The author of Withnail and I says the Whitechapel murders were committed by Michael Maybrick, a singer who was "a psychopath shielded by servants of the Victorian state". Bruce Robinson, a director and screenwriter has been researching the Ripper killings, culminating in an 800-page book, They All Love Jack: Busting the Ripper.
Robinson was intrigued by one aspect of the case. Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes were found mutilated on 30 September 1888 within hours of each other. Police Commissioner Sir Charles Warren, who was in charge of the case, was at the scene and inspected some graffiti at Goulston Street, near where a bloodied apron belonging to Eddowes was found.
The graffiti read: "The Juwes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing." Warren destroyed the evidence, ordering it to be washed off the wall, before it could even be photographed – believed to be an attempt to avoid an anti-Semitic riot. However, Robinson sees the commissioner's action as "a lightbulb moment".
"We've got this rampaging maniac in the East End, but it suddenly occurred to me – what if they didn't want to catch him? Is there any mileage there? Let's go down that street," he said in a Telegraph interview.
He claims that both Warren and Maybrick were members of the Freemason Society. "Masonry permeates every fibre of this conundrum."
According to Robinson, Jack the Ripper's mutilations of his female victims were inspired by a foundational masonic myth – the ritual punishment of three Jewish craftsmen – Jubela, Jubelo and Jubelum.
All had their throats cut, one was severed in two, another had his bowels burnt to ashes, and another had his heart ripped out and his "vitals" thrown over his shoulder.
Maybrick was a member of six Masonic lodges or chapters, and was on the Supreme Grand Council of Freemasons, whose members also included the Prince of Wales. "I believe that Michael Maybrick was a psychopath, with a hatred of women," Robinson says.
"But I think the thing he hated almost more than women was authority and Masonry fits very well in that authoritarian package, because everyone who was in a position of authority was a Mason."