JACK the Ripper murdered a young woman from Croydon the year before he was hanged for his sickening crimes, a new book audaciously claims.
Simon Webb, 50, author of Severin: A Tale Of Jack The Ripper, claims to have unmasked the identity of the anonymous late-19th century serial killer as a man who murdered Maud Marsh, of Longfellow Road, Croydon, in 1902.
Mr Webb's book claims George Chapman – hanged in 1903 for murdering a number of women including Marsh – is Jack the Ripper.
The book describes how Chapman owned a pub called The Crown in Borough High Street, London, where Marsh applied to become a barmaid because she could not find work in Croydon.
It claims Chapman seduced her before secretly filling her food and drink with a toxic substance called Antimony while the two continued a relationship.
Although Jack the Ripper's murders are thought to have taken place mostly around 1888, Webb says he came out of retirement to kill Marsh, who was in her early 20s.
Mr Webb, formerly of Waddon, who has been researching the book for a year, said: "Chapman just fits the bill.
"There are some ridiculous theories out there such as that it was Lewis Carroll or one of the monarchy's physicians. But these just don't stack up."
Early 20th century records of Old Bailey court hearings show Chapman was sentenced to death on March 19, 1903, for the murder of Marsh and was hanged in Wandsworth prison just weeks later on April 7.
During Chapman's trial, Webb says, Frederick Abberline, a detective on the Ripper case, became convinced Chapman was the man he had been hunting back in 1888.
The author's research also shows Chapman, a barber and surgeon before becoming a publican, had moved to Britain from Poland and was formerly known by the name Severin Klosowski.
Mr Webb, a librarian now living in Durham, who has written more than 20 books, said: "It's definitely not for the faint-hearted, but it's been an interesting project, and for someone who originally comes from Croydon, certainly interesting to think Jack The Ripper may have had such a link to the borough." Jack The Ripper was the name given to a notorious serial killer who struck in East London during the late 1880s. He is thought to have been responsible for at least 11 murders, though was never brought to justice for these crimes. Some historians dispute the murders were the work of one individual and suggest the crimes were unrelated. The precise abdominal mutilation of his victims – many of whom were prostitutes – led to speculation he might be a surgeon.
Severin: A Tale of Jack The Ripper is available only for Kindle for £1.96. Visit Langley Press Direct for more information.