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20 July 2007

Alexei Pedachenko (1857 - 1908) doctor, murderer.

In Russia Pedachenko had been a doctor, who had worked in the maternity wards in Tver (known as Kalinin 1931 - 1990). Pedachenko spent some time in Paris around 1886 and was wanted for the murder of a woman in Montmartre. In 1888, he was living with his sister in Walworth, south London, which was the year of the Ripper murders.

The Monmartre murder was presumably the cause of his flight to London, although it is also said that he was an agent of the Ochrana, the Russian secret police. Some say that they ordered the Jack the Ripper murders merely to embarrass the British police; others say that the idea was to blame expatriate Russian anarchists.

Pedachenko passed himself off as a woman when he felt like it, but on other occasions he grew a heavy moustache which he wore curled and waxed. A burnt out tea kettle was found with the body of Mary Kelly, one of the Ripper victims. It is suggested that this was used to boil water to shave off his moustache so that he could escape in Kelly's clothes.

After the murders in London, and Sir Charles Warren had resigned from the Metropolitan Police, Pedachenko was smuggled back to St Petersburg, where, after murdering yet another woman in 1902, he was committed to an asylum where he died. He was cross-dressed when arrested.

In 1923 William Le Queux published Things That I Know About Kings, Celebrities and Crooks in which he claimed that the Russian provisional government of 1917 had given him manuscripts found in the cellar of Grigori Rasputin's house. These included a manuscript in French called Great Russian Criminals which specified that Pedachenko was Jack the Ripper. As Colin Wilson comments: Rasputin lived in a fourth floor flat and did not know any French.

Donald McCormick, in his 1959 The Identity of Jack the Ripper, says that he was shown a lithograph copy of The Ochrana Gazette for January 1909 which identifies Vassily Konovalov as the Ripper, and describes his cross-dressing. The Ochrana Gazette was a real publication, but other researchers have not been able to find the entry. It also, peculiarly, refers to 'Petrograd', a name that St Petersburg would not take until 1917.

Possible aliases include: Vassily Konovalov, Mikhail Ostrog, Andrei Luiskovo.
  • Paul Begg, Martin Fido & Keith Skinner “Vassily Konovalov, William Le Queux, Ochrana Gazette, Michael Ostrog, Alexander Pedachenko, Grigori Rasputin” The Jack the Ripper A to Z. London: Headline 1991.
  • Tom Cullen. Autumn Of Terror 1945. Reprinted as The Crimes And Times Of Jack The Ripper. Fontana/Collins. 1966: p206-7
  • Christopher J. Morley. “Dr. Alexander Pedachenko”. Jack the Ripper: A suspect Guide. E-Book. 2005. Online at

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