Ripper suspect with local links

George Chapman with Maud Marsh
George Chapman with Maud Marsh

A NEW book about the infamous Victorian serial killer Jack the Ripper points the finger at a suspect with links to Hastings.

Simon Webb, 50, has written Severin: A Tale of Jack the Ripper, a novel featuring Ripper suspect George Chapman, who once ran a barber’s shop in the town.

Simon said: “He lived with a lady called Mary Spink, whom he murdered in 1897. She used to shave men in the shop - a very unusual thing at that time - but later she took to drink and couldn’t be trusted with a cut-throat razor.

“So she started playing the piano while Chapman shaved the customers - giving them a ‘musical shave’.”

He added: “Chapman was hanged in 1903 for murdering a girl called Maud Marsh.

Maud went to live with Chapman above his pub in London.

“There he poisoned her, but he’d already got away with two other poisonings.

“All this time, he was still using a bottle of poison he’d bought from a pharmacist in Hastings.”

During Chapman’s trial, Frederick Abberline, an important detective on the Ripper case, became convinced that Chapman was the man he had been hunting back in 1888.

“The novel recounts what happens when Chapman confesses his crimes to a priest - it isn’t for the faint-hearted,” said Simon.

Chapman was born Seweryn Antonowicz Kłosowski in Poland, and moved to England as an adult.

He moved to Hastings with Mary Spink in 1896 and the couple opened a barbershop in George Street.

Severin: A Tale of Jack the Ripper is available as a Kindle download, price £1.92.