Serpent's Egg

The Eroticism of Fat Men

How Jack the Ripper’s murders were motivated by love gone wrong

Part Four: Haunted by his heinous crimes, Francis Craig took his own life 15 years after the murders – slitting his own throat exactly as he had slaughtered his own victims

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An illustration of Mary Jane Kelly in Miller’s Court Photo: Topham

The tragic saga of Jack the Ripper is actually a love story.

It is the tale of a lonely, dysfunctional man’s obsession for a beautiful, lively young woman.

Their introduction was possibly a prank that went wrong.

Who could have forecast that Francis Craig would fall headlong for a girl so much his opposite?

Elizabeth had little education or intellect. She was what would today be called a party animal.

What mattered to her was the company of friends, music, dancing, laughter.

Francis was by contrast a solitary man.

Any conversation longer than a few minutes became a burden from which he had to escape.

The prospect of losing the only other human being for whom he had felt real emotion was unbearable. It festered within him and eventually came out in the 12-week orgy of killing that finally drove him to destroy the only thing he loved.
The Real Mary Kelly

The idea of singing or dancing would have horrified him.

What he sought was love, tenderness, understanding, the very things that had been denied to him by doctrinaire parents fixated on their own cranky theories on the upbringing of children.

Who knows that, given time, he might have learned to socialise, he might have fathered children to whom he could have shown affection such as he had never experienced.

When the object of his desire deserted him it was more than he could take.

He sought her out, beseeched her to come back to him, to give it another try, but Elizabeth had never been in it for anything other than a laugh.

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The idea of spending the rest of her life with this strange, reclusive man was unthinkable.

For his part the prospect of losing the only other human being for whom he had felt real emotion was unbearable.

It brought back all the old bitterness, the sense of failure and disappointment, the inability to please his father.

It festered within him and eventually came out like an abscess being lanced in the 12-week orgy of killing that finally drove him to destroy the only thing he loved.

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The rest of his life must have been passed in a kind of numbness where he did a mundane job automatically and tried to blot out of his mind the terrible thing that he had done.

In the end it was no good.


The discovery of the body of Mary Ann Kelly in Miller’s Court (Alamy)

He couldn’t forget Elizabeth, the few times that they had been happy together, the sound of her laughter, the wonder on her face as she saw Paris for the first time.

The remorse grew and grew until eventually it overwhelmed him.

He may have made a final pilgrimage to see the places that they had known together, culminating in a visit to her grave.

Then he returned to his room in a humble cottage in West London and attempted to atone with his own life. And even that was a failure.

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Read further exclusive extracts from the book here:

Part One: How the new Jack the Ripper theory came to light

Part Two: Is this the only surviving depiction of the most famous serial killer in history?

Part Three: Did Francis Craig write the famous Jack the Ripper letters?

The Real Mary Kelly: Jack the Ripper’s Fifth Victim and the Identity of the Man that Killed Her by Wynne Weston-Davies is published by Blink priced £16.99. To order your copy for £14 plus p&p call 0844 871 1514 or visit books.telegraph.co.uk

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