Thomas Haynes Cutbush's name has been mentioned as a suspect in the Jack the Ripper murders since 1894, when the Sun newspaper announced that he was the killer. Despite the fact that the newspaper was certain of his guilt, experts have had more than 125 years to study the evidence and had still come to no conclusion. Fortunately, medical records were recently released by the Berkshire Records Office in Reading, and they give us a little more insight into the life - and lunacy - of Thomas Haynes Cutbush.
Thomas was born in 1866 in Kennington, and lived with his mother, sister and aunt. His father died when he was young. While he held various jobs while he was very young, he was not working by 1891. Most accounts show that his female relatives were very fond of him and likely spoiled him quite a bit. It is because of his arrests that we have information into his personal life.
In 1891, Thomas was arrested and incarcerated as a lunatic with paranoid delusions. There is also some speculation that he was suffering from syphilis, as well. Convinced that he was being poisoned, he escaped. Arrested again for charges that he stabbed a few young women in the buttocks, he was committed to Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, now known as Broadmoor hospital. He was never released from the hospital, and died there in 1903.
The theory behind Thomas' responsibility for the Jack the Ripper murders comes from his status as a violent lunatic and his violent aggression towards women, though stabbing a woman in the buttocks is nowhere near as violent as the Whitechapel murders. The recently-released medical records are filled with quotes from doctors describing Thomas as "very insane", dangerous, and violent. There is also evidence of mental illness in his family, as well.
There are many discrepancies in the theory, however. Thomas was very young at the time of the murders - only in his early twenties. Most witnesses claimed that Jack the Ripper was much older. Also, he was arrested for stabbing women in the buttocks more than two years after the extremely violent, brutal murders. It seems likely that a killer would commit savage murders, do nothing for two years, and then try to stab women in the buttocks. Nevertheless, his name will be continued to be discussed as a suspect.