The Life And Crimes Of Francis Tumblety

Dr Francis Tumblety (1833 – 1903) is one of the more eccentric of the all the various suspects whose names have been forward in connection with the Jack the Ripper crimes.

In fact, its is safe to say that he is one of the more intriguing of the suspects; and, to that end, we have made a full video that tells the story of his life and crimes, aw well as how he came to be linked to the Whitechapel Murders.



Of all the major Jack the Ripper suspects Tumblety is about the only one who was actually arrested at the time of the murders in connection with the crimes.

The only problem with his candidature for having been responsible for the Whitechapel murders – and it is a major problem – is that we do not know why it was that he was actually arrested.

As is the case with so many of the suspects, the evidence that led the police to suspect him has either disappeared, or else it is hiding away in a dusty file that, for some reason, had never been made public.


We know that he was arrested because, although the English newspapers gave no coverage to his arrest, the American newspapers had no qualms about making it public, and, throughout late November and early December, 1888, there was a huge amount of coverage given to the fact he had been arrested on suspicion of his being Jack the Ripper.

When he arrived in New York in early December, 1888, he was even kept under surveillance by officers from the New York Police Department, and there were also mentions in the press that Scotland Yard, the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police in London, had actually sent a detective over to America to gather information on Tumblety.

A portrait of Dr, Francis Tumblety.
Dr. Francis Tumblety.


However, the newspapers, and the New York Police, had to admit that, although he had been arrested in connection with the Whitechapel murders, he police had insufficient evidence to actually charge him with the atrocities.

They did, however, charge him on four counts of gross indecency, and he was due to stand trial at the Central Criminal Court in London on December the 10th 1888.


However, he was granted bail, and he used the opportunity to leave the country for France, from whence, on November 24th, 1888, he set sail for America.

Here, there was a veritable press frenzy to try and secure as much information on him as possible, and thus his name cropped up time and time again in the American newspapers throughout December 1888.

But the, he disappeared from New York, and nobody was certain exactly where he had gone.


In late January 1889, in a newspaper article that was headlined “Tumblety Talks“, he admitted that he had been arrested in connection with the East End murders in London, but he claimed that he was only arrested because everyone thought Jack the Ripper was an American, and he, being an American, attracted the attention of the London police and was, therefore, arrested.

He kept strangely quiet about the crimes he had actually been charged with – the acts of gross indecency. And, despite the fact that the press knew what he had actually been charged with, they chose to focus on the fact that his name had been connected to the Jack the Ripper crimes.

So watch the video on Dr. Francis Tumblety, and see if you think that the case against him is strong enough to make him the number one suspect in true crime history’s greatest mystery.