Jack the Ripper Suspect – Francis Thompson
Thompson was an author and a poet, and in 1889 he wrote the short story “Finis Coronat Opus” (Latin: “The End Crowns the Work”). It features a young poet sacrificing women to pagan gods, seeking hell’s inspiration for his poetry in order to gain the fame he desires.
Thompson was suggested as the Ripper by author Richard Patterson in his 1999 book Paradox.
Thompson is alternatively seen as a religious fanatic or a madman committing the actions described in his story.
The first reports of a suspect in the Whitechapel murders gave the desription as someone wearing a leather apron. Francis Thompson later claimed that he owned a leather apron during his homelessness during 1888.
Thompson claimed that he fell in love with a prostitute. But the name of this prostitute is still unknown. It was at the time of the ripper murders that it is claimed Thompson took to the streets to find this prostitute.
Between 1885 and 1888 Thompson spent the majority of his time homeless, living in the Docks area south of Whitechapel. Thompson tried a number of occupations; surgeon, priest, even a soldier, but was dismissed from the army for failing in drill.
He also worked in a medical factory. This may have been where, apart from his years as a surgeon, Thompson procured the dissecting scalpel which he claimed to have possessed when he wrote to the editor of the ‘Merry England’ in January 1889 of his need to swap to a razor for shaving.
There is no record of Thompson ever being questioned by the police, nor suspected at the time of the murders. He died in 1907, 19 years after the murder of Mary Kelly.
Conclusion: It is highly unlikely that Francis Thompson was Jack the Ripper.
By Geoff Cooper