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Edward Bennett was a psychotic police constable who serves as the primary antagonist of Dust and Shadow. He was the true identity of Jack the Ripper, and was responsible for the murders of at least six women. A man of extreme cunning and devious intellect, he proved to be a formidable match for Sherlock Holmes as Holmes raced to stop the killings.

Dust and Shadow[]

Early life[]

Edward Bennett was raised in Spitalfields in the East End of London. His father was an imposing, abusive man, who beat him frequently when he was young; however, at around age eight, Bennett stopped crying and expressing pain. It is implied he also began mutilating his mother's cat's tail at this time. Bennett was described as very different from his father, who could not control his rages; instead, the young Bennett displayed an unusual amount of self-countrol.

Bennett first encounters Holmes in February 1887, when he is assigned to Tobias Gregson's investigation of the theft of a valuable heirloom ring from the Ramsden family. Holmes and Bennett both come to the conclusion that the thief is none other than Baron Ramsden, who gave it to a girl he loved who died soon afterwards of illness. However, when Lord Ramsden kills himself in shame to protect the secret, Holmes keeps this information from Gregson, instead pretending he is unable to solve the case while quietly returning the ring. Bennett attempts to prod Holmes into revealing the truth, but Holmes deflects out of loyalty to the dead man. Bennett is infuriated by Holmes' "arrogance" in meting out his own justice, and develops a fixation on him. He writes Holmes a sinister anonymous letter, which Holmes dismisses.

Ripper Murders[]

A little over a year later, in August 1888, Bennett commits the first of his murders, that of Martha Tabram. Encountering the woman shortly after she was stabbed by a drunken Johnny Blackstone, Bennett was triggered by her sobbing to stab her nearly forty times. While leaving the scene he encountered the undercover journalist Stephen Dunlevy, whom he herded away.

In the following months, Bennett would go on to murder Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddows. The murders caused a panic among the East Enders, who began a frenzy to find the killer. By becoming a source for the unscrupulous newspaperman Leslie Tavistock, Bennett implicates Holmes in the crimes and hamstrings his investigations by turning the Whitechapel population against him. He continues to taunt the police by sending letters to the news and to George Lusk, head of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, along with half a kidney. He also encounters Holmes at Stride's funeral, lying that Inspector Lestrade had posted him there to keep the peace.

By early November, Holmes' investigation begins to close in on Bennett. He therefore resigns his commission on November 5th with the police and returns to his mother's house on Thrawl Street in Spitalfields. Holmes, determined to stop what he predicts will be another murder, sets the Vigilance Committee on high alert and personally patrols the district with Watson, Lestrade, and Dunlevy. However, they are unable to stop him from murdering Mary Jane Kelly on the night of November 8th.

Now in despair at his lack of success with the case, Holmes receives a lucky break when a Tavistock reveals that he knows Bennett's whereabouts after following him home and discovering that he is the killer. Holmes and Watson, under instructions from Mycroft to kill the murderer, travel to Thrawl Street where they meet Bennett's aged mother and discover that he has kidnapped another woman, their friend Mary Ann Monk. Thanks to Holmes' alertness, they barely avoid being killed when the cellar explodes due to a fire Bennett set: Holmes then rushes back into the house to rescue Miss Monk. Bennett finally confronts Holmes and Watson outside the burning building, and confesses his crimes unemotionally. Bennett says Holmes was the only man who could have stopped him, but Holmes admits that he never understood any of his crimes. When Bennett steps forward to kill Holmes, Watson shoots him.

Following his death, Scotland Yard covers up his guilt to preserve the reputation of the police, and officially announces that Bennett died in the explosion of his house. The investigation into the killings is officially never closed. However, Lestrade allows, even encourages, the rumor that Bennett was the killer and Holmes' involvement in stopping him to spread among the force.

Description[]

Bennett was a physically unremarkable individual, with few distinctive features. Psychologically, he was completely unbalanced, prone to cruelty and violence by generally lacking emotion. Dr. Moore Agar diagnoses him with a monomania, or an obsessive fixation to derangement in a person otherwise appearing sane. This kind of moral insanity is difficult for Holmes and the police involved in the case to comprehend.

Trivia[]

  • Bennett's name is probably drawn from that of Thomas Barrett, the actual beat officer who discovered Tabram's body.
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