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Portrait of a serial killer; EXCLUSIVE WAS POSH ARTIST JACK THE RIPPER? Oscar Wilde's lover named as slasher.


ONE of Oscar Wilde's lovers has been unmasked as a prime suspect for the Jack the Ripper slayings in Victorian London.

A Scots expert in the grisly killings has named society portrait painter Frank Miles as the killer.

Writer Thomas Toughill believes Wilde knew Miles' dreadful secret and left a series of clues in his most famous novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Respected researcher Thomas claims that Wilde worked out the killer was a former lover and unmasked him in the gothic horror story.

The Glasgow-born author claims Miles was the man who brought terror to the streets of London, slashing and killing five prostitutes in the 1880s.

Thomas refuses to reveal the full details of his 20 years of research until his book comes out later this year. But he said: "Miles had a record of molesting children and was wanted by the police. I believe he graduated to women and then to violence.

"Oscar Wilde was hinting at his lover having been the killer when he killed off the painter in his novel, the Painting of Dorian Gray."

Wilde's only novel is based on a gorgeous young man, Dorian, who wishes a painting of himself would grow old instead of him.

His wish is fulfilled and he indulges in a hedonistic lifestyle but the painting grows old and disfigured, serving as a reminder of how ugly Dorian has become inside.

Dorian blames the artist - Basil Hallward - for his fate and stabs him in a fit of rage.

Thomas believes Oscar based the character of Basil on his lover Miles.

In the book, the painter is killed on November 9, 1888 - the date of the last Ripper murder.

Thomas, 55, said: "My research into all these strands proves that Miles was indeed Jack the Ripper.

"He stayed in an asylum mainly for people who could afford to send

their relatives to be confined in good conditions. I believe he released himself from the asylum to kill.

"There have been a lot of outrageous claims made about the identity of Jack the Ripper.

"The whole subject has become too popular and people think they can make any claim about the killer to sell books.

"I have carried out real research over years and believe firmly that Frank Miles was the Ripper."

The Ripper brutally murdered five prostitutes between August 31 and November 9. They were Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly.

All of them were killed in London's Whitechapel area and were left badly mutilated. Miles, who was born in 1852, was the son of a minister and became a celebrated portrait painter.

He met Wilde in 1876 and the pair later became lovers.

They lived together at a house in Tite Street, Chelsea, and Miles was said to be distraught when the relationship came to an end.

In a cruel twist, Wilde married and brought his bride to live in the same street.

Unable to cope, Miles suffered a nervous breakdown and was admitted to the Brislington asylum, near Bristol, in 1887.

Toughill claims that, one year on, Miles left the asylum to lodge in London and went on his killing spree.

Wilde wrote The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1890 after he guessed his exlover was the killer. It first appeared in a magazine and was published as a novel a year later.

Thomas also claims that Miles' identity is given away by Marie Belloc Lowndes, a fellow resident of Tite Street, who wrote a famous book based on the Ripper called The Lodger.

In it she outlines the case of a family who took in a lodger, only to suspect he was the murderer.

Gibraltar-based Thomas has written several historical books, including one about the 1908 murder of 82-year-old Marion Gilchrist in Glasgow.

Prime suspect was pimp Oscar Slater but Thomas' book cleared him.

He said: "The problem with the Ripper case is the official files contain very little material on which a proper forensic argument can be based.

"This contrasts with the Oscar Slater case where the police and government files helped me identify the real murderer."


Jack the Ripper: The suspects

JAMES MAYBRICK, a Liverpool cotton tycoon who confessed in a diary found in the1990s. It was later branded a fake but some still suspect him. He died in 1889 just after the killings stopped.

SIR WILLIAM GULL, Queen Victoria's doctor, is said to have killed the women to cover up the Duke of Clarence's affair with a friend of Mary Jane Kelly. It is said one victim was dragged into a royal carriage.

JOSEPH SICKERT, son of painter Walter, left, claimed his father told him the murders were organised by Prime Minister Lord Salisbury and Freemasons to conceal the Duke of Clarence's affair.

DR ALEXANDER PEDACHENKO, a Russian transvestite who lived in Whitechapel, was allegedly dispatched to Britain by the Tsar's secret police to kill women and embarrass the Government.

DR NEILL CREAM, a Canadian poisoner hanged for slaying prostitutes, may also have been the killer. As the bolt on the scaffold was drawn he is said to have cried: "I am Jack the..."



Revelation: Thomas Toughill' Suspicions: Oscar Wilde, left, feared his former lover, society painter Frank Miles, was Jack the Ripper, a new book claims' Sinister: Victorian London was haunted by shadow of the Ripper
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 7, 2007
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