Murder Most Horrid – Signed Catch me when you can (and sources)

From the vast amounts of theories and suspects out there and from the serial killer profile and what I know of society at the time I am still unable to pinpoint who I believe jack the Ripper was. There are many cases for and against who it could be (see bibliography). I have kept an open mind to all theories until I have seen the whole case prepared (by those more experienced that I). However I do feel more swayed towards three suspects, which I have mentioned in the previous Chapter – William Bury, Kosminski/Kaminski and Joseph Barnett. The cases against these suspects I feel are stronger than others that I have read. In some cases there is too much coincidence for it not to be one of them.

I do believe that whoever Jack the Ripper was he did not simply start off with Mary Ann Nichols. All serial killers as has been pointed out start of on a smaller scale, their fantasies grow and get worse until something triggers them into life and reality. As a result of this I believe that Martha Tabram could have been the first Victim of Jack the Ripper and that his methods developed from there after realizing the amount of blood produced from the body was too much and so decided to strangle his victims before he slit their throats to reduce the amount of blood.

As for the double event I again do not believe that Elizabeth Stride was a victim of Jack the Ripper. I believe it was an unfortunate incident which happened to occur on the same night that Jack the Ripper struck again. For starters Dutfields Yard was not a secluded place, and if either the prostitutes or their client was deciding upon the location it seems that this was not an appropriate one. It was right near a club which was occupied with people coming and going.  Secondly it seems that either our witness Schwartz either saw a robbery taking place which went wrong or a domestic argument which too went wrong. Some people claim that the Ripper had no time to do his mutilations and that was why he killed again later that night; however there is the theory that it wasn’t Jack at all (see Jack the Ripper a new Theory – William Stewart 1939). That the killer had no urge to mutilate. Also she had her throat slit and it seems there was no evidence of strangulation like on the others as we have seen. The killer was probably in fact Strides partner, Michael Kidney. And through a row he lashed out and killer her. There is proof that their relationship was a violent one, with Elizabeth, even at one point was going to get Kidney charged with abuse but in the end she never showed up to press her claim.

I do not know for certain who I think Jack the Ripper is. One thing I believe is that at some point the police had spoken to him and that there was evidence in his life of violence towards women. I believe that he may have had some anatomical knowledge but not a lot and that it was just the need to mutilate and ‘rip’ his victims that caused him to do what he did, not that he had a goal to take away certain organs. The murders progressively got worse with Mary Kelly being the peak of his madness. Something happened after Kelly to either make him stop or change. Either as has been outlined he was confined to a asylum or moved away and as able to seemingly act to a point normal due to the fact that Kelly’s mutilations were so bad something was worked out of his system for a very brief period. Whoever it was I believe Jack was caught by the police but not for his crimes as the Ripper, for another crime or murder he committed and was either sentenced to death or confined for the rest of his life.

The Jack the Ripper and Whitechapel Murders not only committed mayhem and mystery in the 1880s but even so today. New books and articles are being published all the time with new theory and evidence, some looking at the sourcebooks. No other crime has attracted so many amateur criminologists…’ (Farson.1972.P.15).

We will never know the real identity of Jack the Ripper and the fact that he was not identified and arrested for his crimes is not a fail of the police back then as times and policing were different then we have now. Society was different. One thing we can be certain of is that the Jack the Ripper Murders was a microcosm of all that was wrong in London in the 1880s. This highlighted to the rest of the country how dreadful living conditions were and how bad things had been allowed to get. If they had not been so bad then the women would not had been forced to sell themselves as they did, the area would not been as dark and dismal and makes it easy for one to get away undetected and crime to continue without being noticed.

The press and newspapers were changing as was the rest of the country. These killings assisted with their circulation and helped make some papers survive when otherwise they may not have. Jack killed in horrific ways and that made the papers sell. Then they in turn turned the person who became known as Jack the Ripper into a phantom, a shadow, a legend that would live forever more.



Ackroyd, P. (2001) London: the Biography. Vintage. London.

Beadle, W. (1995) Jack the Ripper: Anatomy of a Myth. Wat Tyler Books. Dagenham.

Beadle, W. (2009) Jack the Ripper: Unmasked. John Blake. London.

Begg, P. (2004) Jack the Ripper: the Facts. Robson Books. London.

Clack, R. and Hutchinson, P. (2007) The London of Jack the Ripper: then and now. Breedon Books Publishers. Wiltshire.

Clack, R. and Hutchinson, P. (2009) The London of Jack the Ripper: then and now (Revised Edition). Breedon Books Publishers. Wiltshire.

Connell, N. (2006) Walter Dew; the Man who caught Crippen. Sutton Publishing. Gloucestershire.

Cook, A. (2006) Prince Eddy Tempus. Gloucestershire.

Cornwell. P. (2003)  Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper case Closed. Time Warner Books. London.

Douglas, J and Olshaker, M. (2001) The Cases that Haunt us. Pocket Star books. New York.

Evans, S and Gainey, P. (1995) The Lodger: the Arrest and escape of Jack the Ripper. Century. London.

Evans, S. P and Rumbelow, D. (2006) Jack the Ripper: Scotland Yard Investigates. Sutton Publishers. Gloucestershire.

Evans, S. and Skinner, K. (2001) The Ultimate Jack the Ripper Sourcebook. Robison. London.

Evans, S and Skinner, K. (2001) Jack the Ripper: Letters from Hell. Sutton Publishing. Gloucestershire.

Farson, D. (1972) Jack the Ripper. Sphere Book limited. London.

Fido, M. (1987) The Crimes, detections and death of Jack the Ripper. Weidenfeld and Nicolson. London.

Graham, A. and Emmas, C (1999) The Last Victim: the extraordinary life of Florence Maybrick, the wife of Jack the Ripper. Headline. Surrey.

Jakubowski, M. and Braund, n. (Ed) (1999) The Mammoth book of Jack the Ripper. Robinson. London.

Jones, R. (2000) Jack the Ripper: Casebook. Andre Deutch Publishers. London.

Knight, S. (2005) Jack the Ripper: The final Soloution. Harper Collins Publishers.

London, J. (1903) The people of the Abyss. (Centenary Edition) Pluto Press. London.

Lynch, T. (2008) Jack the Ripper: The Whitechapel Murderer Wordsworth Editions. London.

Rule, F. (2008) The worst street in London. Ian Allan Publishing. Surrey.

Sugden, P. (1995) The Complete History of Jack the Ripper. Robinson. London.

Tully, J. (1997) The Real Jack the Ripper: The Secret of prisoner 1167. Magpie Books. London

Whitehead, M. and Rivett, M. (2006) Jack the Ripper. Pocket Essentials. Spain.

Werner, A (2008) Jack the Ripper and the East End. Chatto and Windus in association with the Museum in Docklands nad Museum of London. London.


Bell, N and Clack, R. (2012) Writing on the Wall Ripperologist Magazine. Issue 127

Multi media:

Jack the Ripper: Killer Revealed (2005) Electric Theatre Productions.

Revealed: Jack the Ripper; Tabloid Killer. (2009) Dir. Nicki Stocker. Lion Television Production with Crime and Investigation Network.

Viv Reeves investigates…. Jack the Ripper (2007) Dir. Lucie Donahue. Ruggie Media for Sky Television.

Internet Articles:

Abrams, Lynn Ideals of Womanhood in Victorian Britain Published: 2001-08-09 accessed 27/11/11

Daniel, P The streets of whitechapel accessed 22/01/12

Jones, R (Ed) Thomas Cutbush Files. Accessed 10/10/2012.

Marcus, F. Joseph Barnett: Lover, Killer, or both? Published 21/04/2009. Accessed 10/10/2012

Rossmo, D. K. Jack the Ripper published 2000 Accessed 22/01/2012

Ryder, S. (Ed). Albert Bachert Accessed 20/05/2010

Ryder, S (Ed) William Bury Accessed 10/10/2012.


Murder Most Horrid – Part 5 – the Usual Suspects

At the time and through the years there have been many people put forward as being Jack the Ripper. Some of these theories as completely unbelievable and others could quite possible be him. One thing for sure is that unfortunately we will probably never know the true identity. It may be someone – a nobody – who has not even come up in anyone’s studies. Most likely it was someone who the police spoke to at some point during their investigations, as usually most serial killers are.

Suspects range from the top to the bottom of the social scale, from Aaron Kominski – an insane polish Jew, John Druitt – a barrister who committed suicide, Dr Tumblety – an American quack doctor who collected uteruses, Walter Sickert – an artist, William Gull – the Queens Surgeon and even Prince Albert Edward. All of these suspects and more have had books focusing on their lives and putting forward their case as Jack the Ripper. Everyone it seems around Whitechapel at the time is or has been under suspicion. And along with each new suspect come new headlines back then, and today not so much as front page but still a mention in the papers.

Macnaghten Memoranda and a Jewish suspect:

Melville Macnaghten

There were three suspects mentioned by Melville Macnaghten in his memoranda which some people believe could be Jack the Ripper. In his memoranda published in 1894; it was written to a response to an article in the Sun which hinted that Jack the Ripper was a man named Cutbush (who is discussed later in this chapter). Macnaghten makes a statement that there were only five victims of Jack the Ripper – Nichols, Chapman, Stride, Eddowes and Kelly – and that is why most people now state these as the five Canonical victims. But since and with further research this is probably not the case. It is also through his memorandum that a lot of research on Jack the Ripper and the Whitechapel murders is based. Macnaghten goes on to say that the Killer stopped as a result of either committing suicide or that his brain gave way and the killer was therefore institutionalized. Also Macnaghten outlined three suspects who have since been named these are; Montague Druitt (a doctor who committed suicide and his body was found in the Thames on 31st December. It is said that we was sexually insane), Kominski (a polish Jew, who was insane, hated women and was eventually put into a mental asylum on ,arch 1889) and his last possible suspect was a man name Michael Ostrog (a Russian Doctor and convict who again was held in a lunatic asylum). Two of these suspects, after further investigation are plausible. As for Druitt I do not think he fits the profile at all the only link being that he died shortly after the murder of Mary Kelly.

Aaron Kominski was a polish Jew which already fits to the description of many of the witness statements of the men being seen with the victims before death was of foreign appearance, i.e. a Jew. It is supposed that Kominski was recognized and even identified by a witness, however as this witness was a Jew himself he did not want to testify and therefore be responsible for condemning a fellow Jew to death and so eventually Kominski, who had gone mad was confined to a mental asylum till he died. Kominski is said to have had homicidal tendencies and a huge hatred of women but in recent years it seems to have come to light that he was not really any real danger to anyone other than himself. He picked food from the gutter and refused a lot of help from others.

However what of this Jewish Suspect which keeps coming up, first in Leather Apron then in the Macnaghten memoranda. It seems that there is too much coincidence for the killer not to have been a homicidal man of Jewish religion. The name Kominski some believe has actually been misinterpreted and is meant to be a man called Kaminski or also known as David Cohen. He was first suggested by Ripperologist Martin Fido.

