Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Jack the Ripper

Other Suspects

Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward
The Duke of Clarence

Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward
Prince Albert Victor
Christian Edward
Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward, the Duke of Clarence, was known as Eddy. He was the grandson of Queen Victoria and was born in 1864. He fell short of any royal ambitions for him and was not distinguished by any important positive traits. However, lazy, aimless and spoiled that he might have, he was not an evil or violent man. He died from influenza in the epidemic of 1892.

The first notion that he was a suspect in the Ripper murders appeared in 1962 in Phillippe Jullien's book, Edouard VII. Dr. Thomas Stowell published an article in 1970 accusing Eddy of being Jack the Ripper, basing his theory upon some papers of Sir William Gull. Stowell claimed that Gull was Eddy's doctor and was treating the prince for syphilis. The disease supposedly caused Eddy to go insane and commit the Whitechapel murders.

None of this can be proven however, since Stowell burned his papers and then died shortly after publishing his theories. Gull's papers have not been found.

Scholars have pounced upon this theory and discredited it. One key factor is that royal records show that Eddy was not anywhere close to London for the most important murder dates, and was in fact as far away as Scotland at the time of the murders of Stride and Eddowes.

Also, Eddy, who was not known for his sparkling intelligence, did not possess the medical knowledge to be a credible Ripper suspect. But that has not stopped the presses from printing up yet another book, Prince Jack by Frank Spiering, naming Eddy as the Ripper.

FRANCIS TUMBLETY
(1833-1903)

A more recent suspect emerged in Evans and Gainey's 1995 book, Jack the Ripper: First American Serial Killer. He was born either in Canada or Ireland in 1833. The family found its way to Rochester, NY, by 1849.

The portrait of Tumblety which appeared on the front cover of his second booklet, 1889
The portrait of Tumblety which
appeared on the front cover of
his second booklet, 1889

First reports of Francis are not promising. In 1848, he was described by neighbors as "a dirty, awkward, ignorant, uncared-for, good-for-nothing boy...utterly devoid of education." In 1850, he moved to Detroit and set up a practice as a physician sometime later. There is no indication that he ever finished school or even attended medical school. Despite that detail, he became quite a prosperous doctor.

He moved all across North America, setting up various medical practices and living in flamboyant splendor. Occasionally he would run afoul of the law and would set up his practice somewhere else.

At one point he went to Liverpool, in 1874, and carried on a homosexual affair with Sir Henry Hall Caine. When he returned to New York, he became known for his "mania for the company of young men and grown-up youths." He was also known as despising women, particularly "fallen women."

Tumbley arrested
Tumbley arrested
Tumblety returned to England in June of 1888 and was arrested for homosexual activities. He was then charged on suspicion in the Whitechapel murders. He jumped bail on November 24 and fled to France, and then onward to New York. Police in New York were on the lookout for him and finally found him. He was not arrested because there was no proof that he was implicated in the Ripper murders.

Eventually, he moved back to Rochester and lived with his sister. He died in 1903 in St. Louis, after earning considerable wealth as a medical quack.

Chief Inspector John Littlechild
Chief Inspector John
Littlechild
While there were numerous newspaper articles on Tumblety in New York papers, English papers seemed silent on the subject. It was only in 1993 that Stewart Evans found a letter from Chief Inspector John Littlechild: "amongst the suspects, and to my mind a very likely one, was a Dr. T. He was an American quack named Tumblety and was at one time a frequent visitor to London and on these occasions constantly brought under the notice of police, there being a large dossier concerning him at Scotland Yard. Although a 'Sycopathia Sexualis' subject he was not known as a 'Sadist' (which the murderer unquestionably was) but his feelings toward women were remarkable and bitter in the extreme, a fact on record."

All in all, he is an interesting suspect and proof that there is still information that can be unearthed after all these years about Ripper suspects. However, there is no direct proof linking Tumblety to the Whitechapel murders. There are a few factors that appear to disqualify him as a credible subject: (1) born in 1833, he would have been 55 years of age in 1888, far too old to be the man spotted by eyewitnesses, (2) he had no medical training, despite his income as a quack, and (3) while his sexual proclivities may have in 1888 been criminal, they are not today, (4) there is nothing to suggest that he was violent to women, even though he disliked them, (5) homosexual serial killers usually prey upon their own sex, not the opposite sex.

Jack the Ripper
Jack the Ripper

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