Crime writer ‘solves’ Jack the Ripper mystery. Patricia Cornwell, a popular crime writer, reckons the impressionist painter Walter Richard Sickert did it — and (ludicrously) ripped up one of his paintings looking for clues.

Date: Fri, 07 Dec 2001 10:40:42 -0000
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Crime writer ‘solves’ Jack the Ripper mystery

A US crime novelist is claiming she has solved the mystery of Jack the Ripper and named him as an artist who painted images of a murdered prostitute.

Patricia Cornwell spent almost £3 million on her hunt for the true identity of the Victorian serial killer.

She now says she believes the Ripper was really Walter Richard Sickert, an important Impressionist artist who painted the series of gruesome pictures 20 years later.

She told American TV’s Primetime: “I do believe 100% that Walter Richard Sickert committed those serial crimes, that he is the Whitechapel murderer.”

Cornwell, 45, spent part of the fortune her best-selling crime novels have earned her on her hunt, buying Sickert’s paintings, then using them in the hunt for clues.

She even flew a team of American forensic experts to London to examine the notorious Ripper letters for DNA, and bought 30 of the artist’s works, ripping one of them up completely in her hunt for clues.

Sickert, who was born in 1860, was an apprentice to Whistler and worked with Degas and is regarded as a key link between British art and the growth of Impressionism.

But Cornwell claims he led a secret double life as a serial killer – and the five prostitutes named as Jack the Ripper’s victims were not the only women he killed.

They were horribly mutilated and all but Kelly were murdered on the street but their killer – who taunted police in letters signed “Jack the Ripper” – was never found, prompting one of history’s greatest murder mysteries.

Cornwell said she had been led to Sickert by a series of clues and her knowledge of forensic science and the mind of serial killers. Sickert was 28 when the killings started, an age Cornwell said was typical for serial killers to start their sprees between the age of 25 and 30.

Story filed: 10:08 Friday 7th December 2001

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