The name of David Cohen seems, apparently, to be like a John Doe or Joe Bloggs for East End Jews who are unidentifiable. It seems that a man was brought in to an infirmary after being incoherent and violet at Leman street police station. This was the name he was given. Eventually the patient was transferred to Coney Hatch after his violence got even worse. It seems he suffered what we would call today as Paranoid Schizophrenia. Fido identified and linked up Cohen with a Polish Jew Kaminski who lived in Black Lion Yard which was located in the middle of the murders in Whitechapel. He had been diagnosed with syphilis in 1888 and would have caught this from a prostitute at some point in his life.  The records indicate that he was treated for this and eventually released and disappears from the records. Also the only lunatic in the records to be taken into Coney Hatch in the years 1888-90 was Cohen and therefore Macnaghten may have got the accusation right with who it was just the wrong spelling of the name. If Fido is right in his theory that Cohen and this Kaminski were one and the same then here is a suspect who fits the profile to a point, however due to so much evidence lacking about his life and even if they were the same this theory unfortunately will always be just that but nevertheless and intriguing one. The little evidence there is seems to point to Jack the Ripper being Jewish in some respects.

The Royalist Conspiracy Theory:

Prince Albert Victor

Another theory which is put forward, which is probably one of the most outrageous ones is that Jack the Ripper was actually Prince Albert Victor, Queen Victoria’s grandson. The theory involves several different suspects all linked to one massive conspiracy theory, one portrayed in the Graphic Novel and also film of the same title, From Hell. The story goes that Eddy’s mother hired a Walter Sickert to how him the sunnier side of life. It resulted in Eddy marrying an Annie Crook who was a catholic and she bore him a son. This baby was sent to an orphanage and the women who knew of the marriage and baby were then murdered. In some versions such as the graphic novel it had William Gull the Queens surgeon murdering the prostitutes who knew about the marriage and child. Over versions have Eddy being the one committing the crimes on the prostitutes as he had contracted syphilis which had driven him insane and sent him on this killing spree. In some versions it also has the royal family knowing of what he was doing and after the supposed double event had Eddy locked up only for him to escape again and butcher Mary Kelly. Once recaptured he was locked away to die with the official report saying it was from the Flu. However William Gull had suffered a stroke before the murders started and so could not had gone about committing them and as for Eddy ‘the fact that on each and every occasion a Ripper murder rook place Eddy was not only out of London, but was attending functions in front of large numbers of people…’(Cook.2006.P.9)

Walter Sickert

Another person and suspect I wish to touch upon briefly is Walter Sickert. I d not believe that he is a credible suspect however he does come into the Jack the Ripper story as a suspect in a few different theories the main one being the Royalist theory which I briefly touched upon above. Walter Sickert’s role in the killings has varied from theory to theory and Patricia Cornwell has even put a case together for him to be the Ripper himself in her book Portrait of a Killer – Jack the Ripper case closed (2003). But what is his story and does he fit the profile of what we know to be Jack the Ripper and also does he fit into the little evidence we have on the killings. Firstly it is supposed that Walter was impotent due to childhood operations on his penis. This impotency was enough to give him a hatred of women and supposedly got so bad that it lead to him committing the murders. Not the strongest motive we have. However since this motive has been put forward some have argued that Sickert was not impotent at all but infect had many mistresses whom his wife divorced him for on the charge of adultery. As for Sickert being in the area at the times of the murders this again is not very forthcoming with proof of him committing the crimes as when some of the murders were committed there are letters placing Sickert in France. The rest of the supposed evidence for Sickert even is even less proof just ifs and supposed.

Sickert however does have another role in the killings, not committing them but in knowing who did. It was Stephen Knight in his book the Final Solution who first includes Sickert as not the killer but an accomplice. Sickert apparently was assisting and looking after Prince Eddy while he was slumming it in Whitechapel. It was here that as previously outlined Eddy married a Catholic girl and then it was quickly decided that the whole story needed to be hushed up. It is stated that Sickert knew all along what was going on but could not say anything and so painted supposed clues in his paintings. This theory is eventually known as the royalist theory which involves many people in the Jack the Ripper case as is outlined in Stephen Knights book Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution (1976).

William Bury:

A sketch of William Henry Bury 1889

William Bury had murdered his wife after they had moved to Dundee in 1889. At first Bury stated that his wife had killed herself then when it was clear she had actually been strangled he admitted to killing her and was hung for his crime. What was interesting about Bury and what is one of the reasons why he is a Ripper suspect is that when the police went to his home in Dundee they found two writings on the walls there: ‘Jack the Ripper is at the back of this door’ and ‘Jack the Ripper is in this cellar. ‘Not only had Bury’s wife been strangled from behind but she also had numerous stab wounds to her abdomen, similar to those of the Jack the Ripper victims.

Bury was a man with low self-esteem, a drunk and a thief. His mother was Mother sent to a lunatic asylum and his father was torn apart in front of Bury. These are traits of people who can sometime become serial killers. Bury did for a time hold a steady job however he soon fell into financial difficulties and was sacked. He arrived in London in 1887 and met Ellen Elliot who is was to eventually marry. She was working in the house where Bury was living at the time, she was a servant but also most likely a prostitute as well. Bury’s landlady caught Bury attempting to attack his wife five days after they married. He was threatening to cut her throat. At first Bury started to tell people they were moving to Brisbane in Australia only to end up moving to Dundee, which Ellen did not want to go. Bury lived and worked in the area of Whitechapel and up until a few weeks after the last murder he owned a horse and cart. This horse and cart is a good mode of transport especially for someone to get around white chapel quickly. ‘An ideal place to park a pony and cart in Whitechapel was George Yard, which in 1888 was a stable. George Yard was on the doorstep of Martha Tabram’s murder, and is central to those of Annie Chapman, Liz Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Kelly. It is such an obvious location that only the lack of a viable suspect to place there has prevented it from being noticed before.’ (J and Braund. 1999. Page 124).

In their book, authors and Ripperologists’ Jakubowski and Braund give a good case towards Bury being Jack the Ripper through the way Bury lived and what we can tell of his personality.

. ‘…had given up a respectable trade to live among the most dubious kind of people. In his choice of work and accommodation – and in particular the women he had chosen – Bury was reflecting his own self-image and the limitations imposed by it….He hated women and was unable to socialize with them but in Ellen he met somebody whose self-esteem was as low as his and whom he could court successfully. The self-esteem manifested itself in his violent attitude towards sex and his drunken despair. This was Jack the Rippers self-image.’(Jakubowski and Braund.1999.P.120)

Bury would had been known in the area and therefore known to the prostitutes, they would not had been worried if and when he approached them. Bury also, it seems fits the general description of Jack the Ripper, especially by the descriptions given by PC Smith and William Marshall in Burner Street on the day Stride murdered. He was 29 at the time of the murders .By the time of his trial in Dundee, Bury had grown a beard and facial whiskers, was this due to him being seen by people on the night of the Stride Murder? Was it to try and disguise himself? As too was this the reason why he and his wife moved to Dundee, away from all they knew. Was Bury running away from what he had done, was this why the Whitechapel Murders of Jack the Ripper stopped? After all, as stated in the previous chapter, a serial Killer only ‘stops’ for a limited amount of reasons, one being is he doesn’t, but moves to a different area, away from the killings.

Another factor which is not possible to prove in some of the Ripper Murders is the chance and some belief that the murdered may had robbed his victims. Not of anything of much value as if these women did have such things on them they would have sold them for money for drink and a place to sleep. But the killer it seems stole small trophies to remember his kills, which some serial killers have been known to do. An example of this is Annie Chapman had two small rings marks on her person when she was killed, of course these rings could have been taken by some of the staff in the morgue or by others post death but there is also the chance that they were taken by the killer as a memento. Occupants of where Annie was staying in Dorset street did confirm ‘that she has been wearing three brass rings when she left, and they agreed that in a poor light they might have been mistaken for gold. Their marks were still plainly visible on her hands. The police were very anxious to discover what had happened to them, for if Annie had not herself tried to sell them during the night, they had probably been stolen by her murderer and would provide damming evidence against him when he was found.’(Fido.1987.P.32) Bury had two rings in his belongings when they were searched which are similar to those supposedly owned by Chapman. Tabram also had a ring indentation on her finger when she was found, is this also another indication that the killer took trophies away, other than the organsb‘The ripper was a thief who ransacked his victim’s bodies. Bury was a thief and obsessed by money. Stealing and compulsive lying are hallmarks of the pathological killer. (Jakubowski and Braund.1999.P.130)

Abberline is believed to have said to the hangman on Bury death that he had just hung the Ripper. In 1889 The New York Times suggested he was the Ripper, due to similarities between the stab wounds he inflicted upon his late wife, Ellen, and those found on the body of Mary Ann Nichols. Bury was also in the habit of sleeping with a penknife under his pillow. He had transportation to get around Whitechapel.

Thomas Cutbush:

Another suspect who is worth a note is a man named Thomas Cutbush. His father had died when he was quite young and was raised by his mother and aunt, in Kensington where he continued to live while the murders were happening. He was also the nephew of a senior police officer, who after hearing that in 1891 Cutbush had been arrested and was appearing in court for stabbing two women had shot himself. Could it be possible that there was more to it than that? Did his uncle know more about Cutbush than others?

As a Jack the Ripper suspect, Cutbush was first put forward in an article in the Sun in February 1894 and although hinted at they never actually named him.

Cutbush suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and was a man who was obsessed with medical and religious books. He was working as a soon left his job and just wandered reading books by day and wandering the streets at night. He had also, when young attempted to murder his mother, aunt and a servant girl by trying to slit their throats.

When searching his rooms after the stabbing of the two women police found bloodstained garments and he was confined to a life in Broadmoor. This would usually happen if the convict was considered highly dangerous. Again did the police know more about Cutbush than they were letting on? Soon after the murder of a woman named Frances Cole, Bury had been investigated for the stabbing of the two women the Ripper files were shut down by Scotland Yard and the number of police in Whitechapel was reduced. Was this because they had finally caught their man?

Cutbush hated women, he was mentally insane and had at some point supposedly contracted syphilis (although no record was made of this in the documents held at the asylum), and he had a broken upbringing and a violent past towards women and was obsessed with medical books. He seems to fit into the suspect profile pretty well. And as a last point he ‘was the only suspect named at the actual time of the killings…’(Jakubowski and Braund.1999.P.413) Although Cutbush lived away from the area of Whitechapel it did not mean that he did not know it, Whitechapel as we have seen was full of alleys and passage ways for one to wander down. What if the Ripper did not know the area that greatly and that that was the reason why there were no killings in October, this was when a fog descended on London and it would have been difficult for one to navigate around. ‘Whitechapel became an eerie derelict, drifting thought mists of terror. Few ventured out after dark…’ (Beadle.1995.P.60)

However there is a case against Cutbush, which Macnaghten mentions, why would some kill women and then just stop for two years only to start again, and this time the attempted killings were different.

Joseph Barnett, Mary Kelly’s lover:

One suspicious man who was involved directly with one of the victims and therefore in the investigation was Joseph Barnett, the lover of Mary Kelly. I say suspicious as he is another who is considered by some to be a suspect in the murders and there is a reasonable case for him with motive.

A contempory sketch of Barnett

Barnett was born and raised in Whitechapel, firstly by his parents then by his older siblings as when his father died, Barnett mother just disappeared. It is believed that Barnett suffered from a speech impediment and a psychological disorder known as echolalia. This disorder causes a person to repeat the last words spoken to them. He eventually got a job as a fish porter and made a steady living working at Billingsgate Market.

