Was Jack the Ripper really a hate-spreading antisemite?

The author of a new book claims the killer was George Hutchinson, a local labourer, and that his motive was to mislead the public by framing the murders as “Jewish ritual killings”.


Jack the Ripper, rather than simply being a maniac, was actually an antisemite who committed his murders to stir up tensions between Jewish immigrants in the East End and working class Londoners, before fleeing to Australia.

That is the contention of Australian journalist Stephen Senise, whose self-published book Jewbaiter: Jack the Ripper is out this week after almost two years of painstaking research into the infamous Whitechapel murderer.

Mr Senise, who is not Jewish, argues the killer was George Hutchinson, a local labourer, and that his motive was to mislead the public by framing the murders as “Jewish ritual killings”.

Hutchinson was initially questioned by police as a witness to one of the murders, but many historians have concluded he misled officers, with some believing he could have been the killer.

Mr Senise, 49, said: “This book takes a look at the socio-historical context of what was going on at the time. There were a high number of recent Jewish immigrants and poor East End Londoners were competing with them for scarce food and work. Whichever way you look at it this is a tragic story. Both sets of people were exploited.

“What I propose is that somebody was trying to use the architecture of a racist lie, in other words, the mirage of Jewish ritual murder, to frame the Jewish community at a most sensitive political juncture.

“The location of many of the murder sites, the antisemitic graffito left in Goulston Street, and the re-invigoration of the Jewish-suspect angle with the emergence of George Hutchinson as a witness, helped steer me to the conclusion that someone was trying to intentionally point blame at Whitechapel’s Jews.”

Mr Senise, who is a freelance horseracing journalist by trade, describes how the demographic shift in the East End in the 1880s resulted in a “turf war” which was liable to descend into conflict. While he is not claiming there was a conspiracy to cover up Hutchinson’s guilt, he says:  “There is perhaps a historical forgetfulness around what areas of Whitechapel and the East End were like more than 100 years ago. There were real tensions between different groups.”

The mystery of Jack the Ripper’s identity has never been officially solved but interest persists, and the case has spawned countless books, documentaries and TV programmes.

The killer targeted prostitutes in London’s East End and in 2015 the controversial Jack the Ripper museum opened to a series of protests against the glorification of violence towards women.

“This book does not feature the gratuitous photos of murdered women you see in other books,” says Mr Senise. “There is a temptation to dive right in to the gory elements.”

Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly, all murdered between August and November 1888, are considered Jack the Ripper’s only five victims. The commonly-held belief is that the spree ended with the killer’s death, imprisonment, institutionalisation or emigration. Mr Senise, who lives on Australia’s Gold Coast, claims Hutchinson’s departure for the Antipodes on a ship of union-busting sailors coincided with the end of the killings, which points to his guilt.

He gathered much of his evidence from New South Wales state archives and documentation of Hutchinson’s movements.

His book also boasts two never-before-seen photographs of Hutchinson.

The JC is cited a number of times in Jewbaiter to highlight the concern at the time of violent acts of retaliation towards the Jewish community.

Mr Senise said: “Elements of London’s Jewish leadership at the time, Rabbi Hermann Adler, Samuel Montagu, the MP for Whitechapel, and the JC newspaper, thought that somebody may have been trying to incriminate the community.

“I believe such suspicions were correct, and that Adler, Montagu and the JC stand vindicated.”

Jewbaiter: Jack the Ripper, published by Acorn Independent Press, is available in the UK from this week

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