Who Was Jack The Ripper? The 5 Most Likely Jack The Ripper Suspects

Published December 4, 2017
Updated October 18, 2021

Thomas Haynes Cutbush

Composite image made of Thomas Hayne Cutbush

Steven BullockA composite image made of Thomas Hayne Cutbush based on descriptions of the man.

Who was he?

Thomas Haynes Cutbush was born 1866 in Kennington, England. His father died at a young age, and Cutbush was raised by his mother and aunt.

He worked numerous jobs as a young man to support his family and by the 1880s when Cutbush was in his teens, he began studying medicine at a school in London.

In 1891, Cutbush was sent to Lambeth Infirmary after suffering delusions thought to have been caused by syphilis.

Believing the doctors were poisoning him, Cutbush escaped from the infirmary and attacked two women.

He stabbed one woman in the backside and tried to stab another.

Cutbush was recovered by police, and sent to Broadmoor high security hospital. He stayed there until his death in 1903, still suffering from violent delusions.

Why is he one of the Jack The Ripper Suspects?

In 1894, shortly after the last of the canonical murders, the British tabloid The Sun, released a series of articles that suggested that Cutbush was Jack The Ripper.

They claimed that they knew the identity of Jack The Ripper, and used enough details to clearly lead people towards Cutbush.

In modern times, author David Bullock, is so convinced that Cutbush is the strongest of Jack The Ripper suspects that he wrote an entire book about it.

Does the case against him hold up?

Not really.

The purported evidence tying Cutbush to the Jack The Ripper murders are that he was a violently insane person who may have lived in the vicinity of the killings. Though many in the press at the time suspected Cutbush, he was dismissed by police investigating the case.

Also, Cutbush would have been 22 at the time of the 1888 murders, making him much younger than the suspect witnesses described at the time.

Detective Melville Macnaghten, one of the main investigators of the Jack the Ripper murders, even released a memorandum refuting Cutbush as a suspect and advancing several other theories as to the identity of the Ripper.

While many would look at this as evidence for Cutbush, many who believe he was the killer think Macnaghten released the document to protect Cutbush, as his uncle was a superintendent in the London Metropolitan Police.

Now that you’ve read about the Jack The Ripper suspects, check out the theory that “Jack The Ripper” was merely a creation of the newspapers at the time. Then, learn about the the forgotten lives of Jack the Ripper’s victims.

Gabe Paoletti
Gabe is a New York City-based writer and an Editorial Intern at All That Is Interesting.