In 1923, William Le Queux (1864 – 1927), who had covered the Whitechapel murders for The Globe newspaper as a journalist in 1888, published a book entitled Things I know About Kings, Celebrities And Crooks, in which he claimed to have found documents amongst the papers of the Russian monk, Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin (1869 – 1916) in which the identity of the perpetrator of the crimes was revealed.
Of course, the newspapers were quick to publish the astonishing new revelations that appeared to solve the mysterious Victorian crime spree once and for all:
The Nottingham Evening Post was one such newspaper that published the claims in its edition of Thursday, 25th October 1923:-
“JACK THE RIPPER” DISCLOSED AT LAST
A MAD EMISSARY OF THE RUSSIAN POLICE
In Mr. Wm. Le Queux’s new book. “Things I Know,” there is an amazing story that a man discovered in the original text of the Book Ezekiel, preserved in the Imperial Library at Petrograd, a cipher message that, gave the whereabouts of the concealed treasures from King Solomon’s temple.
But one of the most astounding statements which Le Queux makes – and he does so in all seriousness – is that among the papers of the notorious Russian monk, Rasputin, he has discovered the actual truth concerning the “Jack the Ripper” crimes in London.
THE SECRET DISCLOSED
Rasputin wrote:- The true author of these atrocities was disclosed by a Russian well known in London, named Nideroest. He was a spy of our Secret Police, who was a member of the Jubilee-street Club, the Anarchist Centre in the East End of London.
One night in the club, the identity of Jack the Ripper was revealed to him by an old Russian Anarchist, Nicholas Zverieff.
The mysterious assassin was Dr. Alexander Pedachenko, who had been on the staff of the Maternity Hospital at Tver, and lived on the second floor in Millionnaya. He had gone to London, where lived with his sister in Westmorland-road, in Walworth.
From there he sallied forth at night, took an omnibus across London Bridge, and walked to Whitechapel, where he committed his secret crimes.
A WOMAN ACCOMPLICE
Pedachenko, according to Zverieff – whose record appears in the reports of the Secret Police – was aided by a friend of his named Levitski, and a young tailoress called Winberg.
The latter would approach the victim and hold her in conversation, and Levitski kept watch for the police patrols while the crimes and mutilations took place.
Levitski, who had been born in London, wrote the warning postcards signed “Jack the Ripper” to the police and Press.
It was through Levitski that Zverieff knew the truth.
THE SECRET POLICE GREATLY AMUSED
The report of Niderest’s discovery amused our Secret Police greatly, for, as a matter of fact, they knew the whole details at the time, and had themselves actively aided and encouraged the crimes in order to exhibit to the world certain defects of the English police system.
The record goes on state that Pedachenko was smuggled out of London by the Secret Police to Moscow.
A few months later he was caught attempting to murder a woman, and was sent to an asylum, where he died in 1908, and the woman and Levitski were exiled.”
SCOTLAND YARD UNIMPRESSED
According to The Belfast News-Letter, in a report that was published on Friday, 26th October, 1923, the Metropolitan Police were not in the least bit impressed by these latest revelations:-
“Scotland Yard is unimpressed by the “revelation” in Mr. William Le Queux’s new book that Jack the Ripper crimes in Whitechapel 35 years ago were the work of a Russian doctor named Alexander Pedachenko, who, when in London, lived in Walworth.
Mr. Le Queux says that he found this information in certain papers of Rasputin, the Russian monk, which were placed in his hands by the Kerensky Government, and that these also revealed that Pedachenko was assisted by two friends (a man and a woman), that eventually he was smuggled out of London and died in a lunatic asylum in 1908.
SEVERAL MEN WERE SUSPECTED
Of the police officers who investigated the Whitechapel crimes, very few are now in the service, but it was stated today that while several men were suspected of being “Jack the Ripper” the evidence secured was extremely meagre.
In his memoirs the late Sir Melville Macnaghten, who was in charge of the C.I.D. at the time, gave it as his opinion that the individual who held up London in terror resided with his people, that he absented himself from home at certain times, and that he committed suicide on or about 10th November, 1888.’’
Sir Robert Anderson, who was Commissioner of Police [actually he was Assistant Commissioner], always maintained that the atrocities were the work of a medical man.
WHO COULD BELIEVE IT
As for Mr. Lc Queux’s solution of the mystery, it contains more than one weak point.
Who, for example, could credit the assertion that Pedachenko, “the greatest and boldest of all Russian criminal lunatics,” was encouraged by the Russian Government to go to London to commit a series of crimes in order to exhibit to the world certain defects of the English police system!”
This, too, on the authority of such man as Rasputin.”