Barnett met and began living with Mary Kelly around 1887. It is believed that they originally met through his being her client and then got on well after that that they decided to live together. As Barnett was working he was able to support Mary and so therefore she was able to stop selling herself on the street. Barnett, however in July 1888 lost his license to work as a fish porter and so therefore was no longer able to support Mary as he wished. This in turn made her have to go back onto the streets to make money, and as that viscous cycle goes with the low women of Whitechapel she went back to drinking too. It is believed that it was a result of this turn of events that made Barnett and Mary begin to quarrel, which eventually led to Mary asking Barnett to move out of there lodgings at Millers Court. Part of the reason that they argued was Barnett disliking the fact that Mary had to sell herself on the street. However he still went to see her often and tried to support her in any way he could.

 It is believed that this whole change in circumstance gave Barnett a huge dislike towards prostitutes and losing his job and therefore Mary could have been the change in circumstance. The stressful factor that caused him to lash out at prostitutes on the street. One theory is that driven by his love for Kelly he hoped to scare her off from soliciting herself by killing those prostitutes he came into contact with, and as he had worked, lived and grew up in Whitechapel and mainly around Dorset Street was seen to be a trusted face and known to many. Barnett worked in a profession where he was able to explain the blood on his clothes and gave him a basic knowledge of bodies even though on fish.

Barnett had hoped that a few murders of prostitutes would have stopped Mary from soliciting herself however it did not. This could have caused his anger to rise even more and lash out at the one which he loved the most, Mary. This could explain why hers was the most horrific of all mutilations. There is also the suggestion that Kelly’s heart was taken, this all indicates, along with the fact that she was beyond recognizable, that her killer knew Mary intimately.

Barnett murdered those women not because he had an uncontrollable urge to take someone’s life or because he took pleasure in causing other people pain. He had a specific reason for killing those women, which centered on his relationship with Mary Jane Kelly. The method of murder indicates that Jack the Ripper was not the typical serial killer. He had no compulsion to torture his victims and there was no evidence of rape. The fact that they were cut open and left in the middle of public places suggests that the killer was trying to send a message, not fulfil some deranged desire to kill. The methodical mutilation of the bodies and positioning of the corpses also seem to send a message. The removal of the uteri is analogous with Barnett’s ideas and behaviour. His hatred of prostitutes compelled him to take away the very thing that made them women. He wanted everyone, especially Mary Kelly, to realize that the unfortunates were just common whores, who were unfit for society. Barnett did not want to cause people pain; he only wanted to stop his true love from selling herself to other men. (Marcus, F. Online. 2009)

James Kelly:

The last suspect I wish to highlight is a man named James Kelly. This man had had an unstable and strict religious upbringing. He had been raised by his grandmother, who James, until he was 14 thought that she was his mother. His mother had had him out of marriage and left him. This had a massive effect on James life and he never really settled and had a problem with his rage, where only the smallest of incidents sent him into one.

James lived and worked around Whitechapel as an upholster and knew the area very well. He however kept bad company, like many did. In March of 1882, James moved in and became a lodger in the house of his ‘girlfriend’ at the time Sarah Brider and her family. The two eventually married but it was not to be a happy ending. After numerous episodes of rage towards his wife, which were underserved James finally snapped and stabbed Sarah in the neck on the 21st June 1883. These wounds were very similar to those inflicted later on Martha Tabram. Both had stab wounds in the neck, apparently made by the pocket knife, or penknife. In Martha’s case, however, the killer had time to continue his frenzied attack.’ (Tully.1997.P.316) Sarah eventually died of the injuries inflicted upon her and James’ charge goes from attempted murder to murder. James original sentence was death however this was soon changed to imprisonment at Broadmoor, where in January 1888 he managed to escape and stayed at large for another 39 years.

So James fits the profile of having a very unstable upbringing. He seems to have hatred to towards the opposite sex and had issues with his tempter which resulted in violence. James also, supposedly, at some point had contacted Venereal Disease, possibly by sleeping with a prostitute in the area. He never sought treatment for it and actually tried his own remedies. However he does not fit the description of those we have believed to be Jack the Ripper nor is there any solid evidence of him being the area at the time of the murders. Also is he was at liberty until 1927 (after being caught twice and escaping) why was there no other murders similar to those they he was supposedly to have done?

And More:

There are many more suspects who could be Jack the Ripper which I will not go into detail about, but which there are many books and online articles on each of the other suspects. Some of these are people attempting to prove who Jack is; others are trying to prove who it is not. Along with Druitt and Prince Eddy, other suspects include Sir William Gull, Queen Victoria’s Surgeon, George Hutchinson, James Maybrick, a theory that it was a female – Jill the Ripper and many more. Some having circumstantial evidence towards them others just too farfetched. Of Course Jack the Ripper could be none of these and just an unknown face in Whitechapel who there are no real records for.

Murder Most Horrid – Part 4 – A Killers Mind

The term Serial Killer was not used until the 1970s and was first coined by a FBI agent Robert Ressler. A Serial Killer is loosely defined as someone who had murdered at least three victims at different locations over a certain period of time with a ‘cooling off’ period in between the murders. Jack the Ripper is often quoted as being the first Serial Killer, of course he was not literally the first person to kill numerous times but he is the first to get such news and attention. But what actually makes a serial killer? What makes these people different from so many other killers and criminals? What causes them to commit such crimes?

The serial killer will usually function like all other human beings but the brain focuses on one thing, on the killing of their target. The Murder they commit becomes an addictive drug to them. Their ability and idea to rationalize and feel remorse for what they have done is gone. They are in effect brain dead – the human does not exist.

There are two classifications of a serial killer the organized and disorganized. The organized offender will usually interact with society and have no regard or interest in any other than their self. They understand what they have done and actually get satisfaction and empowerment from their killings. The crimes are planned and usually committed away from the offender’s home and work. The disorganized offender is usually a loner and feels rejected from society. They are usually not sophisticated enough to plan and organize their crimes and the earlier crimes are usually close to their home and workplace. Rape does not usually occur, however, mutilations are usually done from fear and sexual curiosity of the body.[1]

Of course one does not simply jump right into being a serial killer and committing such crimes and mutilations such as that committed on Mary Ann Nichols. ‘There will be a pattern of behaviours leading up to the violence, usually starting with voyeuristic activities or the theft of women’s clothing which serve as a substitute for his inability to deal with women in a mature and confident manner.’(Douglas.2001.P.29) They will usually fantasies for years until one day their fantasies are then translated into deeds. Usually there is some kind of trigger to bring their fantasies to life. Robert Ressler  believed that there is usually some king of stress which sets the killer off, like loss of a job, breakdown of a relationship etc.[2] Men are usually outward aggressive than women and will usually tend to become serial rapists or killers.

Most serial killers and offenders will usually have a motive (MO) and most will usually leave a signature of their crimes, something to make then stand out, something they always have to do. The motive for a serial killer is related to the techniques used by the offender to commit the crime and the signature is the elements used, which are not essential for the crime to take place but are done to satisfy the offender’s emotional needs.[3]They have a compulsion to leave their own personal stamp…an imprint the killer is psychologically compelled to leave to satisfy him sexually’ (Keppel. 1998. P.5) The need for mutilation in some serial killers is the need for them to reflect their own self-image onto his victim. ‘…the acts if mutilation and overkill… [gives the killer]…a sense of control and domination over his degraded victim. They are the framework of his pathological imprint – something he must act out, something that drives him to kill time and time again.’ (Keppel.1998.P.xix). Many believe that the need for facial mutilation is a result of the killer knowing his victim and it is an attempt to de-humanize them.

More often serial predators stop for one of three reasons: they are caught for their murders, or caught for something else such as a break in/robbery but not linked to their predatory crimes; or they die, while completing a crime, by the hand of an associate or other offender, by suicide or by some other ‘natural cause’. Or they don’t really stop; they merely get scared out of a particular location and move onto another where their previous crimes are not linked. [4]

So let’s look a little closer at Jack the Ripper as a serial Killer. In this case I am stating that Martha Tabram was a victim of Jack and that the night of the double event was in actual fact two murders, Elizabeth’s Strides murder being committed by someone other than our serial killer known as Jack the Ripper. In this case the killer’s murders got progressively more violent and frenzied. It started with just the stabbing of Martha, to slashing and removing organs and finally the murder of Mary Kelly who was butchered beyond recognition. Martha Tabram seems to have been the catalyst, when violent fantasy turned into reality to the murders four months later’ (Beadle.1995.P.11)

Many of the attacks were quick and frenzied. Death was quick before the women had a chance to defend themselves; this is an indication that the killer may have lacked self-confidence to dominate the women verbally. He possible had just enough to get them away from the main areas. This was a time when prostitutes would approach men in the street and in some cases take them to a secluded place where business could be carried out without interruption. If Mary Kelly wasn’t a victim picked intentionally, then had the killer hit a stroke of luck with her having her own accommodation? Would the attack have been so severe and horrific if the killer had been outside like he was with his other victims?

Through the modus operandi evolves with the serial predator, the signature, or ritual aspect, remains in place, often becoming more elaborate over time as was the case with the final victim. Here, the subject had the time and the privacy to fully act out his fantasies. If there were to be further murders, then particularly if they were outdoors we would not expect the subject to engage in such elaborate mutilation; he would not have the time’ (Douglas and Olshaker.2001.P.66-7)

No attempt was made by the killer to hide the bodies this seems to point to our killer being disorganized. That the murders seemed to have not been pre meditated and that the killer struck whenever he could.

Most of Jack the Rippers victims seem to have a sign of strangulation occurring before their throats being slit and the mutilations being done. This is the reason why there was not much blood from the bodies, as death had already occurred. This could have been something the killer realized after the first attack on Martha where just stabbing occurred. The progression of the deaths seems to indicate a development in his method of killing. The fact that organs and body parts were taken away seems to symbolize that the killer wanted possession over his victims even in death. Also the fact that some of these organs were some of their sexual parts is an indication that the killer could possibly have had a fear of women. By removing their sexual organs he is taking away their sexual power. ‘His choice of victim, together with the nature of the mutilations, suggest the Ripper had been raised by a domineering female who is likely to have subjected him to repeated physical abuse’; (Roland.2007.P.115) but then on the other hand the loss of organs could purely have been just fascination by the killer. He may not have actually known what organs he was removing.

There has been a lot of speculation as to why the victims were prostitutes, were they the target? Was it just because they were women or simply the fact that they were easily accessible?  Another theory into why Jack the Ripper attacked prostitutes is because he could have suffered from a venereal disease and was therefore seeking out prostitutes to seek vengeance on those who had infected him, even if it was not the actual women herself. Others believe that Jack was raised by a domineering mother who abused and punished him and therefore he was seeking out women his mother’s age or just the female sex to again exact vengeance. But then again it could also be, as previously states that the women were just there and made easy targets for Jack in the society that both he and they lived in.

The murders were all within a mile of each other, and the total hunting area was just over half a square mile in size. In 1998 a geographic profile was produced for the Jack the Ripper case based on body dump sites. The peak area of the geoprofile focused on the locale around Flower and Dean Street and Thrawl Street. (Rossomo. Online. Accessed 22/01/12). All of the supposed victims of Jack the Ripper seemed to have at one point or other lived near each other, around the area of Thrawl Street, Flower and Dean Street and Dorset Street. The following Victims lived as follows:

Mary Ann Nichols used to reside at 18 Thrawl Street; just before her death she was evicted and moved into the White House at 56 Flower and Dean Street, a doss house that slept both men and women.

