According to two of the highest-ranking police officers who worked on the Jack the Ripper case, the murderer was, in fact, caught, and sent to an asylum.
The two officers in question were Dr. Robert Anderson, who, at the time of the killings, was the Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and head of the Criminal Investigation Department (C.I.D.), and Chief Inspector Donald Sutherland Swanson, who, in September 1888, was put in charge of assessing all the information that was coming in on the crimes.
THE MURDERER WAS KNOWN
In his memoirs, which he titled, The Lighter Side Of My Offical Life, published in 1910, Anderson had this to say about the crime spree that, as far as the public at large was concerned, had left his men baffled back in 1888:-
“…”undiscovered murders” are rare in London, and the “Jack-the-Ripper” crimes are not within that category…In saying that he was a Polish Jew I am merely stating a definitely ascertained fact.”
NO NAME WAS GIVEN BY ANDERSON
Unfortunately, Anderson didn’t actually give the name of the suspect.
However, Chief Inspector Swanson, making notes in the margin of his personal copy of Anderson’s memoirs did provide us with the surname of Anderson’s suspect, writing that
“In a very short time the suspect with his hands tied behind his back, he went to Stepney Workhouse and then to Colney Hatch and died shortly afterwards – Kosminski was the suspect.”
Intriguingly, Sir Melville Macnaghten, the Assistant Chief Constable of the Metropolitan Police, compiling a report in 1894, had provided a list of three men who were likely contenders for the mantle of having been the Whitechapel murderer.
One of those men, he claimed was named “Kosminski.”
MARTIN FIDO INVESTIGATES
In 1987, author Martin Fido published his book The Crimes Detection And Death Of Jack The Ripper,
In researching his book, he wondered if Anderson’s polish Jew could be the Kosminski who had been mentioned by Macnaghten.
Swanson had written that their suspect had gone to an asylum where he died a short time later.
Unfortunately, in trawling through the asylum records, Martin could find no Kosminski who had gone into an asylum in the months after the murder of Mary Kelly, who had died shortly after being admitted.
HE FOUND DAVID COHEN
However, Martin did find a David Cohen, who was arrested by the police in December 1888, and who was found to be very violent, so much so that he was sent to an asylum, where he died the following year.
Martin, therefore, wondered if David Cohen and Kosminski could be one and the same person, and the police had given this Kosminski a John Doe type of name.
AN INVOLVED THEORY
The theory was a very involved one, that involved not just Cohen and Kosminski but also a third suspect by the name of Nathan Kaminsky.
Wanting to navigate my way through the twists and turns of the Kosminski, Cohen, and Kaminsky theory, I turned to Steve Blomer, whom I had previously interviewed for a video on my YouTube Channel about Jack the Ripper suspect Charles Allen Lechmere.
He agreed to talk me through the case against all three of them, and you can watch our discussion on the following video.
A TANGLED WEB
As you will see, the case is a complex one, featuring, as it does, mistaken identities and a general unwillingness by the police to reveal too much information about the lines of inquiry that were being made to try and solve the cases and bring the murderer to justice.
However, with Steven Blomer’s expert guidance, we can at least start to make sense of the thinking behind yet another Jack the Ripper suspect!