Patricia Cornwell has said that the identity of the infamous and legendary serial killer Jack the Ripper has been solved once and for all.
Following a lengthy and expensive investigation, she has now revealed that renowned British Impressionist painter Walter Sickert was the man behind the gruesome murders in Whitechapel, London between August and November 1888.
The identity of Jack the Ripper has prompted numerous theories and investigation over the past century.
He is thought to killed at least five women – however Mrs Cornwell said the total murder count could be up to 15.
Mrs Cornwell, who spent nearly £6 million on the quest to unmask the killer, described her investigation as the “definitive conclusion” to the long-standing mystery.
She said: “I spent about £5.7million overall in my investigation, including employing some of the best and brightest experts in the world.
“A lot of people couldn’t have done what I have because they wouldn’t have the money. I am trying to do the right thing. If someone proves me wrong, bring it.”
The author, who first came up with the Sickert theory in her 2002, has presented new evidence for the case in her new book Ripper: The Secret Life of Walter Sickert.
Sickert, who moved to Britain from Germany in 1868, was obsessed with Jack the Ripper’s crimes.
The man, who once famously painted Winston Churchill’s portrait, claimed to have stayed in a room used by the killer.
Mrs Cornwell said that Sickert dressed up as the Ripper while painting, and even admitted to friends “he would not mind having to kill and eat raw flesh”.
The author also points to the disturbing nature of his paintings, and their similarities to the Ripper’s murder scenes.
One painting, the Nuit d’ete, eerily evokes victim Mary Kelly’s death bed scene.
Another, titled Putana a Casa, shows a prostitute with black brush strokes on her face, similar to the cuts on the postmortem picture of Catherine Eddowes’ face.
One of Sickert’s painting is still on display in Scotland Yard to this day, according to the American author.
She also said the strange doodles in Sickert’s notes were similar to those found in the Ripper’s letters addressed to the police at the time.
Another shocking revelation placed Sickert in a bed and breakfast in Cornwall at the same time that the guestbook was signed by ‘Jack The Ripper, of Whitechapel’.
Mrs Cornwell, who bought Sickert’s desk and paintings for DNA testing, recalled being “monitored” during the investigation by those who did not want her “to find the truth”.
She said: “I flew to London after Cornwall and immigration officers said we entered the country illegally as we never cleared Customs in Cornwall.
“I said we did as there was a man in military uniform who looked at our passports. They didn’t have anyone that fitting that description.”
This is not the first time that Sickert has been linked to the killer’s identity.
In the early 20th century, Joseph Gorman, a picture-framer who worked with Sickert, claimed that the painter confessed to his role in the Ripper’s murders.