In the history of unsolved murders, especially in the category of serial killers, there are few more well-known than the notorious prostitute murdered of the late 1800s – Jack the Ripper. The terror of prostitutes working in London’s Whitechapel district, his victims were often mutilated with a surgical precision that has led many investigators to look to a doctor as the likely suspect. It is generally agreed on by criminal investigators and historians that at least five of the eleven brutal murders committed in the Whitechapel and Spitalfields districts between 1888 and 1891 were committed by the same person. But 135 years later … we still don't know who did it. An historian who has been digging into the case for the past 20 years believes he’s compiled enough evident to prove that Jack the Ripper was a disgruntled police constable with a grudge – probably too nice of a word to use in a serial murder case – against prostitutes. Could the name of Jack the Ripper be Officer Bowden Endacott.
“He was in London for all of the killings. He was officially stationed at the British Museum, but all the Met's reserves were called up to patrol the streets.”
Historian Rod Beattie has spent the last 20 years trawling through archives putting together his case that the infamous serial killer was an aggrieved police constable. He talked to The Daily Mail about the evidence he presents in his new book, “Jack The Ripper - The Policeman: A New Suspect,” identifying Constable Bowden Endacott as the most likely suspect in the case. While the fact that Endacott was in London when all of the killings happened is a small piece but not proof of guilt, that little bit of information set Beattie down a path of investigations into the police officer. It turns out Bowden Endacott was known around London … and not in a way that looks good on his record.
“On a warm July evening in 1887, Elizabeth Cass, a young woman from the North who worked in London as a dressmaker’s assistant, was walking down Regent Street, window-shopping for a new pair of gloves.1 As she moved through the growing evening crowd, she was approached by a Metropolitan Police Officer, Police Constable Bowden Endacott, and told to her great dismay that she had been seen soliciting men for the purposes of prostitution, to their annoyance, and had been observed doing the same on several occasions that month.”
Endacott’s name popped up the book, “Common Prostitutes and Ordinary Citizens: Commercial Sex in London, 1885-1960.” Whitechapel was a crime-ridden district in the late 1800s and prostitution ran rampant there. However, Elizabeth Cass was not one of them. She just happened to be walking in the territory of Officer Endacott, who figured there was a good chance she was a prostitute, and if she wasn’t, he could say it was a case of mistaken identity and he was at least doing his job. Unfortunately for him, Cass had some powerful friends who brought a wrongful arrest case against the Metropolitan Police, resulting in an inquiry which found her innocent and the case without merit. That was bad enough for Officer Endacott – he was indeed found not guilty by reason of mistaken identity, but it got worse. During the investigation, it came out that HE was a not-so-nice guy – before joining the Metropolitan Police, he got a girl named Rogers “in trouble” and was given a “bastardy order” to make child support payments. That pushed the Metropolitan Police to discharge him from the force.
“The murder spree began the year after he lost everything when Elizabeth Cass brought him to court for perjury. He had a bad history with women generally.”
Rod Beattie surmised that Endacott would have been mad about losing his job and needed someone to blame. While Elizabeth Cass was an obvious choice, Beattie also uncovered evidence that Endacott was dominated as a child by an abusive mother and had a second “bastardy order” from a woman he once lived with. That probably turned him against all women. Being unemployed gave him time to stew, but Beattie believes the thing that pushed Endacott over the edge was finding out that the only police job he could get was as a security guard at the British Museum. Now disgruntled with a capital D, Beattie thinks Endacott must have decided that he wouldn’t be in this spot if it weren’t for the prostitutes walking the streets who caused him to arrest Elizabeth Cass in the first place … and those poor women were the perfect targets – as a cop, he knew where to find them, and as prostitutes who might be runaways or had no family to care for them, he knew they wouldn’t be reported missing. Endacott would have been the worst choice to be called up when the Metrolotican Police needed more cops on the street to patrol Whitecastle. Unfortunately, he was.
“Considering the man's personal history and the fact that as a police officer he could go anywhere and pass without suspicion I'm confident that it was him. It's possible that the Met knew it was him but simply didn't want to damage their reputation.”
That last comment illustrates the sorry state that Victorian London was in – a museum might have known one of its employees was a serial killer of women but kept it quiet to protect its ‘reputation’. Beattie claims that Catharine Eddowes, one of the victims, knew somehow that Endacott was Jack the Ripper and met with him in order to blackmail him. Instead, she became the second victim that night along with Elizabeth Stride.
Is it time to identify Officer Bowden Endacott as Jack the Ripper and close the case? In this review, has there been any evidence of a knife? Or DNA? Or a sworn statement? Or anything else that would hold up in court?
“'There is no concrete proof that he did it, but there isn't any for any suspect.”
Rod Beattie believes he has the strongest collection of circumstantial evidence in the case of Jack the Ripper to point the finger at Office Bowden Endacott. Is that enough evidence to convince you?