The 9,000-word document, actually more of a memoir than a diary, was given to Smith by an ex-scrap metal dealer from Liverpool, Mike Barrett. Barrett in turn claimed that it had been given to him by his friend Tony Devereux. But Devereux was now dead, so the origins of this diary remained murky, to say the least. Most experts, in fact, eventually concluded that the document was fake.
But this was a story that refused to die. Indeed, it burst back into the public arena in 2017 with the publication of a new book by Smith, 25 Years of The Diary of Jack the Ripper: The True Facts. And with the help of research by filmmaker Bruce Robinson, writer and director of cult British movie Withnail and I, Smith now claimed to have cleared up the mystery behind the diary’s provenance.