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Jack the Ripper Reveled: Unmasking the Terrifying Figure Behind British History’s Most Shocking Crimes
A former police volunteer has made a startling claim, asserting that she has uncovered the true identity of the notorious Jack the Ripper, the 19th-century murderer who unleashed terror upon the nation with his heinous crimes. Sarah Bax Horton, whose great-great-grandfather played a central role in the Ripper investigation as a policeman, has meticulously unearthed compelling evidence that aligns with witness descriptions of the man seen with the female victims moments before their brutal stabbings in London’s East End in 1888.
Through her relentless detective work, Bax Horton has honed in on a man named Hyam Hyams, residing in the heart of the murder locations and possessing the knife skills of a cigar-maker. Hyams, an epileptic and an alcoholic, frequented mental asylums due to his worsening condition following an accident that rendered him unable to work. Inflicting repeated assaults on his wife, driven by paranoia of infidelity, he was eventually arrested after attacking both his spouse and mother with a deadly weapon. Importantly, Bax Horton obtained access to his medical records, unearthing astonishing details. She revealed to The Telegraph, “For the first time in history, Jack the Ripper can be identified as Hyam Hyams, distinguished by distinctive physical characteristics.”
Witnesses had described the Ripper as a man in his mid-thirties, exhibiting a stiff arm and an abnormal gait characterized by bent knees. Bax Horton discovered that Hyams’ medical records, dating back to 1888 when he was 35 years old, documented an injury that left him unable to fully extend or bend his left arm. The records further disclosed an irregular gait, an inability to straighten his knees, and a dragging foot, all attributed to asymmetric foot dragging. Additionally, Hyams suffered from severe epilepsy, experiencing regular seizures.
The victims targeted by Jack the Ripper were predominantly destitute or prostitutes. Their throats were savagely slit, their bodies mutilated in frenzied attacks, accompanied by taunting anonymous notes sent to the authorities, signed by the infamous Jack the Ripper. These crimes have remained among the most notorious unsolved mysteries.
Between August and November 1888, at least six women—Martha Tabram, Polly Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elisabeth Stride, Kate Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly—met their tragic end in Whitechapel or its vicinity. Correspondingly, Hyams’ medical records, spanning multiple infirmaries and asylums, unveiled a decline in his mental and physical state, aligning with the Ripper’s killing spree. This deterioration began with the breaking of his left arm in February 1888 and culminated in his permanent committal to Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum in September 1889.
“The escalation of Hyams’ decline mirrored the escalating violence of the murders,” asserted Bax Horton. “He exhibited heightened aggression following severe epileptic fits, which accounts for the periodicity of the killings.”
Furthermore, Bax Horton explained, “Eyewitness accounts attested to his peculiar gait. He displayed weakness in his knees, failed to fully extend his legs, and shuffled when he walked—a probable consequence of brain damage resulting from his epilepsy.” Comparing witness statements with Hyams’ medical files, she discovered remarkable similarities in height, weight, and other physical attributes.
“They described a man of medium height and build, approximately between 5 feet 5 inches and 5 feet 8 inches tall, stout, and broad-shouldered. Hyams stood at 5 feet 7 and a half inches, weighing 10 stone 7 pounds… His photograph clearly demonstrates his noticeable broad shoulders,” she remarked.
Bax Horton concluded that Hyams’ physical and mental decline, exacerbated by alcoholism, drove him to commit these gruesome acts. Significantly, the Ripper’s reign of terror ceased at the end of 1888, coinciding with Hyams’ arrest as a “wandering lunatic.” Subsequently, he was confined to the Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum in North London, where he remained until his death in 1913. Jack the Ripper never struck again.
Numerous suspects have been proposed in the past as potential culprits, including the artist Walter Sickert, known for his macabre paintings of murdered prostitutes. Hyams appeared on a “long list” of approximately 100 suspects, but Bax Horton contended that he had been incorrectly identified. “While attempting to ascertain the correct Hyam Hyams, I encountered around five individuals sharing that name. It required extensive research to identify the accurate biographical details of Hyam Hyams. He has never been fully explored as a Ripper suspect. To safeguard the confidentiality of living individuals, access to two patient files from Colney Hatch Asylum, including Hyams’, was restricted until 2013 and 2015.”
Remarkably, Bax Horton’s research was prompted by a fortuitous discovery in 2017. She stumbled upon the fact that her own great-great-grandfather, Harry Garrett, served as a Metropolitan Police sergeant at Leman Street Police Station—the very headquarters of the Ripper investigation. He held this post from January 1888, the fateful year of the murders, until 1896. Bax Horton, an Oxford University graduate in English and modern languages and a retired civil servant who volunteered with the City of London Police for nearly two decades until 2020, had been oblivious to her ancestor’s history until she delved into her family background and found herself engrossed in the Ripper case.
Her exhaustive evidence will soon be presented in her upcoming book, “One-Armed Jack: Uncovering the Real Jack the Ripper,” scheduled for publication by Michael O’Mara Books next month. This work serves as a tribute to her ancestor and his fellow police colleagues.
Paul Begg, a renowned authority on the Ripper, has enthusiastically endorsed her findings. “This thoroughly researched and well-written book offers a much-needed, in-depth exploration of a highly plausible suspect. If one were to envision the kind of person Jack the Ripper might have been, Hyam Hyams could fit the profile,” he remarked.
In conclusion, Sarah Bax Horton’s groundbreaking research and relentless pursuit of the truth have shed new light on one of history’s most enigmatic figures, Jack the Ripper. Through her meticulous examination of witness accounts, medical records, and historical context, she has compellingly identified Hyam Hyams as the man behind the shocking crimes that terrified British society in the late 19th century.