Real Crime: Jack the Ripper, the first Serial Killer, Wednesday April 18

Real Crime: Jack The Ripper – First Serial Killer
Wednesday 18 April, 9.30pm

Jack The Ripper’s reign of terror remains one of history’s greatest mysteries. No-one was ever charged with the Whitechapel murders of 1888. In the intervening decades, more than 200 people have been named as suspects, yet none of them fits the bill.

‘Real Crime: Jack The Ripper – First Serial Killer’ sees Scotland Yard’s Laura Richards and a team of experts, with the benefits of modern criminology and psychological analysis, use 21st-century techniques to understand the 19th-century killer (tonight at 9.30pm on TV ONE).
‘Jack The Ripper’ was the first modern serial killer; the investigation was the first be conducted under a media spotlight, which sensationalised the murders and put pressure on the police. Laura Richards is a behavioural psychologist, working with the Violent Crime Command at London’s Scotland Yard. With the experience of a decade studying the most dangerous, hard-to-catch criminals – serial rapists and killers – Richards agreed to re-examine the facts of ‘Jack The Ripper’s case.

“There are many features that really grip me about this particular case, not only the fact it happened in London. It’s my home force, it’s where I work and I think the vulnerability of the victims, you know the way they lived, the sadness of their lives, the way it began and the way that it also ended.”

In reinvestigating the case, Richards sifts through details of the victims’ lives to understand how they came to be targeted: “The more you know about how someone lived, the more you know about how they died.” She decodes the injuries left on their bodies to discover what drove the Ripper, and builds a picture of a man who was perfectly sane, frighteningly normal, and yet capable of extraordinary cruelty.

Richards can name the street where the killer probably lived, show an e-fit of his face and can explain, finally, why this killer eluded justice. “He’s someone who’s been totally overlooked by very virtue of the fact that he’s so ordinary and so mundane and I think that’s the whole point. He committed an extraordinary set of offences, but he’s probably quite an ordinary guy.”

She believes if the original investigators had modern police tools: DNA testing, CCTV, fingerprinting, geographical profiling and e-fit imaging – ‘Jack the Ripper’ would have found it a lot harder to evade capture.

The ‘Real Crime’ documentary, ‘Jack The Ripper – The First Serial Killer’ sees Richards uncover results that bring her closer than anyone has ever been to understanding and unmasking the Ripper. The results completely change past understanding and dispel the many myths that have grown up around the case.

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