Stephen Knight (author)
Stephen Knight c.1976
26 September 1951|
25 July 1985 (aged 33)|
Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution|
|Spouse||Margot Kenrick (1976-1980)|
Life and works
Born in Hainault in Essex as Stephen Victor Knight, he attended West Hatch Technical High School, at nearby Chigwell. He was not successful academically, and after leaving school at 16 Knight went to work as a salesman for the London Electricity Board in Chigwell. At 18 he got a job as a reporter on the Ilford Pictorial before moving to the Hornchurch Echo.
His book Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution (1976) suggested that the Ripper murders were part of a conspiracy between Freemasons and the British Royal Family, a claim which is not accepted by historians. Nevertheless, the book became a bestseller, and was the inspiration for several works of fiction, among them the film Murder by Decree (1978) by Bob Clark and the graphic novel From Hell by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell.
The Brotherhood (1984) was published at a time when Freemasonry was coming under increasing scrutiny in the United Kingdom. Knight's last book before his death was The Killing of Justice Godfrey, exploring the death of Edmund Berry Godfrey in 1678, which had caused widespread anti-Catholic sentiment in England.
In 1983 he became a religious follower of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and, as a part of this interest, took the name Swami Puja Debal. He began to experience epileptic seizures in 1977, and in 1980 was discovered to have a brain tumour while taking part in a documentary for the Horizon television series. The tumour was removed, but returned in 1984.
In 1976 he married Margot Kenrick, who had two daughters, Natasha and Nicole, from a previous relationship. In the same year the couple had a daughter together, Nanouska Maria Knight. The couple later separated, and in November 1980 Knight announced that, when his divorce came through, he would marry Lesley Newson, a 28-year-old researcher on Horizon. However, instead the couple later also separated. His partner during his last years was Barbara Mary Land.
- Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution (1976)
- The Brotherhood (1984)
- The Killing of Justice Godfrey: an investigation into England's most remarkable unsolved murder (1984)
- Requiem at Rogano (1979)
- Freund, Charles Paul (1 July 2000). "Unaccepted Masons". Reason. Escondido, CA.
- Obituary for Knight on Casebook: Jack the Ripper by Richard Whittington-Egan
- Adam Curtis "Suspicious Minds", BBC Adam Curtis blog, 2 April 2014
- Sengupta, Kim (18 April 1998). "Ripper Fans Take Stab at Naming Evil Jack". The Independent. London.
- "Mr Stephen Knight". The Times. London. 26 July 1985. p. 16.
- Nanouska Maria Knight in the England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916-2005 - Ancestry.com - pay to view