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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 July 2007, 11:52 GMT 12:52 UK
Headstone for Ripper-hunt officer
Johnny Depp as Inspector Abberline in From Hell
Insp Abberline was played by Johnny Depp in From Hell
A Scotland Yard detective who led the police hunt for Jack the Ripper is to have his grave marked with a headstone 78 years after his death.

Det Insp Frederick Abberline, who was born in Blandford Forum, retired to Bournemouth, Dorset and was buried in an unmarked grave there in 1929.

A local stonemason has now donated a headstone after a campaign by former officers and Ripper enthusiasts.

Mr Abberline had no close local family to pay for his headstone at the time.

Prayers for victims

Matt Williams, of Williams Monumental Company in St Leonards, said: "I had been interested in the Ripper stories over the years and I heard they have been trying for years to get a headstone.

"I was happy I could have something to do with it and was in a position to help."

Det Insp Abberline was buried alongside his wife.

It is thought at around the time of their deaths, the Abberlines had no close family living locally who were willing to pay for a headstone to be erected.

Campaigners have since set about finding Mr Abberline's living relatives, confirming details of his life and getting the necessary permission from Bournemouth Borough Council.

The headstone was put in place about three weeks ago and a ceremony is due to be held on Thursday.

Senior officers from the Metropolitan Police and so-called "Ripperologists" are expected to attend.

Father Robin Harger, vicar of St Stephen's and St Augustin's churches, will officiate and offer prayers for victims of violent crime.

Female Ripper

The Ripper crimes were never solved and the case remains one of the biggest murder mysteries of all time.

Five prostitutes were killed in the alleyways of Whitechapel in London's East End between August and November 1888.

The chief suspects were all men, including a member of the Royal Family, a famous author, a doctor and an artist, but Mr Abberline always believed the Ripper could have been female.

DNA profiling techniques used last year on letters sent by the killer backed up his belief.

Insp Abberline was played by Johnny Depp in the film about the case, From Hell.



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