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Swanson and The Identity of Jack the Ripper

by Adam Wood

CHIEF INSPECTOR SWANSON AND THE IDENTITY OF JACK THE RIPPER is an edited extract from Adam Wood's full biography, 'Swanson: The Life and Times of A Victorian Detective'. This 162-page softcover book features a detailed account of the Whitechapel murders of 1888, a history of Swanson's handwritten notes discovered 50 years after his death which name the chief suspect and what happened to him, and an examination by the author into the events described in Swanson's marginalia.

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Donald Sutherland Swanson was born in the far north of Scotland, leaving for London in 1867. The following year he joined the Metropolitan Police and began patrolling the streets of the capital as a uniformed constable. When he retired 35 years later, in 1903, he had risen to the rank of  Superintendent of the CID at Scotland Yard,
the top detective in the country.

On 15th September 1888 Swanson was hand-picked by Commissioner Sir Charles Warren to lead the investigation into the Whitechapel murders by the so-called Jack the Ripper, as a result learning more about the case than any other officer as he read every report, statement, letter and telegram.

Although the mystery was never officially solved, more than 50 years after Donald Swanson’s death his grandson discovered private handwritten notes which seemed to finally explain what happened to the murderer – and to name him at last.

This book is an edited extract taken from Adam Wood's full-length biography Swanson: The Life and times of A Victorian Detective. Details here.

Adam Wood is Executive Editor of Ripperologist magazine, the leading publication on the Whitechapel murders. He is also Editor of the Police History Society Journal.