Annie Chapman’s primary residence was Crossingham’s Common Lodging House at 35 Dorset Street.

Elizabeth Stride occasionally lived in a common lodging house at No. 32 Flower and Dean Street, and reportedly was there the night of her murder.

Catherine Eddowes usually stayed in Cooney’s Lodging House at No. 55 Flower and Dean Street, and had slept there two nights before her murder.

It can definatley be said that whoever Jack the Ripper was that he had some strong ties to the area, whether he grew up there, lived there or worked there, he seemed to know it well enough. As our victims did.

The following is a basic profile of the Killer who is now known as Jack the Ripper:

Male. White (would stand out otherwise) late 20s early 30s (nothing can be certain with this however), look ordinary in dress, most likely have a domineering mother, weak/absent father, asocial preferring to be alone. Most likely worked alone and prefer something like a butcher; where he could peruse his destructive fantasies. Paranoid, would carry knives on him in case of attack. Most relationships would have had been with prostitutes, with slight chance of him having been infected with venereal diseases. No marriage/relationship, if it was will been brief and woman older. Probably been interviewed more than once by police.[5]

[1]Douglas. 2001.P.27-28


[3]Douglas. 2001. P. 43

[4]Douglas. 2001. P. 64

[5] Douglas, J. (2001) The Cases that haunt us. P.67 – 70

Murder Most Horrid – Part Three – From Hell

So who was Jack the Ripper? Where did this name come from and what evidence is there to point to the perpetrator of these killings and why were the police not able to catch him?

Whitechapel’s Autumn of Terror as it was called in 1888 was the killing of at least 5 women, most of them being Prostitutes; the official file was opened after the murder of Emma Smith and was officially closed after the horrific death of Mary Kelly. I have previously mentioned the Police force at the time of the killings was not that old and they had limited resources. It has also been explained that Whitechapel was a tough area for any policeman in general let alone one trying to hunt a killer. Not many people trusted the police and another issue was the press at the time of the killings being more hindrance than help to London’s two police forces. Journalists were making their own inquires, vigilante committees were hunting down supposed suspicious looking men and on one occasion the police had to intervene and rescue one man and place him into custody from a mob who was about to hang him, convinced that he was Jack the Ripper.

There was a lot of evidence for the police to sift through, most of it being hoax letters which were more misleading than of use. The team involved in the investigation of the killings were Sir Charles Warren, the Commissioner; James Monroe, who was head of CID; and Dr Robert Anderson who was to replace Monroe when he resigned in the summer of 1888 (Evans and Rumbelow.2006.P.viii).Under Dr Andersons command Chief Inspector Swanson placed together his Ripper Murder Squad which was in place by Chapman’s murder. It Consisted of Abberline, who reported directly to DCI Henry Monroe. He was aided by Detective Inspector John McCarthy. Under them they were backed by Detectives: Reid and an Inspector called Nairn, and three sergeants: Pierce, Thick and Godley. Their job was something which no police officer in Britain and even the world had ever had to come to grips with before.

During the investigation Inspector Swanson had no other cases or tasks to deal with. He set up a Command and control system – all information flowing through one person who is not on field duty, this method is considered by some the best way of running a serial killer investigation. Through the evidence and eye witness statements given to the police during the investigation about 80 sailors were detained, 300 people investigated, 76 butchers and slaughters visited and their characters looked into, even some ‘cowboys’ who worked at the local American exhibition were looked at. It was tough and the police force nearly broke under the strain.

The main evidence that the police had to go on was of course eye witness accounts from the various witnesses at the inquest who saw the murdered women on the nights before they were killed. The descriptions can be seen in the chart below:

Victim Witness Age Height Clothes Hair Other
Ada Wilson   30 5.6 Dark coat. Light trousers. Wide-awake hat. Fair moustache Sunburn face.
Annie Chapman Mrs. Long 40ish Just over 5ft Shabby genteel Deerstalker hat. Dark coat.   Dark complexion. Foreign looking.
Stride.   Young. 5.5 Morning suit. Billycock hat. Black moustache. Sandy eyebrows.  
  William Marshall.   5.6 Neat. Small black cut away suite. Dark trousers. Peaked sailor type house.    
  Matthew tacker. 25-30 5.7 Long black French coat. Soft felt ‘hunter’ hat.   Broad shouldered.
  PC William Smith. 28 5.7 Repeatable dressed. Dark cutaway jacket. Dark trousers. Felt seer stalker hat.    
  James Brown.   5.7 Long coat.   Stout.
  Liskin 30 5.5 Dark jacket. Black cap peak Dark hair. Small moustache. Fair complexion .Full face. Broad shoulders.
Eddowes. Joseph Lawande 30 5.7 Loose fitting salt and pepper colored jacket. Grey peaked cap. Red neckerchief. Fair moustache. Medium build. Fair complexion

As you can see these descriptions vary and ‘experiences of criminal cases shows that eyewitness descriptions of the same man consistently alter from Person to person, in many instances bearing little or no resemblances to the culprit when apprehended.’(Beadle.2009.P.151). So it was tough for the police to whittle this down to one particular man, for numerous reasons, one being that the man described by the witnesses may not have been the murderer and also how accurate were the descriptions.

Another trait that kept coming up in the many descriptions from the witnesses was that the suspect was supposedly Jewish looking which the Police changed the description of a Jewish suspect to a foreign looking suspect and also toned down the press releases as well as ordering all police not to talk to the press. This was to prevent more anti Semitism and more violence. It has already been mentioned that there was a lot of anti-Semitism in Whitechapel at the time and the ‘Leather Apron’ hype and the graffiti made this even worse. The police and press began to look for a foreign suspect, non-British, possible a Jew even as the perpetrator of these crimes as it was unthinkable that a British person could have committed such horrific crimes. The police for a time set their minds on a polish Jew, so most other suspects did not even enter the radar; this was one of the major failures of the whole investigation into the Whitechapel murders.

The Police had a massive role to play in the development of the Autumn of Terror and its aftermath, however another institution which became just as massive was the Media; the Newspapers. It was through the newspapers that the Whitechapel murderer was given the name of Jack the Ripper. It was through their stories that mass hysteria was spread not only through Whitechapel but also through England as well. At the time of the supposed Leather Apron, whom the press stated was a Jewish skipper, 40, black hair was demanding money from prostitutes, later people believe this was to be a John Pizer who had also been heard threatening to rip people up with his knife. This story was only kept alive through the Newspapers who  constantly threw up new suspects…rumours and counter rumours…kept the murders on the front pages and the public interest stimulated.’(Evans and Rumbelow.2006.P.82-3).

Newspapers such as the Daily Star which began in 1888, needed sales. It was cheap and racy and was aimed at the lower white chapel residents. Its head was a man name Thomas P. O’Connor. They constantly printed any link or story supposedly linked to the killings not really having any care on how accurate it was or who they endangered. Some of the journalists, like Frederick Best were sent to the scene of the crimes to investigate and question people but rarely passing this knowledge onto the police. It was one of the biggest stories in Newspaper history and the newspapers sold on an unprecedented sale. The newspapers needed these stories to boost their circulation and in return they ended up keeping up the legend of the Whitechapel murderer. ‘Crowds waited outside the shops until fresh supplies had been brought in, while around those who were successful in obtaining copies gathered yet other crowds, who read with many a muttered exclamation of indignation, the revolting details of the murder.’[1]However by late September the sales of the newspapers began to dwindle and decrease from what they were. Then something was received in the post, a letter which was about to land the Whitechapel murder back onto the front page and the newspapers sales began to rocket again.

The letter was sent to the Central News Agency[2]and at the time was originally treated as a joke, and many now believe it was written by an educated man pretending to be illiterate. The Dear boss letter seems simple and aggressive in its writing style. If it was from the actual killer it would have had more passion in it.

This letter is referred to as the Dear Boss letter and is as follows:

Dear Boss
I keep on hearing the police have caught me but they won’t fix me just yet. I have laughed when they look so clever and talk about being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me real fits. I am down on whores and I shan’t quit ripping them till I do get buckled. Grand work the last job was. I gave the job to lady no time to squeal. how can they catch me now. I love my work and want to start again. You will soon hear of me with my funny little games. I saved some of the proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I can’t use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha ha. The next job I shall clip the ladys ears off and send them to the police officers just for jolly wouldn’t you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work, then give it out striaght. My knife’s so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance.
Good luck.
Your’s truly,
Jack the Ripper.
Don’t mind me giving the trade name
Wasn’t good enough to post this before I got all the red ink off my hands curse it. No luck yet. They say I’m a doctor now ha ha.

This was the first ever reference of the name Jack the Ripper and the name was stick forever more.

More letters were to follow, all claiming to be from Jack. A follow up to the ‘dear boss’ letter arrived on the 1st October, at the central news agency. Smeared with blood it hinted back at its previous letter which was held back, and about the victims and their murders. It is now referred to as the Saucy Jack letter. Both these two letters are believed to be from the same author. Many more letters were sent to the press and police over the next few weeks and months, probably all of these being hoaxes, some were even written by females, and those who were caught were prosecuted. For some it seems that the police wasted time searching for the authors of these letters, but it was a necessity for them to try and put a stop to these letters, as they were preventing the police focusing their energy where it was needed.

On the 16th October Mr. Lusk, the leader of the Whitechapel vigilante committee, received a small parcel at his home. It came with a letter which is believed to be the closest to being from the real killer. It also came with half human kidney. Some have said that this kidney could have been taken from anyone and there is no proof it came from Catherine Eddowes.

It read like this:

From hell

Mr. Lusk
I send you half the Kidne I took from one women prasarved

 it foryou tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise. I may

send you the bloody knif that took it out if you only wate a

whil longer

Catch me when you Can Mishter Lusk.

As previously stated many of these letters were of little note and were written by a wide range of people from all classes and areas. But what of the letters or note, the main one who gave us the infamous name of Jack the Ripper. If it was a hoax who thought of the name? Many Ripperologist now believe that the author of the Dear Boss Letter and therefore creator of the name Jack the Ripper was a journalist called Tom Bullen, who also happened to be working for the Daily Star. Evidence to back this up is that the letter was sent to the Central News Agency not just to one paper in general, this is an indication that the author knew what they were doing. By sending it to the Agency they knew they were getting the full coverage. This theory of the letter being authored by a journalist was also believed by some high ranking officers of the time. It was also mentioned by a journalist. R.T. Hopkin in his book Life and Death at the Old Bailey (1935) he refers to the letter and its author, a journalist who had a breakdown of sometime, which it seems Bullen did.

The theory of the author of the letter being a Journalist from the Star has also been put forward. In an article Crime and Detection  there is a mention a third hand account after talking to the 70 year old Best in his 60s explaining that it was to keep the business alive, to keep the killings on the front page, to keep their papers selling.

