Detective Inspector Edmund Reid, born 1846 in Canterbury, Kent, was an eccentric character, not only because of his involvement in the still unsolved Jack the Ripper case. He was remarkably short, measuring only 5'6" tall and he was interested in balloon flight. Furthermore, he becomes an even more interesting historical figure when we realise he was the longest-serving member of the police force of his rank during his tenure, despite his background as a pastry cook and ship's steward.
Edmund Reid was the head investigator in the murders of Emma Elizabeth Smith, in April, 1888, and Martha Tabram in August, 1888. The murders of these two women, both prostitutes in the Whitechapel area, are not currently considered to be the work of the same unidentified killer known as a Jack the Ripper. At the time of the killings, however, many investigators believed them to be related.
Edmund had several theories about Jack the Ripper, including the idea that the murderer was a man who, in a very drunken state, would kill the prostitutes and then remember nothing of it the next day. He also was one of the most vocal authorities that insisted that the killer had no special scientific or anatomical knowledge. More than twenty years after the murders, Edmund published his memories on the murders in Lloyd's Weekly News, but many experts dismiss his writings as unreliable and site evidence that his recollections were missing important details that he may have forgotten.
During his retirement, he was known as a very odd man, considering the times in which he lived. He championed the cause of sea-erosion in the town of Hampton-on-Sea, which has since been drowned by the sea. Edmund was the last resident to leave this town, but his home was finally damaged by sea waters. He died in 1917 and was buried in Herne Bay Cemetery, Kent.