John Netley was born c. 1860 in Paddington, the son of an omnibus driver. He was born a twin, but his brother, William Henry, died before the boys were more than a few months old. In 1888 Netley was working as a Hackney carriage driver in London
. Netley died in 1903 when his carriage struck an obelisk on London's Park Road, throwing him under the hooves of his horses and crushing his head beneath the wheel of his own cab.
Major Story Arcs
Jack the Ripper
In 1976 he was first implicated in the Jack the Ripper
murders in Stephen Knight's book Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution
. In this work Knight suggested that Netley drove the carriage for the murderer, William Gull
, and assisted in carrying out the murders for the so-called "royal conspiracy". He was also alleged to have attempted to murder Alice Crook
, the supposed illegitimate daughter of Prince Albert Victor
, by trying to run her down with her carriage and, when this failed, committing suicide by throwing himself into the River Thames. However, the royal conspiracy has been widely discredited, and many of the roads where the victims were found were too narrow for a carriage to fit down them as has been alleged. As well, Netley died 15 years after the end of the murders, not shortly after as was suggested in the theory.
In Other Media
Nonetheless, Netley has made several appearances in fiction, usually as the semi-willing subordinate of William Gull. Most notably this portrayal appeared in Eddie Campbell
and Alan Moore's From Hell
. He also appeared in the film "adaptation", where he was portrayed by Jason Flemyng. Earlier appearances were in Murder By Decree
, where his name was changed to William Slade and he was played by Peter Jonfield, and in the TV movie Jack the Ripper
where he was played by George Sweeney.