The newspapers however were not the only hindrance to the police investigations. It was also the vigilante committees which caused problems. One of the main ones was the Whitechapel Vigilante Committee, began around the time of Chapman’s murder on the 10th of September 1888 and was headed by George Lusk who was to later receive the kidney and the From Hell letter. Lusk was a 49 year, an old building contractor and free Mason. He was an active member of the committee and shared the opinion of others that a reward should have been offered for any information the perpetrator of the horrific crimes. The Metropolitan Police refused to offer any reward at the time.

Soon many more committees were set up by local people of the Whitechapel area. They began roaming the streets in the hope of catching the murderer, however most of the time they went after the wrong people, a lot of the time chasing and hounding men of the Jewish religion. As a result of this more police were drafted into the area to patrol to make sure no more violence was committed. It could be said that with so many people of the streets like the police and the vigilantes did this deter the killer for a while. Was this a reason why the last killing was committed inside as it was a lot safer?

So what is behind the name of Jack the Ripper? Why was it chosen, whether its author was the killer himself or a journalist the thought behind the name has allowed it to promote fear long after the case was over and the victims long buried.                                                                                                    

The name Jack was a very common name at the time of the killings and before, being a variety of the name John. It has links with many other stories and tales in history like Jack the giant killer, the rhyme Jack be nimble and also with the legend of Spring Heeled Jack. Spring heeled Jack was a Victorian supernatural being who attacked women in horrific ways. Fire breathing with long talons, supposedly attacking victims around 1838 and 1904 and also often appearing in the Penny Dreadful’s. The victim’s wounds were also sometimes referred to as being ripped, and also being ‘a ripper’ was London slang for being a bad person. Therefore the name of Jack the Ripper seems to fit the crimes, a far better name that the Whitechapel Killer or Leather Apron. The name in fact seems more infamous than the crimes themselves.

[1] East London Observer 15th September 1888.

[2] Set up in 1870 by William Saunders who was an MP, Philanthropist, social reformer and businessman. It was a media service which collated reports by telegram from correspondents through U.K and Abroad. (Evans and Skinner (2) 2001, page 14)

Murder Most Horrid – Part 2 – Murder! Murder!

At around 5am on 7th August 1888, John Reeves was leaving to go to work when he saw a body on the landing of his lodgings in George Yard buildings, upon seeing blood on the body he quickly left to find assistance from the police. It was found that the body, a woman, had been stabbed 39 times, with stab wounds to her lungs, heart, liver, spleen and stomach, breasts and genital area. The Doctor who had been called to examine the victim estimated that she had been dead for about 3-4 hours and that the wounds had been inflicted while the woman was still alive.

On the night of Monday 6th August a 39 year old Prostitute Martha Tabram (also known as Martha Turner or Emma Turner), who resided in 19 George Street, Whitechapel was out drinking with another Prostitute Mary Ann Connelly.  While out the pair became involved with two soldiers one being a private, the other a corporal. It was around 11:45pm when they separated, Martha and the Private leading off to George Yard, near Gunthorpe Street. This was the last time that Martha was seen alive.

Martha’s wounds it is believed were all inflicted by a penknife, however she did have one wound to her chest bone, this one being caused by a stronger blade like a dagger or a sword bayonet. On the night of her murder no noise was heard on the landing of the lodgings.

From the inquest which was held on the 9th of August it was found that at George Yard all lights went out at 11, it would have been pitch black and also that the landing of the building was commonly used by prostitutes and people sleeping rough. So it seems that Martha could have led her murderer or murderers to the place of her death.  Author Paul Roland believes that as there were two weapons used on Martha it would seem that she was killed by two people; two weapons. He also believes that it was the two soldiers that she was with earlier that night who killed her. However it does not make sense for Martha to have been with a client that long. It has already been established, by Doctor Killeen that her estimated time of death was around 2.30AM. It would make sense therefore that after seeing the private at around 11:45 she had more than enough time to go out and find another client (Beadle. 1995. Pg. 13), this client therefore could have been the killer. It was also found that Martha suffered from fits (sometimes known as Rum Fits), if she had suffered from one of these before her death then this could had been the reason for there being no noise/scream being heard.

It is worth a note however that a PC Barrett came across a soldier on his patrol at around 2am on the night of Martha’s murder, down Wentworth Street. PC Barrett asked the soldier what he was doing, to which he replied that he was waiting for a friend who had left with a woman.  Did therefore Mary Connelly get her times wrong when the pair separated maybe being more around 1:45 rather than 11:45? This would be more in line with the time of Martha’s murder at around 2:30. If this is taken into account then Martha’s killer would had been the private she had left with. This would explain why no more sightings of her were seen after Mary had parted from her.

Martha’s death did not cause alarm in Whitechapel at the time. The inquest found that she was killed by person or persons unknown and her documents filed away. Martha was born in 1849; she was only 39 when she was murdered. She was a mother of two sons; she had married their father, Henry S. Tabram in 1869, but like most lower class marriages in those times the marriage fell apart in 1875 due to Martha heavy drinking. Martha had been living with a William Turner, but this again did not last, the last time Turner saw Martha was two days before her murder, he gave her some money, they parted, the next time he was to hear of her was after her death. Martha was one of many women at the time in London, who roamed the streets for money, selling themselves to get just enough for a drink and a nights’ lodgings. It was a viscous cycle one which was to be thrown into the limelight over the next year in Whitechapel.

Murder was not that common in Whitechapel in the 1880s however for prostitutes life was tough, they became sitting ducks for any man with any malice in him (Rule. 2008. P.92), so assaults on the poor women of Whitechapel happened, and sometimes they were fatal. There were two other attacks just before Martha which were a bit worse than usual in Whitechapel, one was on Emma Smith a known prostitute, and the other Ada Wilson who could had been a Prostitute.

On the 3rd April at around 1:30am, Emma Smith, a known prostitute in Whitechapel was attacked down Brick Lane (300 yards from where she lodged at 18 George Street) by a street gang. After beating her one of the men took a blunt instrument and shoved it into her vagina. They left her injured and Emma managed to make it back to her lodgings around 3 hours later, where she was taken to hospital and later died of peritonitis[1]. Before she died she reluctantly gave a statement saying it was a Gang attack[2].  This illustrates how bad and dangerous life was for the lower class women in Whitechapel, more so the women having to degrade themselves as prostitutes. It was after Emma’s attack that the Whitechapel Murders file was opened up by the police.

Not much is known for definite on Emma Smith’s life. It seems she had been married and had left her husband 10 years previously. Another heavy drinker Emma was known to have come home to her lodgings house frequently drunk with bruises and black eyes.

The second attack, worth a mention was on a woman named Ada Wilson. On the 28 of March 1888 at 12:30 am neighbours living at 19 Maidman Street, Bow, heard screams coming from her room. A man ‘About 30, 5’6 tall with a sun burnt face and fair moustache. Wearing a dark coat, light trousers and a wide awake hat,’ (Beadle.1995.P.10-11) was seen running away from the scene. Ada had been stabbed twice in the throat after a man turned up at her room demanding money. Who was this man running away? Was Ada’s story true? Was the attacker a client who Ada was trying to con out of his money but she changed her story so that people would not know she was a prostitute, or was Ada’s attack something else? Ada survived her attack, against the odds, and was discharged from hospital on 27th April.

Five months after Ada was attacked at 4.30 am on the 5th of August 1888 Carman Charles Cross came across a woman lying in the street in Buck’s row with her skirts raised above her waist. She was dead. Charles who was joined by another man, Robert Paul left to find a police man to inform them of their find, they managed to locate PC Jonas Mizen.  While this was happening another man came across the body, this man was PC John Neil; he noticed what the two men had missed. The woman on the floor had blood coming out of her throat.

The following day the body was identified as Mary Ann Nichols who had been lodging at 18 Thrawl Street Whitechapel. Mary was another Unfortunate, a prostitute. Born in 1845, she had married a printer, William Nichols in 1864 and bore him 5 children. Their marriage broke down, this could have been due to numerous reasons the two main ones being Mary’s heavy drinking which started either on or just before 1877, and William leaving Mary Ann  for a while for another woman in 1877. The pair finally parted in 1880, and after finding out Mary Ann’s lifestyle of a prostitute stopped paying her allowance. From here it is noted that Mary was in and out of Lambeth Work house and others, she also resided with another man for a time. She was last seen at 2:30 am on the morning of her death by Ellen Holland, who informed the police that she was staggering around drunk, near Osborn Street. Earlier that night she had been turned away from her lodgings for being drunk, but told the deputy ‘I’ll soon get my doss money, see what a jolly bonnet I got on’. But Mary never returned.

Mary’s throat was not the only thing that had been cut. Upon moving her to the morgue Dr Llewellyn found that her abdomen had been ripped open to her sternum and intestines exposed! How could such a crime could have taken place without anyone seeing or hearing anything? The ‘eastern end of the street was dismally lighted, narrow and tenanted on the south side only. High warehouses dominated the north side. Dark and relatively secluded, it was the regular resort of prostitutes,’ (Sugden.1995.P.53) and the last for Mary. It could be that Mary took her murderer to this spot for the precise reason of its seclusion

The only person to have heard anything that night of note was from a Mrs. Sarah Colwell who resided in Brady Street. She was woken up early hours on August 31st by the sound of a woman running and crying out police, murder and she thought she heard a blow being struck. Was this Mary’s attack?

 No one will know what exactly happened to Mary but two possible scenarios could have been that the murdered approached Mary and demanded money or that Mary willingly went with him. Both scenarios have evidence to back them up. The first one is that the murderer approached Mary in Brady Street demanding money. And Mary panicking tried to run, her murderer caught her and punched her, then forced her into Bucks row with his knife at her throat to ensure silence. Where there he strangled her, cut her throat and did his mutilation. The evidence to back this theory up is that Mary had bruises to the right of her face and another on the left, suggest she been grabbed.[3] ‘A bruise running along the lower part of the jaw on the right side of the face might have been caused by a blow from a fist or by the pressure of a thumb. On the left of the face was a circular bruise. Llewellyn thought that this might have been caused by the pressure of fingers.’ (Sugden.1995.P.40-41). If Mary had lead her killer to Bucks row then why her back was turned the Killer could have grabbed her from behind, strangling her first to reduce the amount of blood flowing from the body. At first it was thought that Mary had been killed elsewhere due to lack of blood around the body. However when she was removed to the mortuary it was found that the blood had soaked into her clothes.

Was the killer seen leaving the scene of the crime at around at 4 am? Patrick Mulshas saw a man walking down Bucks Row in the opposite direction of the murder. He said ‘Watchman, old man, I believe somebody is murdered down the street.’ Would not someone linger around to see the body rather than walking in the opposite direction seemingly unaffected by what had occurred? .After all this was only 20 years since public executions had ceased, and its Slaughterhouses were open to the streets of Whitechapel. Its inhabitants were familiar with seeing gore and blood; it would be unusual for anyone to walk away from an event such as a murder.

Mary was buried on 6th September; her inquest found nothing to locate her murderer and was declared murder by person or persons unknown. She was identified by her father and estranged husband the day after her body was located. The father thought the treatment Mary received from her husband was not fair, even though he was unable to live with Mary due to her drinking habits.

