Smith said that the new evidence should elevate Maybrick to the status of prime suspect in the brutal murders. Maybrick died in 1889 of what was believed to be arsenic poisoning.
His wife, Florence Maybrick, was later convicted of his murder.
Maybrick had not surfaced as a Jack the Ripper suspect prior to the discovery of the diary, in which the writer confesses to the murders and identifies himself as the Ripper. Though the writer never uses his real name in the document, references within the writings led proponents of its authenticity to believe Maybrick was the author.
The diary was first brought to the spotlight by a scrap metal dealer named Mike Barrett, who claimed that he was given the diary by a family friend, the Telegraph said. That family friend died a short time afterward, so the diary's true origins could not be proven.
Barrett also signed a sworn affidavit in 1995 claiming that he'd written the diary himself, the Telegraph reported. He later retracted that statement.
Smith said that records show that workers with an electrical contractor were working in 1992 at Battlecrease House, the onetime home of Maybrick and his wife. They were working there on the day that Barrett, who reportedly knew one of the workmen, called a London literary agent claiming that he had Jack the Ripper’s diary.
The workmen have all denied being involved in the discovery of the diary, the Telegraph reported. Smith said he believes Barrett and the workmen hid where the book was found out of fear they would be prosecuted.
Jack the Ripper was the name given to a serial killer who killed and mutilated at least five women in the Whitechapel district of London in 1888. The name comes from a letter written by someone claiming to be the killer, who was never identified by police.
Some Ripper scholars believe that the killer was responsible for far more than the five victims killed in 1888. In the nearly 130 years since the killing spree, more than 100 people have been named as potential Jack the Ripper suspects.
Those suspects include everyone from Prince Albert Victor to author Lewis Carroll. Most of the proposed suspects have not been taken seriously by Jack the Ripper scholars.