Mary Kelly Dust Jacket

East London killer Jack the Ripper ‘really a woman’: theory mooted in novel

Wednesday, July 9, 2014
11.11 AM

A book has brought a radical theory about the real Jack the Ripper into the spotlight again as it re-launches in electronic format.

Bill PerringBill Perring

The Seduction of Mary Kelly, by Bill Perring, recounts the life of Mary Jane Kelly, the supposed final victim of the notorious serial killer.

Bill, who was born in Roman Road, said: “Mary’s body was never truly identified, and to this day there is still doubt whether it was really her.

“But her possible death at the hands of the Ripper is a sideline, albeit a fascinating one, to her life.

“It was this aspect that stirred my imagination, and subsequently led me to devote over four years to bringing the book to fruition.”

13 Millers Court13 Millers Court

Bill used historical accounts of Mary to piece together her life and, though no facts are altered, he reimagined fictitious episodes to fill in the holes in the story.

He said: “I read a lot of history, so I kind of knew the times and what the conditions were like.

“It was quite easy to find parallels in the modern day because people don’t change much.”

As there are no records of her birth in Ireland, it is uncertain how she moved between the social classes, first marrying in a miner in Wales and disappearing to re-emerge living a life of luxury in Knightsbridge, a stark contrast to the older, impoverished victims before her.

Bill said: “Even more intriguing is how, from such lofty heights, she fell so low as to be living in a single room in a squalid little court off Dorset Street, then known as the worst street in London.”

His theory introduces the idea that the Ripper was a woman, and carefully explains her motives to kill.

This is tied in with Mary who, it is argued, meets an alternative fate to what is believed. Bill said: “This is not just a novel but a bona fide solution to the Ripper mystery. Most suspects are well-known people. Who has ever heard of a serial killer who was a well-known person? I haven’t.”

The book can be purchased online or on Kindle on