor Marriott
Interview with Trevor Marriott
1 May, 2005

The following interview took place on 1 May 2005. The questions were asked by Stephen P. Ryder, Editor of Casebook: Jack the Ripper.

  •   Your biography indicates that you worked as a detective in both the Criminal Investigation Department and in Special Branch. How did your experience in these departments help in your investigation into the Whitechapel murders? Were there any modern-day cases in your career which provided some particular insight into to the Ripper's crimes?

      M: As a trained invstigator you learn look at all the facts surrounding cases in a totally different light to members of the public. Firstly you have to be suspicious, never take anything for granted as far as evidence is concerned or what witnesses have said you always have to check and double check. As far as the Whitechapel Murders were concerned a greater percentage of the evidence in The Ripper case is made up of weak hearsay evidence and what appears to be wild speculative theories raised by armchair detectives who are prepared to accept everything and anything anyone chooses to put forward. But are not prepared to back down when the flaws in the evidence and the theories become apparent.

    I wanted to re investigate the murders casting a professional eye over what evidence there was and what if anything i could perhaps uncover from looking closely at everything surrounding the murders and hopefully be in a position to put forward an impartial professional conclusion

  •   In your book "Jack the Ripper: The 21st Century Investigation", you seem to cast doubt on the number of women Jack the Ripper actually murdered. You write that the Smith and Coles murders were probably not the Ripper's work, but you also seem to be on the fence in terms of the Tabram, Stride and Kelly murders. If you had to venture a guess, which victims do you believe were in fact killed by the Ripper?

      M: As far as Tabram is concerned I cannot totally rule her out as being a Ripper victim. If you look at my conclusions as far as a merchant seaman is concerned there is a definite time pattern to the murders which is almost a 24 day cycle given several days either side Aug 7th-Aug 31st-Sep 8th-Sept 30th--Nov 8th. My research into the movement of boats showed that sometimes boats arrived but had to wait several days in the Thames Estuary before being able to dock. However as we know her death was as a result of 39 stab wounds inflicted with a small bladed knife, so having regard for this and the subsequent ways the other victims were killed may suggest not. However all killers have to start somewhere. Could our killer have started with a small bladed knife and then wanted to then fulfill far greater grisly desires on his victims and then armed himself with a longer bladed weapon? So I think the jury has to still be out on her being a ripper victim but it would be wrong to totally disregard her as being one.

    As far as Stride is concerned as stated I like most don't believe her to have been a Ripper victim - there are too many aspects of her murder which make it different from the rest. Mary Kelly without a doubt was a Ripper victim.

  •   You've discussed several new theories in relation to the murders. One involved the removal of the victim's organs, which you said may have been done not by the Ripper but by unsavory mortuary attendants who wanted to sell the organs to medical students and/or anatomists. If this were the case, why would the attendant(s) have removed the organs before the doctors' examination, and not after?

      M: The removal of the organs and the suggestions that JTR was a man with anatomical knowledge has been the backbone of the Ripper murders since 1888. If we look at the murders in chronological order Polly Nicholls Aug 31st she had her abdomen mutilated but no organs removed despite the fact that she was killed in similar circumstances as later victims, but at the post mortem there was no evidence to show any organs had been removed. Annie Chapman Sept 8th - Organs removed. Sept 30th Catherine Eddowes - organs removed. Nov 8th Mary Kelly - organs removed but not taken away and not with any medical precision. This in itself must cast a doubt about how where and when the organs of Eddowes and Chapman were removed.

    In any event it would be impossible for even a medical man to remove these organs with any precision with a long bladed knife; secondly he would have needed sufficient light to be able to see. We know that as far as Mitre Square is concerned the body was found in the darkest part of the square. The removal of the kidney of Eddowes would have needed light having regard to the location of the kidney in the body and would have required even greater medical knowledge to even locate the kidney.

    I also want to clarify where I stand on who could have been responsible. I don't suggest that the removal of the organs was done specifically by a mortuary attendant. It is highly unlikely that he would have had sufficient skills. However what I do say is that one possibility is that such an attendant could have been in a position to take payment from a medical person and allow that person access to the bodies for the purposes of removing such organs. I have highlighted the times between murder and Post mortem which corroborate this theory. The removal of organs may have been much more difficult after the post mortem, having regard to such high profile murders and perhaps the need for a re-examination under the auspices of the coroner and the body. The stomach probably would have been sown up at the conclusion of the post mortem.

    On the reverse side for the benefit of researchers who want to believe the original theory. The question then is why did the killer not remove any organs from Nicholls? I can hear them shouting "because he was disturbed" I accept that is a plausible explanation and I cannot negate that fact however could it have been that the wounds inflicted on her abdomen were not sufficient enough to open up the abdomen, fully and having regard for the fact that the doctor at the scene would have been aware of this, and removal of any organs thereafter would have been discovered at the post mortem. Weighing up everything I believe my explanation is correct. Before leaving this topic I should mention the Lusk kidney and all the facts surrounding that and the letters. This also adds weight to my removal theory.

  •   Have you found similar cases of such post-mortem organ theft in Victorian police records?

      M: I have not searched to be fair. However it is widely accepted that organs and bodies were in great demand for medical research at that time and I am sure the removal or organs etc for medical research was common practice at post mortems in any event.

  •   Another new interpretation of yours relates to the piece of blood-stained apron discovered in Goulston street. You suggested in your book that this might have been a makeshift "feminine pad" used and discarded by Eddowes in the hours before her murder. Why would she have cut off a piece of the apron she was wearing for this purpose, when she was carrying twelve pieces of "white rag" on her person according to police records?

