The Telegraph has learned from a descendant of a Jack the Ripper investigator that she has uncovered the true identity of the notorious serial killer who terrorized Whitechapel in London’s East End in 1888.
Sarah Bax Horton, a former police volunteer and great-great-granddaughter of a policeman who worked on the Jack the Ripper case, claims she has found convincing evidence that links a man named Hyam Hyams to the gruesome murders.
Hyams was a resident of Whitechapel and a cigar worker who would have been skilled with a knife, she told The Telegraph.
Hyams had a history of mental illness, epilepsy and alcoholism that made him violent and abusive towards his wife, whom he suspected of infidelity.
He was eventually arrested for assaulting his wife and her mother with “a chopper”. His mental state deteriorated further after an accident that left him unable to work.
However, Horton said that what made her suspect Hyams was not his psychological profile, but his physical medical records.
“For the first time in history, Jack the Ripper can be identified as Hyam Hyams using distinctive physical characteristics,” Horton said to The Telegraph.
Survivors who managed to escape Jack the Ripper described him as having an irregular gait and a stiff arm. Hyams’ medical record showed a recorded injury in his left arm that left him unable to “bend or extend” the limb and that he wasn’t able to straighten his knees, leading to dragging his foot when he walked.
Hyams’ injuries also coincided with Jack the Ripper’s killings, which show that he declined mentally and physically around the time the murders occured.
“That escalation path matched the increasing violence of the murders,” Horton told The Telegraph. “He was particularly violent after his severe epileptic fits, which explains the periodicity of the murders.
“In the files, it said what the eyewitnesses said – that he had a peculiar gait. He was weak at the knees and wasn’t fully extending his legs. When he walked, he had a kind of shuffling gait, which was probably a side-effect of some brain damage as a result of his epilepsy.”
The Jack the Ripper murders ceased in late 1888, around the same time that Hyams was arrested and deemed a “wandering lunatic” by police. He was incarcerated in the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum in North London in 1889 until his death in 1913.
According to Horton, Hyams had previously been on the list of potential killers but had “never before been fully explored as a Ripper suspect” because he had been misidentified.
“When I was trying to identify the correct Hyam Hyams, I found about five,” she said. “It took quite a lot of work to identify his correct biographical data.”
Horton was drawn to the case after learning that her great-great-grandfather, Harry Garret, had been a sergeant with the Metropolitan Police at the Leman Street station, which served as the headquarters of the Ripper Inquiry.