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DNA's female Ripper theory.

THE only way the Ripper is ever likely to be identified is through science and DNA research has supported the theory that the killer may have been a woman.

A DNA profiling expert was given access to Scotland Yard's file of letters, supposedly sent by the mystery butcher.

The Yard was teased with no fewer than 600 taunting notes claiming to be from the Whitechapel murderer.

Most were obvious hoaxes but one, postmarked October 29, 1888, included details about the removal of a victim's kidney which only the killer could have known.

Professor Ian Findlay, head of health sciences at Australia's Southbank Institute of Technology, near Brisbane, took swabs from the saliva under the seal and stamp of the envelope, as well as bloodstains, to glean a DNA fingerprint.

He said: "Our technology is leaps ahead of anything police have. Conventional techniques need between 200 and 500 human cells to gain a profile ours needs only one.

"We obtained profiles that indicate it's very possible the Ripper could be female."

Ex-police officer Stewart Evans, a crime historian who has written five books on the case (including The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Companion), said: "The letters that Prof Findlay looked at are those most likely to have come from the killer.

"Scotland Yard kept them under lock and key until 1961, when they handed them over, so we know they have not been altered.

"But however much progress is made in DNA forensics, we can only work with the samples of evidence found in 1888.

"And the best piece of evidence, a bloodstained apron found near one of the bodies, has not survived."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Jul 21, 2013
Words:272
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