The face of Jack The Ripper could have finally been unmasked after a vital clue was discovered hidden in police archives.
A hooded figure chiselled into the wooden walking stick of Scotland Yard detective Frederick Abberline could be the only true likeness of London’s most notorious serial killer.
Abberline was taken off the case after failing to catch the murderer who terrorised the dark streets of Whitechapel in the Autumn of 1888.
Mary Ann ‘Polly’ Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly each had their throat cut and were mutilated in a way that police believed their killer had knowledge of human anatomy.
Consumed by the case then lead detective Abberline had the only known facial composite of Jack The Ripper etched onto his walking cane.
For years the cane had been stored at the Police College in Bramshill, Hampshire, and was feared lost when the institution was shut in 2015.
The college’s content creator Antony Cash said: “Finding this cane was an exciting moment for us.
“Jack the Ripper is one of the biggest and most infamous murder cases in our history and his crimes were significant in paving the way for modern policing and forensics as it caused police to begin experimenting with and developing new techniques as they attempted to try and solve these murders, such as crime scene preservation, profiling and photography.
“This walking cane is such a fascinating artefact which represents such a historically significant time in policing.
“It’s amazing that we can put it out on display here in Ryton, alongside the original newspaper cuttings, so that our officers can see first-hand how far we’ve advanced in policing since then.’’
Jack The Ripper
The story of Jack the Ripper has grown into one of history’s most enduring mysteries
His brutal, and seemingly motiveless killing spree has led, over the decades, to more than 200 names being put in the frame - including celebrity suspects such as Lewis Carroll, Prince Albert Victor and Sir John Williams, obstetrician to the royal family.
But despite a large-scale investigation the Ripper - described as the first modern serial killer - was never caught.
In 2014, another author claimed that forensic evidence proved Polish-born Aaron Kosminski was the real killer.
A shawl found next to the body of Catherine Eddowes was analysed by Dr Jari Louhelainen, who found DNA from the alleged killer alongside the victim’s blood.