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“If someone can show me clear evidence that Mary Kelly was not Elizabeth then of course there will be little point in proceeding.“But otherwise I’m hoping we can go ahead and attempt to get the DNA evidence that will prove my theory once and for all.” The murders took place three years after the marriage of Craig and Mary Jane/Elizabeth had broken down.
“I ordered Francis Craig’s death certificate and then tracked down reports of the inquest into his death. I realised he had committed suicide by slitting his own throat with a blade, exactly the same way the Ripper’s victims had been murdered.” Francis Craig was a down-on-his-luck journalist.The key to unlocking the secret of the Ripper were documents discovered in the National Archives at Kew, south-west London, four years ago.Dr Weston-Davies proposes in The Real Mary Kelly that the divorce papers showed his family links with Elizabeth Weston Davies, the true identity of Mary Jane Kelly, and Francis Craig.“The only way of absolutely proving that the Ripper’s final victim was my great aunt is to exhume Mary Jane Kelly’s body,” said Dr Weston-Davies, a former surgeon.“We will then attempt to extract DNA from her bones or teeth and compare them with DNA from myself or my brother who, as far as I know, are her only living relatives.” Ministry of Justice officials wrote to Dr Weston-Davies in September last year after considering his research for six months.A few years earlier Craig’s journalism career suffered an almost terminal blow when, as editor of the Bucks Advertiser he was brutally exposed as a plagiarist by a rival newspaper after stealing reports word-for-word from The Daily Telegraph.
The possibility of seeing the Ripper's face for the first time - in a courtroom sketch - is another tantalising aspect to the new research.
“When it arrived it consisted of a box of legal documents including a divorce petition and an affidavit.
“They related to my ancestor who had adopted a false surname – the ‘Weston Jones’ name - to pose as a widow when she wed, which was common at the time because although she’d never been married she was sexually experienced.
Followers of the case have long puzzled over why a series of infamous letters which originated the “Jack the Ripper” nickname were sent to the Central News press agency at the Old Bailey rather than a national newspaper, which would have been the most obvious destination to an ordinary member of the public.
Dr Weston-Davies suggests Craig was indeed the author of these “Dear Boss” letters and sending them to a news agency would have been a straightforward choice for him.
“There’s a bit more red tape to complete but I believe that exhuming her body will solve the Ripper mystery once and for all.