– James Kelly

Kelly has a few things going for him that makes him an interesting candidate.  Five years before the Ripper murders, Kelly killed his wife by stabbing her in the throat with a knife.  This horrible event was the culmination of years of violence and abuse, which may have started when Kelly contracted a venereal disease from sleeping with East End prostitutes.  Kelly was known to fly into rages, accusing his wife of being unfaithful and a whore.

Charged with the murder of his wife, twenty-three-year-old Kelly was sentenced to hang, but, certified insane, he was given a reprieve and sent to Broadmoor Asylum, where he stayed for around five years.  Then, in January of 1888, Kelly escaped from the asylum, and remained at large for an incredible thirty-nine years.  In 1927, Kelly, now an old man, returned to Broadmoor of his own accord and was readmitted.  He died two years later.

While Kelly’s is a remarkable story, there are some issues with his candidacy.  While he did escape in early 1888, there’s no evidence to suggest he was in Whitechapel, or even London, at the time of the murders (though that’s not to say he wasn’t).  And it’s difficult to believe that, after butchering five women, he simply stopped killing, even though he remained at large for almost forty years afterwards (though again, in saying that, it doesn’t necessarily mean he didn’t kill during all that time).

Still, he was a violent man who killed his wife by stabbing her in the throat with a knife.  He lived in the area, and was most certainly familiar with the local prostitutes.  He was insane, and believed his wife to be an unfaithful whore, and these feelings could have been the impetus for his savage murders against East End whores five years after her death.  And the day after Mary Kelly’s murder, the police raided the house where James used to live with his in-laws and questioned the mother as to James’s whereabouts – which shows the police at the time had their suspicions regarding James.

James Kelly probably wasn’t the Ripper, but he shouldn’t be discounted, either.

Candidacy for James Kelly: ***½ (out of 5)

Published on November 7, 2010 at 11:10 am  Comments (1)  

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. i think that james kelly as foolled u all anybody that can disappear for 39years aint in sane just bad in 1926 there was murders in marion usa that helped kelly get bk home to england the blood bath matches kelly murder of marie kelly only with a poker not a knife “potter”case very clever

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