George Godley was born in Sussex in 1857. In his early life he worked as a sawyer. In February of 1877 he joined the Metropolitan Police. By 1888 he had achieved the rank of Sergeant, and was assigned to J division. During the Jack the Ripper murders he was transferred to H division, which covered Whitechapel, in order to aid Inspector Frederick Abberline in the search for the Ripper. Their efforts ultimately proved fruitless, and eventually the case was closed and Godley moved on to other cases. Godley was the officer who, in 1903, arrested serial poisoner George Chapman, who was Abberline's prime suspect for the Ripper. In January of 1908 Godley retired; he had achieved the rank of inspector in K division. He died on July 20th, 1941 at the age of 84.
Godley has occasionally appeared in Ripper-centric media, such as the late-1980s miniseries Jack the Ripper in which he was played by Lewis Collins. A character was based on him in the From Hell graphic novel, and later in the movie adaptation, where he was inexplicably called Peter Godley, and played by Robbie Coltrane.