Science Focus - the home of BBC Science Focus Magazine
A scene from the film 'Jack The Ripper', 1959. (Photo by Paramount/Getty Images)

Identifying Jack the Ripper: old clues, new science

Published: 04th April, 2019 at 00:00
Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine and get 6 issues for just £9.99

Criminologist David Wilson applies the latest scientific techniques in a new BBC Science documentary - we asked him if we finally know the identity of Jack the Ripper.

In 1888 in Whitechapel, London, five women were murdered by a man the press dubbed Jack the Ripper. 130 years later, we’re still fascinated with this case.


An intriguing and lengthy list of suspects have been proposed, both by the police at the time and by various authors over the intervening years. Determining the identity of the killer is a task that’s been taken on by many, with the Jack the Ripper case spawning books, walking tours and even an annual conference.

In a new BBC One documentary, Jack the Ripper - The Case Reopened, criminologist David Wilson and Emilia Fox take a scientific approach to this cold case. They apply modern investigatory techniques to determine who the killer was and why he carried out these horrendous crimes. And what they find is very interesting.

He speaks to Helen Glenny, editorial assistant at BBC Science Focus Magazine.

Warning: Some of the descriptions of the murders involved are graphic and may not be suitable for younger listeners.

Did you enjoy this podcast? If you liked what you heard, then why not subscribe and leave us a review? You can find us on iTunesAcastStitcher, and many of your favourite podcast apps.

Listen to more Science Focus Podcast episodes:


Follow Science Focus on TwitterFacebookInstagram and Flipboard


Sponsored content