The identity of Jack the Ripper has remained a mystery for more than 130 years.

But sensational new DNA evidence points to a 23-year-old Polish barber as the likely mass killer who roamed the streets of Victorian London and murdered at least five women.

Tests by scientists on DNA samples taken from a blood-stained shawl from one of the victims purports to show that Polish immigrant Aaron Kosminski was the killer.

Scientific evidence is now said to point to Polish barber Aaron Kosminski.
Scientific evidence is now said to point to Polish barber Aaron Kosminski.

The identity was confirmed by researchers from Liverpool John Moores University and the University of Leeds who shared their findings in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, the Daily Mail reported.

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They wrote: "We describe for the first time systematic, molecular level analysis of the only surviving physical evidence linked to the Jack the Ripper murders.

"Finding both matching profiles in the same piece of evidence enhances the statistical probability of its overall identification and reinforces the claim that the shawl is authentic."

The analysis provided a match between murdered victim Catherine Eddowes and Kosminski's living descendants.

In 2014, Kominski was linked to the killer when Dr Jari Louhelainen, one of the authors in this week's paper, studied the same shawl.

Police never identified the murderer Jack the Ripper who terrorised London in 1888, engraving. Photo / Getty Images
Police never identified the murderer Jack the Ripper who terrorised London in 1888, engraving. Photo / Getty Images

But his claims were rubbished by other scientists who said made he made an "error of nomenclature" in his analysis.

However, despite the revelation, critics have questioned whether the shawl is viable evidence, claiming there is no proof it was alongside Eddowes' body, and that it might have been contaminated over time.

A mortuary photograph of Mary Ann Nichols, thought to be the first victim of serial killer Jack the Ripper. Photo / Getty Images
A mortuary photograph of Mary Ann Nichols, thought to be the first victim of serial killer Jack the Ripper. Photo / Getty Images

Businessman Russell Edwards, 48, who bought the shawl at auction in 2007, contacted the university scientists several years ago.

Eddowes was one of five women murdered in 1888 in the Whitechapel area of London.

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She was slaughtered on the night of September 30, 1888, in Mitre Square, Whitechapel.

Eddowes was the second woman to have died at the hands of Jack the Ripper that night - he had slit Elizabeth Stride's throat an hour earlier.

As Stride's throat was cut but her body left relatively untouched, it's thought the killer had been disturbed and made his escape before being able to finish what he had started.

Discovery of a victim of Jack the Ripper, Whitechapel, London,1888 - engraving of Fortune Louis Meaulle (1844-1901). Photo / Getty Images
Discovery of a victim of Jack the Ripper, Whitechapel, London,1888 - engraving of Fortune Louis Meaulle (1844-1901). Photo / Getty Images

He is then believed to have carried on his search for another victim, eventually coming across the 46-year-old Eddowes - tearing out her kidney, which in the infamous 'From Hell' letter to police, claimed he had eaten.

The Ripper is known to have murdered at least five women; Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Jane Kelly, but it's widely thought he may have butchered many more.

Kosminski was a Polish Jewish immigrant who, fleeing persecution in his homeland, came with his family to England in 1881 and lived in Mile End Old Town.

He was admitted to a string of lunatic asylums, where he died in 1899 of gangrene in the leg.

Who were Jack the Ripper's victims in 1888?

• Mary Ann Nichols was disembowled on Buck's Row.

• Annie Chapman's uterus was removed at 29 Hanbury St.

• Elizabeth Stride's throat was cut at Duffield's Yard, Berner St.

• Catherine Eddowes's uterus and kidney were removed and her cheeks torn on Mitre Square.

• Mary Jane Kelly was completely mutilated and her heart was removed at 13 Miller's Court.