Frederick Deeming.
Frederick Deeming. National Library

Was Deeming Jack the Ripper?

FOR many years now speculation has been rife about who exactly was Jack the Ripper.

While many suspects were either discounted or convicted for other crimes, one possible, some say probable, suspect was Frederick Bailey Deeming.

Born in Birkenhead, Cheshire, on July 30, 1853, he was often referred to as “Mad Fred”.

The website casebook Jack the Ripper says Deeming was well known for his criminal activities, and in 1887 was jailed in Australia for 14 days for bankruptcy.

In 1888 Deeming moved his family first to South Africa and then to Merseyside in England.

They lived what seemed to be a relatively normal existence until neighbours noticed that his family had disappeared.

Deeming claimed his wife and children had simply “gone away”.

Returning to Australia, Deeming soon remarried and again his wife mysteriously disappeared. Also again, Deeming claimed she had gone abroad.

People became suspicious and the police were called. His wife was found, throat cut.

The police in Liverpool were asked to keep watch for Deeming, and upon lifting the floorboards of his house they discovered his first wife and four children – all with throats slashed.

Deeming was arrested in March 1892 in Perth, Western Australia.

Newspapers began publishing stories commenting that Deeming had been sighted in Whitechapel in 1888, and that he was furthermore seen to have purchased knives in the area.

While in prison, Deeming told his fellow inmates that he was indeed Jack the Ripper, but never confessed to authorities.

Newspapers began publishing reports Deeming had been seen in Whitechapel in 1888, and that he was seen to have bought knives in the area.



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