You may have assumed that modern day researchers have access to all the official files relating to the Jack the Ripper case. After all, everybody involved has been long dead; the Ripper murders themselves stopped 120 years ago. But the truth is there are still documents in the Ripper case that remain classified, and it’s not a small number.
According to Trevor Marriott, a former homicide cop and present day Ripperologist, Scotland Yard has four thick ledgers filled with previously unreleased information, with about 36,000 entries. Marriott claims that these ledgers contain, among other things, the names of four new suspects in the infamous slayings.
Marriott has spent three years trying to get these ledgers released and Scotland Yard has fought him tooth and nail all along the way. The latest tussle saw Marriott bringing Scotland Yard before a tribunal to force the release; this shit got so serious that a Scotland Yard officer testified anonymously.
His anonymity came because he runs a vital part of Scotland Yard’s informant program; the argument being made is that the ledgers contain the names of police informants and that releasing these names - even a century later - could hurt the police’s ability to get new informants. The part of me that loves The Wire totally understands this, but the part of me that is aware we’re two centuries on from the killings thinks this is pretty nutty.
Could protecting long-since-decomposed informants be the only reason these documents remain secret? Could they incriminate Queen Victoria’s grandson, the Duke of Clarence, a favorite suspect for Ripperologists? We’re probably never going to know the truth of Jack the Ripper’s identity, but at this point sitting on the ledgers just seems silly.