The Jack the Ripper murders: a modus operandi and signature analysis of the 1888–1891 Whitechapel murders

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Abstract

A number of females, commonly recognized as 11 victims, were murdered in separate events in Whitechapel, London between 1888 and 1891. An evaluation of the murders revealed that six of those murders were linked by a number of distinct, personal signature characteristics, including picquerism, overkill, incapacitation, domination and control, open and displayed, unusual body position, sexual degradation, mutilation, organ harvesting, specific areas of attack, preplanning and organization, and a combination of signature features. The signature characteristics observed in these infamous Jack the Ripper murders were compared to a 1981–1995 cohort of 3359 homicide cases from Washington State's HITS database. The analysis revealed that the signature displayed in six of the Whitechapel murders was extremely rare. There were only six records of female victims, one a prostitute, with probed, explored, or mutilated body cavities. There were only two cases, both females who were not prostitutes, where the body was left in an unusual position and body cavities were explored, probed, or mutilated. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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