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 Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide 
This text is from the E-book Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide by Christopher J. Morley (2005). Click here to return to the table of contents. The text is unedited, and any errors or omissions rest with the author. Our thanks go out to Christopher J. Morley for his permission to publish his E-book.

James Kenneth Stephen

Michael Harrison, in the book Clarence The Life of HRH The Duke Of Clarence And Avondale 1864-1892, made the suggestion that Stephen and the Duke of Clarence were lovers at Cambridge, and when the affair ended, Stephen became unhinged and decided to kill prostitutes on dates which had some significance to Clarence. Harrison's theory that the Ripper killed ten women, which included Annie Farmer, who was not even murdered, is important because Harrison believes Stephen was acting out one of his own poem's Air Kaphoozelum, in which the song's villain kills ten harlots. Harrison also claimed that Stephen's poetry displayed signs of sadism and misogyny, thus proving his hatred of women. In one of his poems, A Thought, Stephen wrote,

If all the harm that women have done were put in a bottle and rolled into one, earth would not hold it the sky could not enfold it, It could not be lighted nor warmed by the sun, such masses of evil would puzzle the devil and keep him in fuel while time's wheels run.

But if all the harm that's been done by men were doubled and doubled and doubled again and melted and fused into vapour and then were squared and raised to the power of ten. There wouldn't be nearly enough, not near, to keep a small girl for the tenth of a year.

James Kenneth Stephen was born on 25 February 1859 and was the second son of judge Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, the judge at the Maybrick trial. He was educated at Eaton and Kings College Cambridge, and was elected President of the Cambridge Union, a public political speaking forum. In 1883/85 he became tutor to Prince Albert, and was awarded the Whewell scholarship in international law, and called to the bar 1884. In the winter of 1886, while on holiday in Felixstowe, Stephen, while out riding, was struck by a sail from a windmill. In a variation of this story it was said that he had been struck by projection from a moving train. Though the injury was considered minor at first, and he made, what appeared to be a complete recovery, it was said his brain had been permanently damaged and he slowly went insane. Up until the accident there was no evidence Stephen had displayed any signs of mental illness, and he continued his political public speaking. Upon recovering from his accident Stephen took up writing, and contributed articles to The Pall Mall Gazette and the Saturday Review. In 1888 he founded his own weekly newspaper The Reflector. It was to last only 17 issues before folding, due to lack of support. The last issue was published on 21 April. He returned to Cambridge to lecture and teach and in 1891 published two volumes of poetry, Lapsus Calami and Quo Musa Tendis.

On 21 November 1891 Stephen was admitted to St Andrews hospital, Northampton, which was a mental health asylum. He remained there until his death at 4.21pm on 3 February 1892. The official cause of death was given as mania, refusal of food and exhaustion.

Mania, according to the 1844 metropolitan commission report into lunacy, is a term used to designate a particular kind of madness, affecting all the operations of the mind. It affects their conduct, gesture and behaviour, which are absurd and irrational. Their actions being characterised by great restlessness, appearing to be the result of momentary impulses and without obvious motives.

Was James Kenneth Stephen - Jack the Ripper.

At almost 6ft tall, dark haired and clean shaven, he did not fit any of the Ripper descriptions. He had no known base in the East End. Also the suggestion that the dates of the murders had some significance to Clarence is without foundation. There are no known dates of importance to Clarence on the night of the double murder, nor the murder of Annie Chapman. There was a history of mental illness in Stephen's family, his father, who was at one time felt by his family and friends to be destined for high public office, later went insane. Also, Stephen's cousin, the novelist Virginia Woolf, committed suicide.







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Related pages:
  J.K. Stephen
       Authors: An Interview with Deborah McDonald 
       Message Boards: James Kenneth Stephen 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 1 December 1875 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 12 March 1881 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 13 June 1887 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 15 January 1892 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 20 October 1891 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 24 April 1883 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 24 February 1881 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 25 February 1886 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 27 October 1891 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 3 December 1891 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 3 February 1942 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 30 January 1882 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 30 November 1887 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 30 November 1891 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 31 May 1883 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 4 July 1896 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 5 February 1892 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 5 June 1877 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 5 May 1887 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 8 June 1881 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 9 February 1880 
       Ripper Media: Clarence: Was He Jack the Ripper? 
       Ripper Media: Jack the Ripper Revealed 
       Ripper Media: Jack: The Grim Ripper 
       Ripper Media: Murder and Madness: The Secret Life of Jack the Ripper 
       Ripper Media: The Prince, His Tutor and the Ripper 
       Ripper Media: The Whitechapel Murders (Mylechreest, 1974) 
       Suspects: James Kenneth Stephen