On the 18th September at around 5.30 am Elizabeth Durrell saw a woman talking to a man outside 29 Hanbury Street, the man looked foreign and was heard to say ‘will you?’ the woman’s reply was yes. A little while later Albert Cadosch who lived next door was in his yard and heard woman saying no and 3 minutes later heard something fall. Were these people one and the same? One can only guess, however what is known is that around 6am John Davis found a woman laying in his yard of 29 Hanbury Street her dress over her knees, intestines over right shoulder. This murder took place in the back yard of a building which housed 17 people; no one seemed to have noticed or heard a thing. Hanbury Yard was only accessible through a passage from the front doors which were always left unlocked and it’s was approximately 20 square yards with a locked shed. No. 29 itself was a three story house, a side door which gave access to the rest of the building from the street. It opened into a twenty or twenty five foot passage. A stair case led to the upper floors and at the end of the passage was a back door giving access to the backyard. Most of the houses in the area, like no. 29 were let out in rooms, many of the tenants were market folk, leaving home early in the morning…it thus became the general practice to leave street and back doors unlocked for their convenience…’ (Sugden.1995. P. 83)

The woman who John found was later identified as Annie Chapman. She had been residing in 35 Dorset Street but had no money to stay there on the night of the 17th September so went out to get some. George Baggott, the doctor who examined the body estimated her death at around 5/5.30 am. It was also found that Annie’s stomach wall, womb, upper part of vagina and most bladder missing. ‘…her swollen face and protruding tongue which, coupled with bruising on her neck led him [Phillips the coroner at the morgue] to believe that asphyxia induced by throttling had occurred before the throat was cut.’ (Fido.1987 P.34). Another horrific murder which echoed the previous killing with strangulation and mutilation. Were the police looking for the same killer for both?

The police at this point though they had found a lead, with a piece of Leather apron[4] located in the yard where Annie was killed however this later was found to be a piece of leather which another tenant, John Richardson, had removed from his boot earlier at morning around 4:45. He saw nothing out of the ordinary in the yard at this time either.

At the inquest it was stated that the weapon used to mutilate Annie was a narrow knife of about 6-8 inches. It was also stated at this time the killer may have had anatomical knowledge of the body, due to some of her organs being removed, but it may just have been random in the taking of the organs, the killer just opening up his victim and taking what he found.

Annie’s life was similar to those that had previously been murdered. Born 1841, married in 1869 to John Chapman. She was mother to three children but left her family. Annie received irregular allowances from her husband until his death. It is not known why she left her family, she was an alcoholic but friends of the family state that she was only occasionally drunk. Annie got by by selling some crochet work and other things and occasionally prostituting herself. Annie was buried in a private ceremony by her family on 14th September at Main Park Cemetery.

Elizabeth Stride, originally from Sweden was residing at 32 Flower and Dean Street on the night of 29th September. Elizabeth was a known prostitute in Whitechapel. At 7pm she was seen at the Queen’s Head in Commercial Street, then again at 11 at the Bricklayer’s Arms, with a man in a black morning suit and billycock hat. Forty five minutes later Elizabeth was seen again, this time with a man wearing a short cutaway coat and a sailors hat, heard saying ‘you would say anything but your prayers‘.

PC William who was doing his rounds saw Elizabeth at around 12.35 on the other side of the street to him, they were about to enter Dutfields Yard. Dutfields yard was a dimly lit area which was guarded by two 4 foot 6 inches wide gates which were usually kept closed but unlocked, this was the entrance usually used by visitors. The Yard was about 25 yards long. For the first six yards there was a dead wall on each side which kept the place in total darkness at night. The wall of the club was situated to the right which was about 19 yards in length. Three small dwellings occupied the left hand side. The only light came from the cottage and the upstairs windows of the club. The man seen with Elizabeth was around 28 years of age, 5’7 in height and wearing a dark coat and was a deerstalker hat. He had in his possession a parcel wrapped which was 6 by 8 inches long.

Israel Schwartz of 22 Ellen Street was walking towards Dutfields Yard and saw a man stop and speak to a woman, trying to pull her into the street. She was pushed to the ground and let out three quiet screams. A man halfway down the street was also present and at the same time the unknown attacker screamed out ‘Lipski’ towards the two men.[5] Schwartz did not know if this was an insult towards himself for being a Jew or an instruction to the stranger who Israel believed began to follow him down the street. Schwartz began to run and lost his supposed follower. He also later identified the woman as Elizabeth. The unknown attacker was described by Israel as being of 30 yrs. in age, 5.5 in height, with a Fresh complexion. He had Dark hair and a small moustache; he was dressed in an overcoat with a wide rimmed black hat.

However at the same time James Browis convinced he saw Elizabeth with a stocky built man 5ft 7 in height with a long black overcoat by Fairclough street .Elizabeth was heard to say ‘no not tonight. Maybe some other night. Who was correct, it seems that Elizabeth’s last movement are somewhat unknown as so many people seem to have seen her on the night of her death, as she was found in Dutfields yard is assumed that what Schwarz saw was the actual Elizabeth Stride.

Before the event of which Israel was to witness at Dutfields yard, Morris Eagle had returned to the yard at 12.35 after escorting his lady friend home. He admits at Elizabeth’s inquest that there was no body present at the yard when he returned however as it was so dark could not swear by this. Twenty minutes later he was to be informed that a body had been found in that same yard.

The body was to be found by Louis Diemschütz, who was returning to Dutfields yard with his cart and pony. Upon entering the yard, the pony became unsettled and was very hesitant about entering the yard. Realising something could be up he entered the yard and lighting a match and using his whip to feel around found what seemed to be a body of a woman, her head facing the far end of the yard and feet almost touching the gateway. Believing she was just drunk he went inside the club to get some help. However upon returning with some more people they found she had actually been murdered with her throat cut and blood still dipping from it.

It is believed that Elizabeth’s death was so recent when discovered that the killer may have still been in the yard, and waited in the darkness until Louis went in to get help and then left. Was the killer so close to being caught? Did what Schwartz see earlier the start of Elizabeth’s death?

Elizabeth had no mutilation on her body. In actual fact the way in which Elizabeth had been murdered differed from the previous murders which have recently occurred in Whitechapel. There was no evidence of her having been strangled; her injuries had been caused by a different bladed knife than the previous ones, her injuries seem to have been caused by a short broad knife not, a long narrow bladed knife. Why was her murder different to the others, was it a change in method or was she killed by a different person?

PC Lamb was located nearby and called Doctor Frederick Blackwell to the scene. Blackwell’s opinion that Elizabeth has bled to death comparatively slowly because vessels had been cut only one side of the neck and the artery had not been completely severed. He also stated there was no possibility that she could have uttered any sort of cry after her neck was cut’ (Evans and Rumbelow.2006.P.102). It was also found that Elizabeth had colouring on her chest, was this indication of someone having knelt upon her has her throat was cut?

Another difference in this murder was Dutfields yard was used regularly; it was not a known haunt of prostitutes to take their clients there, therefore why would Elizabeth, if she was murdered by a supposed client have taken him there, to a place where they could have been disturbed? Was she a victim of a robbery? Was she having a row and later killed by her killer who could have been the man Schwartz thought was following him? Was Elizabeth killed by her lover Michael kidney?

Elizabeth’s murderer could had quite easily got away undetected if he was quick, which he was. Upon leaving Dutfields yard all he needed to do was to turn left and entered a dark and narrow thoroughfare known as Betty gardens this would have led him to any of the numerous passageways in Whitechapel.

Elizabeth was finally identified by her nephew PC Walter Stride and she was buried in a pauper’s grave in East London cemetery. Born in 1843, in Sweden. She was officially registered as a prostitute in Sweden in 1865, and taken off November the same year; this is only done if a prostitute gets married or gets employment. While in Sweden Elizabeth was in and out of the hospital being treated for venereal disease and venereal ulcers. She arrived in England in 1866; although how and why she came to London it is not known for sure. She met and married John Stride in 1869 and they opened a coffee shop which did not stay open for very long. The marriage broke down in 1881 and John eventually died in Stepney sick asylum of heart disease in 1884. Elizabeth eventually resided with Michael kidney in 1885 in 38 Dorset Street. Deserting him from time to time until her death, but she did allege that he was violent towards her and ended up residing away from him in September 1888 at 32 Flower and Dean street, she had also been in court numerous times for being drunk and disorderly.

At around the same time that Elizabeth Strides body was found, another prostitute, Catherin Eddowes, who resided with a common law husband, John Kelly, at 55 Flower and Dean Street was being released from a prison cell at Bishopgates police station. She had been arrested earlier that day for being drunk and disorderly. PC George Hutt who was the on duty policeman saw her off into the street. Upon leaving the station Catherine turned left, not right which was the direction of her lodgings, was she going to solicit herself for money? All the pubs had closed so it was not for more drink.

It was earlier in the night, at around midnight that Albert Bachert entered the Three Nuns hotel, situated on Aldgate High Street between St Botolphs[6] and Aldgate Police Station; here he was approached by a man who began to ask him about the women in the area.‘He appeared to be a shabby genteel sort of man, and was dressed in black clothes. He wore a black felt hat and carried a black bag. (Ryder, S. (Ed). Albert Bachert [20/05/2010]

Half an hour later PC Edward Watkins entered Mitre Square and as always he would shine a light all around the square before continuing his beat and would return every 15 minutes. Mitre Square was set in the City of London.  To its north is a small passage leading into St James Place and to its east is another passage leading in the direction of St Botolphs….it is now about 4 meters wide although in the late 20th Century it was little more than a mile wide….it was very dark in the square at night’(Clack and Hutchinson. 2007. P.114-116.), the darkest point being the south west corner, having no street lamps around it.

At around half one not far for Mitre Square three men saw a couple talking as the men were heading towards Aldgate high street. The couple was near Church passage, which leads into Mitre Square. The woman could have been Catherine; she was wearing a black jacket and bonnet and was facing the man with a hand upon his chest. The man was described as being 30 yrs. old 5.7-8 in height and of medium build and a fair complexion. He had a moustache and was wearing a loose fitting pepper and salt coloured jacket and grey cloth cap with a peak. He was described as being a sailor in appearance. The clothes that Catherine was wearing that night were later identified by one of the men as those being worn by the woman they had seen.

Around 1.40 PC James Harvey was on his beat which stopped just before entering Mitre Square but he entered it and found nothing. Four minutes later PC Watkins returned to his beat back to the Square, this time however the Square was not empty. He had found a woman, dead. Watkins called out to Earl and Tongue a nearby warehouse for help. Another woman had been ripped up. Morris, the night watchman ran up the square blowing his whistle for help, while Watkins stayed with the body. As two officers turned up to the scene so do did the first doctor, William Sequira who lived not far from the location. Soon after a London police surgeon, Frederick Gordon Brown accessed the injuries and they are described as follows:

The body was on its back, the head turned to the left shoulder…The abdomen was exposed. Right leg bent at the knee. The throat cut across. The intestines were drawn out to a large extent and placed over the right shoulder – they were smart over with some feculent matter. A piece of about two feet was quite detached from the body and placed between the body and the left arm, apparently by design. The lobe and auricle of the right ear were cut obliquely through. There was a quantity of clotted blood on the pavement on the left-hand side of the neck round the shoulder and upper part of arm, and fluid blood colours serum which had flowed under the neck to the right shoulder, the pavement sloping in that direction. Body was quite warm. No death stiffening had taken place. She must had been dead most likely within the half hour. We looked for superficial bruises and saw none. (Evans and Skinner. 2001. P.228-9)

Her face had also been deliberately disfigured after her death. The tip of her nose had been hacked off and eyelids cut though, her cheeks with inverted v’s the face been slashed several times down the right to the gum. Her earlobe which had been removed was found in her clothing.  Her kidney and uterus were also missing. There were two abrasions on her cheek which seem to be punch marks. There was a bruise also found on the back of her left hand as though she had raised it to block somebody hitting her[7]. This woman had been viscously and furiously attacked almost beyond recognition.

