Jack the Ripper lot to go under the hammer

The handcuffs, truncheon and whistle used by a policeman hunting Jack the Ripper
The handcuffs, truncheon and whistle used by a policeman hunting Jack the Ripper
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The handcuffs, truncheon and whistle used by a policeman who found the mutilated body of Jack the Ripper’s fourth victim are going under the hammer.

Notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper was blamed for a string of murders across three months in 1888, when five women were killed on the streets of London.

Their throats were slashed and bodies mutilated but no one was caught and the Ripper’s identity remains one of the world’s greatest crime mysteries.

Police constable Edward Watkins carried the rare items when he discovered the body of Catherine Eddowes - the Ripper’s fourth victim.

The three items, along with a leather notepad cover, will be sold individually at JP Humbert Auctioneers in Towcester and are expected to fetch between £500 and £800 each.

It will be the latest set of criminal lots at the auctioneers after Charles Bronson’s beard and Dr Crippen’s glasses went up for sale .

PC Edward Watkin's notebook, truncheon, whistle and handcuffs

PC Edward Watkin's notebook, truncheon, whistle and handcuffs

Bronson’s jail art and personal items fetched £30,000 last month and Crippen’s personal possessions were sold for more than £2,000.

Auctioneer Jonathan Humbert, said: “It’s chilling to think these very items may have physically been only yards from Jack the Ripper and played such an integral role in one of the most fascinating unresolved crimes of all time.

“Ripper items are rarer than rare and I have no doubt these items will really capture the public’s imagination around the world.

“The fact that the items have provenance, are of the correct age and have been privately owned for so long really helps to give them added value.”

PC Watkins started his patrols of Mitre Street in London on September 29 1888 at 10pm and discovered the corpse shortly before 2am.

His leather City of London Police notebook cover is stamped with his number, 881City.

The Ripper also murdered Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride and Mary Jane Kelly in London’s East End.

Earlier this month, criminologist Dr Gareth Norris from Aberystwyth University claimed that Jack the Ripper was meat cart driver, Charles Allen Lechmere. He believes that his legitimately blood-spattered appearance helped him to evade justice.

Lechmere was found leaning over victim Mary Ann Nichols’ body on Buck’s Row in Whitechapel on August 31 1888 and told police he had only been there a few minutes.

But many high-profile suspects have also been suggested including the grandson of Queen Victoria and Sir William Gull, the Queen’s doctor.

The auction items have come from a private collector who has had them in family possession for three generations.

His grandfather purchased the items directly from the Watkins family and this is the first time these items have been offered for sale.

They go under the hammer on December 10 at the auctioneers in Silverstone Business Park.

The auctioneers is also hosting valuation days next week at Brackley Town Hall on Monday (3pm-5pm), at the Villiers Hotel in Buckingham on Tuesday (4pm-6pm) and at Bicester Town Hall on Thursday (9am-12pm).