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“One day in 2011, I was at the National Archives looking for documents and keyed the surname ‘Weston Davies’ into their database, and one result that popped up was ‘Weston Jones’.
“My father, who died in 1996, always refused to speak about his family, saying they were a ‘bad lot’.“An extraordinary story started to unfold about a woman marrying a man much older than herself, Francis Craig, and how this a marriage only lasted a few months, and then turned sour.” Dr Weston-Davies went on: “It was several years before I made the connection with Jack the Ripper.“I ordered Francis Craig’s death certificate and then tracked down reports of the inquest into his death. I realised he had committed suicide by slitting his own throat with a blade, exactly the same way the Ripper’s victims had been murdered.” Francis Craig was a down-on-his-luck journalist.“There’s a bit more red tape to complete but I believe that exhuming her body will solve the Ripper mystery once and for all.“I will proceed with the exhumation depending on the reaction to the book.A notice must be displayed by the grave for three months warning relatives that their loved one’s grave may also be disturbed.
“I understand there have been previous applications to exhume her body and they were all refused,” said Dr Weston-Davies.
A few years earlier Craig’s journalism career suffered an almost terminal blow when, as editor of the Bucks Advertiser he was brutally exposed as a plagiarist by a rival newspaper after stealing reports word-for-word from The Daily Telegraph.
The possibility of seeing the Ripper's face for the first time - in a courtroom sketch - is another tantalising aspect to the new research.
“The only way of absolutely proving that the Ripper’s final victim was my great aunt is to exhume Mary Jane Kelly’s body,” said Dr Weston-Davies, a former surgeon.
“We will then attempt to extract DNA from her bones or teeth and compare them with DNA from myself or my brother who, as far as I know, are her only living relatives.” Ministry of Justice officials wrote to Dr Weston-Davies in September last year after considering his research for six months.
“I think it is my family connection to her which persuaded the authorities, after months of deliberations.