Meanwhile at around 2.20 am PC Alfred Long walked passed Wentworth Model Dwellings and saw nothing unusual; however at 2.20am at the doorway of a staircase to rooms 108-119 he found half a white apron. It was smothered with blood and faeces. It is believed that the murderer wiped his knife and hands on this apron after killing his victim and to also carry the organs that were removed. Upon inspection it matched to the piece of apron missing from her apron. Just above where the piece of apron was found there was some graffiti written in chalk on the wall. It said:

The Juwes are

The men that

Will not

Be blamed

For nothing

There was much confusion at the time of finding this graffiti and no one knew if it was left by the killer or not. Even the inscription is varied in different reports. There was a debate about who had authority over the graffiti by the two police forces. The murder of Eddowes was made in Mite Square in the jurisdiction of the City of London Police, however the graffiti was found in the jurisdiction of the MET. The city of London Police wanted to photograph the graffiti and use it as some kind of evidence as it was not only found on the night of a supposed double murder but also it was written just above the piece of bloodied apron and knife. It could have been left by the killer.  However due to the words used it was feared by Charles Warren, who arrived on the street that it would cause a stir and rouse more anti-Semitism which was already rife in Whitechapel, and especially since the whole Leather Apron Suspect. He decided it should be removed instantly of the wall. The City of London police tried to compromise and suggested that the top line with the word Juwes being removed. But this was still not enough for Warren, and as it was in his jurisdiction it was washed off the walls before any photograph could be taken.

Today we only have the written version of what it said and even this slightly varies, especially the spelling of Juwes. Whether this was left by the killer it is a riddle which will never be solved. It may not relate to the killings at all and it was all just circumstantial the apron being left there. There are supposed other writings on the wall around the times of the killings, none however which cause so much fuss as this did, to read more on this please see issue 127 2012 of the Ripperologist.

On the morning of 9th November at around 10:45, Thomas Bawyer, assistant to John McCarthy, who owned some lodgings, knocked on the door of a background room on the floor of 26 Dorset Street, Millers Court, to collect rent from a tenant, Mary Kelly. The room was partitioned off from the rest of the little house and could only be entered by the first door of the right-hand side in Millers Court, a pokey yard of 6 dwellings entered through the first archway on the right in Dorset street coming from Commercial street.’(Fido.1987.P.87). upon no answer he peered through a broken window and pulled back the curtain. What he saw was the remains of a woman lying on the bed, hardly identifiable. The body was lying nearly naked on the middle of the bed, face hacked beyond recognition, the breasts were cut off, and blood was on the floor and on the walls. It was a sight that Bowyer would not forget for the rest of his life. Bowyer ran and informed McCarthy of the discovery and after seeing the remains McCarthy ran and informed the police of Commercial Street Police station. After several hours the police get McCarthy to break down the locked door with an axe.

It is believed to be the remains of Mary Jane Kelly that was found as it was her room. Not much is known about Mary’s background and upon investigating her whereabouts on her final day the police have found some conflicting evidence from witnesses’. It is estimated that Mary was born around 1863 originally from Ireland. She met Joseph Barnett in April 1888 and after a few meetings they moved in together to the room at Millers Court. Mary was known to have had a fierce temper when drunk and after a row with Joseph on 30th October 1888, Joseph moved out.

On the night of 8th November, Mary Ann Cox believed she saw Mary and a man walking ahead of her in Dorset Street. The man was described as being shabbily dressed, around 5 feet 5 in height. He wore dark clothes which included a long black coat and a Billy cock hat, and was about his mid-30s in age. He was also described as having a blotchy face, carroty moustache and small side whiskers. Cox states that Mary informed her that she will be doing some singing and took the man into her room at Millers Court. At around 1 am Mary could still be heard singing from her apartment however half an hour later all seemed quiet.

Later at 2am George Hutchinson spoke to Mary down Commercial Street where she asked him for a sixpence. He was unable to provide her with this money and so she left and Hutchinson states she picked up a client around Thrawl Street and took him back to Millers court. For some reason Hutchinson waited outside the entrance to Millers court for 45 minutes, during this time neither Mary nor her client left the room. It has been confirmed by a Sarah Lewis that a man was standing outside Millers Court at the same time as Hutchinson and the police believed his story to be true. Shortly before 4am a cry of Murder was heard near the location of Mary’s room by at least three of the Millers court inhabitants but as this was a common thing no one thought anything of it at the time.

There was also another sighting of Mary at around 8am of the morning of the9th November from a Caroline Maxwell who stated at Mary’s inquest that she spoke to Mary on the corner of Millers court, Mary informing her that she had the horrors of drink. Maxwell also saw Mary again an hour later with a stout man outside the Britannia public house. However Maxwell’s evidence was not taken seriously as it this take place several hours after Mary was stated to have been killed by the coroner. Bur Maxwell had no reason to lie (Beadle.2009.P.200-1) and seemed to be a perfectly sane and sensible woman who knew and had met Kelly on a few previous occasions.

Mary Kelly’s inquest was a fiasco and a sham which lasted virtually only half a day. It had been marred by disagreements between Coroner and Jury, and no effort had been made to establish many of the facts required by law.’ (Tully.1997.P.268). The police were still no closer to finding out who was the killer or killers behind these horrific murders.

This series of murders on the prostitutes of Whitechapel seemed to cease after this last killing of Mary Kelly. The killer, whoever they were and for whatever reason did not kill any more women in this horrific way, or so it seemed. As previously mentioned there were some murders before Mary Ann Nichols which could have been attributed to our killer, it is the same after Mary Kelly, but these murders were not as horrific as the previous 5 had been.

Rose Mylett was found dead in Clarks Yard in Poplar high street on the early hours of 20th December by a police constable. It seemed at first she has died chocking on her own vomit. However there were marks on her neck which pointed to strangulation and four police surgeons confirmed strangulation by a packing string, she had marks and bruises on her neck, which one of the police surgeons believed to be cause by pressure from the fingers and thumb, the surgeons also stated that Mylett had no alcohol in her system. The mark on her neck faded also and it seems there was no sign of struggle in the yard where she was found. So one theory that Mylett was drunk and chocked to death on her own collar could be plausible, but as there was no alcohol in her system how could it be explained how she managed to die of some form of strangulation accidental or not? Of course medical conditions were not well known of today as they were back then and there could be another explanation of Myletts death. Of course she could have actually been murdered and through fear of another murder by Jack the Ripper was too much to bear and the police along with the surgeons decided to go with accidental death.

On the night of her death Mylett was seen at around 7:55 by Charles Ptolemy with a sailor, who it seems was propositioning her. Hours later around 2:30 she was seen again, this time down commercial road with two sailors, the witness was an Alice Graves, who stated that Mylett seemed to be drunk.

There were two other killings in the Whitechapel area a little while after these killings, they may not have been committed by the same killer as those already listed, in what was called the Autumn of Terror. One was Alice McKenzie, the other Frances Coles. McKenzie, who was an occasional prostitute, was found dead in Castle Alley in the early hours of 17th July 1889. She had been stabbed twice in the throat with numerous other wounds on her person, one being along her breasts. Coles was a 25 year old attractive prostitute who was found with her throat cut on February 14th 1891. Her body was found in Swallow Gardens, a very dark alleyway. When Coles was found she was still alive but died from her wounds on the way to hospital. A suspect, Thomas Sadler was arrested but soon released after giving a solid alibi around the time of the killing. Sadler had been spending time with Coles and had spent the previous night with her. The police also hoped that he was Jack the Ripper but upon further investigation it was found that Sadler was out of the country from April 1888 to October.

After the murder of Mary Kelly the amateur vigilantes and even the police force began to scale down their watches. However the main reasons for this was the long and tiresome hours and a big one for the police was finance. It was costing a lot to keep the high police presence in Whitechapel and gradually numbers decreased. As soon as McKenzie’s body was found the police numbers were increased again only to decrease as no more murders similar to that of Jack the Ripper were committed. Finally the police presence in Whitechapel was back to its normal numbers to that before the Autumn of Terror. The file of Jack the Ripper was never officially closed and even though suspects were still arrested none were ever officially charge and found guilty of the murders of at least 4 women in Whitechapel by the killer labelled Jack the Ripper.

[1] Peritonitis is inflammation of the peritoneum due to a bacterial or fungal infection.

[3] Beadle (1995) page 20.

[4]  The finding of the piece of leather led to a mass search from the police and public to locate a man known in the area as Leather Apron, a man who threatened prostitutes. This man tuned out to be a John Pizer, who was innocent of the murders which had taken place. Still the press made a massive issue of the murderer giving him the name for a time of ‘Leather Apron’

[5] In June 1887 Israel Lipski poured poison down a fellow lodger’s throat. He was hung. This causing more anti-Semitism in London. The term Lipski by 1888 was a term of abuse towards the Jews.

[6]St Botolphs was a church where prostitutes were able to go after being given Amnesty there by Whitechapel police, providing they kept moving.

[7]Beadle. 1995. Page 59

Murder Most Horrid – Part 1 – The London Abyss

‘By 1870 the sheer quantity of life in the city was overwhelming. Every eight minutes, of every day of every year, someone died in London; every five minutes, someone was born. There were forty thousand costermongers and 100,000 ‘winter tramps’; there were more Irish living in London than in Dublin, and more Catholics than in Rome. There were 20,000 public houses visited by 500,000 customers. Eight years later there were more than half a million dwellings, ‘more than sufficient for it to form one continuous row of buildings round the island of Great Britain’. (Ackroyd.2001. P.576)

Nearly 20 years later London was no better and more packed than ever. Britain was facing a trade slump after being one of the world’s best economies. London had gone from being one of the world’s largest capitals cities oozing with jobs, now many of its lower class inhabitants were struggling even to makes ends meet, turning to crime and alcohol to solve the depression of living their daily lives. There was a clear division in the Social classes and between the sexes. Immigration was on the increase, for centuries Immigrants like the Huguenots, the Irish and the Jewish immigrants escaping from the pogroms in Russia, all headed to London, which in effect caused xenophobia, and more importantly anti-Semitism towards the mass of Jewish immigrants. London was unable to cope; Slums began to pop up in its poverty stricken areas, the masses locating to where there would be work. From the early 1800s many buildings and homes were cleared to make way for the creation of many new docks, the West India, Wapping, East India, Surrey and St Katherine Docks, houses were also being demolished to make way for new railways routes. Many people were flocking to these areas to find work at the docks, and those people who had lost their homes did not move on, and most of the immigrants coming in from abroad would usually settle in the immediate area from where they left their ship. London’s streets became over crowded, with not enough jobs to go around.