      M: I don't suggest a makepiece femine pad. It is fact that lower class women of the day used rags as sanitary towels. This is where the saying "on the rag" originates from. The apron piece could have been cut and used by her before she acquired the white rags and in any event the white rags may not have been suitable for use as a sanitary towel. and besides we have no way of knowing the size of the white rags or what they were made out of.

  •   Why would the police at the time not have noticed the difference between a discarded feminine product and a vital clue in a murder investigation?

      M: The answer to this was again the police were blinkered in their approach to these murders. The rag/apron was found screwed up in the archway. When later matched to Eddowe's apron the suggestion put forward was that it had automatically been cut from her apron by the killer and that he had used it to clean his knife with. Realistically if the killer had have wanted to clean his knife, one swipe across the apron would have been sufficient - no need to cut a piece off. They should have looked at the extent of the blood on the cloth and taken into account the faecal matter. They would also have been aware of the fact that women of the day used pieces of cloth as sanitary towels. The other aspect surround them being blinkered is they believed the killer to have come from Whitechapel and therefore suggeseted that he dropped the rag en route back to Whitechapel. I don't believe the killer came from Whitechapel as my investigation later confirmed.

  •   In your investigations you discovered several "new" official documents related to the Ripper crimes which have never before been published. You describe only one of these documents in your book. Can you provide any detail on the other documents you found, besides the one which mentioned De La Ree Bott?

      M: The other documents relate to the aforementioned document and only corroborate the authenticity. I should also say that these documents are not with a collector, nor have they been stolen from any public archives or police files.

  •   Would it be possible, without divulging the identity of the current owner, to make digital or photographic copies of these documents which could be returned to the official archive at the Public Records Office, or published elsewhere in their entirety for the benefit of future researchers?

    M: When I came across these documents I gave my personal assurance that i would not reveal the whereabouts of these documents and I have to stand by that. If the owner of the documents subsequently chooses to make them public then that will be their decision.

  •   Do you think there are other documents out there waiting to be discovered, and if so, how would you go about searching for them?

      M: I still believe that there are other documents in existence but should they ever surface they will probably not reveal the identity of JTR. I have several lines of enquiry ongoing at the present time in an attempt to unearth new documents but at this time I would not choose to reveal those lines of enquiry.

  •   The title of your book was originally slated to be "Jack the Ripper: The Forensic Profile," and in fact many bookstores (including Amazon) are still listing it under this title. Was there any specific reason behind the title change?

    M: When I set out to do the re-investigation it was never my intention to do a book. I was later asked to speak to a publisher and they agreed to publish my work. At the time I had no title and for reasons only known to them they came up with "The Forensic Profile" without consulting me. As soon as I found out I asked them to change it. I am aware of the fact that it is still being advertised with the wrong title and I have been onto them many times to make sure the title gets changed on the various sites. I hope they get it changed and I will continue to press them until they do.

  •   Are you continuing your research into the various German merchant ships which were docked in London in the Fall of 1888? There were several Ripper-like murders in Germany (Frankfort, 21 November 1889 - Benthen, 30 April 1890 - Berlin, 26 October 1891 - also a string of Ripper-like murders in the Netherlands in 1893). Have you found any evidence connecting these murders to the German ships listed in your research?

    M: As you are aware my research led me to being able to prove that on the dates of the UK murders there were several boats docked in The London docks some of which were here on all the murder dates, several of which were German- registered with mainly German crews. Including the dates of the Coles and Mckenzie murders adding weight to my merchant seaman theory, I also took into account The Flensburg murder in Oct 1889, Flensburg being a German seaport. If as I suggest JTR was a merchant seaman then we cannot rule out the possibility that he could have committed similar murders in other countries beside The UK. In the book I also suggest that the murders reported in Nicaragua if they did occur could have been the work of a merchant seaman and the dates could coincide with him leaving London after November 1888.

    The other German murders and the murders in The Netherlands mentioned were committed in towns and cities which did not have seaports. However who is to say that if the killer was a German or another foreign national he left the sea and took up work in cities and towns around Europe and could quite easily have continued his killing.

  •   Why do you believe the Ripper was never caught? Considering your own experience in the C.I.D. and Special Branch, do you believe the police were to blame?

    M: As I said previously I believe they were blinkered. After all they had not come up against a serial killer like this before. They were not used to mapping and charting and comparing MO`s in killings in the way we do nowadays.

    They should have seen that after the Eddowes murder a pattern was emerging which fitted a traveler perhaps. They chose not to pursue this in the way I did, had they done so they would have come up with good corroborative circumstantial evidence which they could have pursued which may well have paid dividends.

    Instead one line of enquiry they wasted a lot of valuable time on was a suggestion that the killer was a butcher on a cattle boat with no evidence to go on and no specific corroboration.

    The other aspect is with regards to the removal of the organs. I think they should again have not been so hasty in believing the killer removed the organs from Eddowes and Chapman. By the time the Mary Kelly murder had occurred it may have been too late for them to back track their enquiry by different thinking having now found that her body was mutilated and butchered, and organs removed by someone not with any medical knowledge.

    Casebook: Jack the Rippper wishes to thank Trevor Marriott for the opportunity to conduct this interview. Marriott's book, Jack the Ripper: The 21st Century Investigation is now available at most major book retailers.


  • Related pages:
      Trevor Marriott
           Ripper Media: Jack the Ripper: The 21st Century Investigation 
           Suspects: Carl Feigenbaum