Jack the Ripper was a newspaper editor in Aylesbury who was exposed as a plagiarist by The Bucks Herald, according to a major new book which claims to identify the Victorian bogeyman.
Author Dr Wynne Weston-Davies alleges that Francis Spurzheim Craig, who spent time living in Ripon Street, Aylesbury, is the serial killer’s real identity.
In 1875 he was made editor of The Bucks Advertiser – then a fierce rival of The Bucks Herald. Just months into the job, the Herald exposed him as a plagiarist, causing him to lose his job.
This, according to Dr Weston-Davies, was a massive blow to Craig, who suffered from a severe personality disorder. His frustration remained bottled up, erupting years later and setting him on a killing spree which claimed the lives of at least five women.
Dr Wynne Weston-Davies’ book The Real Mary Kelly tells the story of how the Ripper’s final victim – his great aunt –was murdered in the East End of London.
Craig moved to Ripon Street with his parents in 1875, thirteen years before the killings in 1888.
The manner of his sacking from The Bucks Advertiser absolutely could have contributed to what he did later in his life. It must have made him a figure of derision on the streets of AylesburyDr Wynne Weston-Davies
He probably landed the editor’s job at the Advertiser as a result of his high-flying father’s connections.
He had only been editor for a handful of months when he was exposed as a plagiarist in a letter published by the Herald, which now owns the Advertiser.
Dr Weston-Davies believes the letter was ‘a put-up job’ by the Herald editorial team.
In the following week’s Herald an announcement was published saying: “We are requested to state that the services of Mr F Craig as editor of the Bucks Advertiser and Aylesbury News have been dispensed with.”
Craig remained in Aylesbury for around a year or so before moving to London. During this time he helped his father with his ventilation business, which included work at the Hazell, Watson and Viney print works.
Dr Weston-Davies claims Craig suffered from schizo-typal personality disorder and his sacking ‘would have had an even more serious effect... than it might on most other men’.
He said: “The manner of his sacking from The Bucks Advertiser absolutely could have contributed to what he did later in his life. It must have made him a figure of derision on the streets of Aylesbury.”
His anger remained ‘bottled up’ and ‘festering away’ until another bombshell in 1885 caused it to ‘erupt with disastrous consequences’.
This was when Craig discovered that his new wife – Mary Kelly – was working as a prostitute. She then left him.
Craig, who lived in Whitechapel at the time of the killings, set out on a path of revenge against his wife, according to Dr Weston-Davies.
He claims Craig murdered four other women before killing Kelly as a cover for his true intent.
He said: “It took a few years of research before the penny dropped and I made the connection with Jack the Ripper.
“I have applied to the Ministry of Justice for permission to exhume Mary Jane’s body to try and prove my theory.
“I believe the evidence is very damning.”
The Real Mary Kelly – Jack the Ripper’s Fifth Victim and the Identity of the Man That Killer Her by Wynne Weston-Davies, is published by Blink Publishing. The book will be available in all good bookshops from Thursday.