Whitechapel was home to the worst of these squalid conditions and of London’s worst slums in the area. It consisted of rat runs of alley ways and passages, high in both population and crime. Life was harsh for its 76,000 plus inhabitants, half of which were living in poverty conditions, working 10-18 hours a day for a merge wage. The slightest thing could cost them their job or wage, the factories were hard and its workers would sometimes come into contact with dangerous fumes, which could affect them for life, or they could have industrial accidents. Pollution was high, covering the building in filth and some buildings were even built on top of cesspits.

For those people living in Whitechapel who were unfortunate enough not to have much of an income their lives were made all the more worse by having to live in Common Lodgings houses, these house were dirty vermin infested rooms where people were crammed into so that the owners were able to make as much profit as possible. The police would usually turn a blind eye to the going on in these places making crime a common thing. These were places which no one in their right mind would want to reside but were more often than not the only choice so the landlords got away with extortionate prices. Most of the adult lodgers would turn to drink to make their lives more bearable in these places, and males would usually find solace in female company, giving the landlords more profit by setting up some of their lodging houses as brothels.

Charities and reformers would try and push parliament to change the conditions and sometimes there would be a slight improvements, however more often than not it actually made conditions worse for London’s third class inhabitants. With the passing of the Common Lodging House Act of 1851[1] and then the Artisans and Labourers Dwelling Act of 1875[2]. The lower class living conditions were meant to be improved by clear rules being enforced in the houses and those that were unfit to be rebuilt were to provide better living conditions, but in actual fact these acts led to more people being on the street and the lodging houses being more crowded, the only benefits going to the owners of these houses.

In his study of the area Jack London (1903) stayed in a room in Whitechapel’s worst area, known as the Quarter Mile. He stated that ‘Six of the Rooms…measured no more than 8ft by 8. In these were housed 20 people who cooked, ate, slept and worked in the same space.’(Werner. 2008. P.76-7). The quarter mile was known to be crammed with London’s worst slums, comprising of at least 20 people in one house. It consisted of Thrawl Street, Flower and Dean Street and Wentworth Street. Along with Dorset Street,  these streets had a reputation so bad that it was named in an article published in the daily Mail on 16th July 1901 titled the Worst Street in London[3].The reputation of Dorset street meant that many people left it alone and steered clear, including the police, who only entered in pairs when absolutely necessary. As a result ‘the residents could carry out their business relatively undisturbed, and that made the depilated properties that lined the streets ideal venues for illegal gambling dens, brothels and the storage of stolen property.’ (Rule. 2008. P.158). It was full of lodging and doss houses with only two legitimate businesses listed in 1888, a grocery store at no. 7 and the Blue Coat Boy public house at no. 32[4]. Most of the people in this area were classed as either below or on the poverty line, the lowest class of people in England’s four class systems.

There were four class systems in Victorian London; these were the Nobility/Gentry, the Middle Class, Upper working and Lower working class (sometimes referred to as Third Class). The upper class consisted of England’s nobility and peerage. Most had no real professions of jobs but tended to be ‘captains’ of industries. The middle was rich respectable families who lacked the titles which the upper classes had. They were skilled professionals, and in Victorian London were beginning to grow as a class. The lower two working classes usually worked in low skilled or even unskilled jobs, most lacking decent education and tended to be very hostile to the other classes. Each class system knew where they all stood and all had clear and defined roles within their societies which had to be abided by. If not one was a t risk from being shunned from their class. What class you fitted in was not solely dependent on the amount of money one brought in but also the source of where their money came from, their birth and who their family was Most classes were in their positions a result of circumstances, and for most of the Working class were stuck there and unable to climb society.

Women and daughters in all classes were expected to know their place in Victorian England. They were to be obedient to their husbands and fathers in any class. Emotion was frowned upon and women were to be covered up in shapeless dresses, sex was not a thing to be enjoyed but to be for reproduction of the family only. If a woman was to enjoy it, she was seen to be immoral. The ideal of a Victorian woman is depicted in The Angel in the House, a popular poem by Coventry Patmore in 1854. It depicts the Victorian wife as being a patient and sacrificing woman to her husband.

However for men the rules were slightly different and so mistresses and prostitutes were to a degree tolerated to allow the men to indulge in their passions, a necessary evil. It was the husbands and fathers who had the control in any household, with any property or money automatically being under their possession, even if it originally belonged to the female. In marriage it would by law belong to the husband; he had legal control over the income of his wife. It was this reason which made it difficult for a woman to leave her husband if she wanted to, she would still have to rely on his generosity for any money towards her keep, the husband had the right to dictate when the wife could see her children, if she had any, and if a woman was seen to have left her husband and divorced him then usually she would be rejected by society in the upper classes. A wife and daughter were expected to live and follow the social ideals of her class, if she did not she would allow herself to be open to criticism from her peers.

Women of the lower classes had an even more difficult life. For some they had to work to either top up their husband’s wage, or in some cases if the husband is unable to work through injury or has died then they would have to make a living. Women were paid a lower wage then men which made it all the more harder for them to get by, most turning to drink. Some of the work open to women of the lower classes was domestic work in a house or even some factory work. However for others they would have to find work as a washerwomen, street venders/ ‘hawkers’. Some would turn to breeding animals in their slums where they lived and slept, or spinning wool these jobs would involve them working from their homes, thus keeping up the ideal of the woman staying at home and running the domestic chores as well as making a meagre wage. All these jobs would involve long hours and leave the workers tired. Another job these women could get was match box making or sorting rags in rag factories, usually flea ridden rags at that. These would be the lowest paying jobs for a woman.

Domestic abuse was very common in Victorian London and more so in the lower classes. In 1853 a law was passed which did not make abuse illegal but set out some limits to the abuse. This law, the Act for better protection of aggravated assault upon women and children[5], however did not help much. Most women would not take legal action against their husbands, as previously mentioned they were reliant upon these men to get by financially, otherwise it was the workhouse or the streets for them.

For those who could not find any work, or for those women who wanted to make more money there was the street and prostitution, and open themselves to be regarded and the ‘fallen’ and the ‘unfortunates’. For most of them prostitution was not a career choice it was a necessity to get by in their daily life![6]By the 1880s there was an estimated 80,000 plus women selling their bodies on the streets of London. Most of these women being penniless and homeless, some victims of domestic abuse. These women lived their lives selling themselves on the streets were not entirely alone. A lot of them looked out for each other and would help out in times of need and took in a fellow street walker into her room for a few nights. There was also competition and some women were territorial. Whatever their individual circumstances, life was hard for these women.

Malnutrition, Alcoholism and physical abuse reduced a woman to a shambles quickly and The Unfortunate slid lower in the pecking order…alcohol was the easiest way not to be present…they were diseased and old beyond their years, cast out by husbands and children… [The] unfortunates haunted the night like nocturnal animals, in wait for any man, no matter how rough or disgusting, who might be enticed into parting with pennies for, pleasure. Preferable sex was performed standing up, with the prostitutes gathering her many layers of clothing and lifting them out of the way, her back to the client. If she was lucky he was too drunk to know that his penis was being inserted between her thighs and not into any orifice. (Cornwell. 2003. P.25)

The Contagious Diseases Act of 1864, 66 and 69 made it compulsory for police to be able to stop prostitutes in the street and make them be checked for venereal disease. If they were found to have the disease then it was legal to keep them in a hospital to they were cured. This was done whether the woman was willing or not. It was brought in due to the government being concerned about the amount of prostitutes passing the diseases onto men. It was to protect men and not women, and many women who were stopped were not even prostitutes but were still forced to undergo the humiliating exam, and be degraded in their local area. There was a lot of uproar by women regarding this act and it was finally repealed in 1886. However this is just an example of the divide between men and women, and prostitutes.

Not only living a harsh life on the streets and in the Slums, being victims of abuse and of the law, prostitutes also were attacked by some of London’s reformers who has a mission to rid London of them, believing that these women were wrong, not that they were in the most part victims of society and Victorian life. One of these reformers was Frederick Charrington. In the winter of 1887 through to 1888 Frederick went on a one man crusade to rid the East End of its prostitutes. He went about doing this by using English law system, more precisely the Criminal law Amendment Act of 1885[7]. This act allowed the police to close down suspected brothels. It left many prostitutes to living and working out in the streets and the elements it brought.

Immigrants from all over Europe, over centuries had been moving into London and setting up home there, and this continued into the 1880s, it caused Xenophobia amongst the English men and women living in Whitechapel and across London. The immigrants and more specifically the Jewish community were blamed for the lack of work in and around Whitechapel and that they were stealing jobs. However ‘in spite of the hardship of Immigrant life and the fact that, for the most part, rather than ‘taking the jobs of Englishmen’ as the myth would have it, the incomers developed their own particular branches of industry in responses to contemporary economic and social trends…’ (Werner.2008.p.91.) They were feared due to their Alien religion and Culture. Even thought it was extremely rare for a member of the Jewish community to commit a crime, especially a violent one[8] they were still blamed for certain crimes, as they had been blamed for centuries. They were made to be a scapegoat.

To watch over these inhabitants of Whitechapel was the Metropolitan Police force. It was their job to monitor situations and crime that was going on, as hard and as difficult as it was. Unlike today the police at the time were not trusted. They were still new, and these horrid crimes only brought more attention to the force and its issues with keeping on top of Whitechapel’s crime and criminals. Formed in 1829 the Metropolitan Police were never really trusted by London’s inhabitants and were never really liked. The CID (Criminal Investigation Department) was established many years later in 1878. The Police force was headed by a Commissioner who was then answerable to the Home Secretary. They covered over a radius of 15 miles from Charring Cross extending to the City of London, and had an estimate of 12,025 constables, 1130 sergeants, 837 inspectors and 30 senior Inspectors. These were all broken down into divisions and the ‘Divisions were broken down into smaller and smaller units: Stations, Sections (a sergeant and 8 PC), and beats (patrol routes of no more than 1 ½ miles) to be covered day and night by a solitary police man.’(Werner. 2008. P.102) The H Division of Whitechapel encompassed an area of just 2 square miles; the Station was located in Leman Street. For any young policeman the H division was an ideal proving ground if he had ambition, but it also came with risk, for Policemen chasing villains who were foolish to enter certain areas alone were at risk of beatings and in some cases death, Dorset Street was one of the worse in their area.

However, with as much risk as the police had in Whitechapel from its criminal inhabitants some of ‘…the success of the Victorian detective largely rested upon a thorough knowledge of the local villains, upon the evidence of informers, and upon much legwork tracing and interviewing witnesses.’(Sugden. 1995. P.69). It was a tough job. However some Police constables managed to survive Whitechapel and even rise in the ranks, one of these were a Detective Frederick George Abberline. By 1888 he had been in the Metropolitan Police for 25 years, he was a man of around 5 foot nine in height with a fresh complexion, bushy side whiskers and thick moustache. Fourteen of his years in the police were spent in the slums of Whitechapel which have just been discussed above. Through this he was able to find his way round Whitechapel and its alleys, gain a fair knowledge of its activities and how its criminals operated.

It was in Whitechapel and in these horrid conditions that the murders of at least five women were committed. It was in Whitechapel that the Police force already struggling to police the area had to try and find the person/people responsible for these murders with much difficulty. Inspector Abberline and his colleagues were about to be drawn into what was eventually known as the Autumn of Terror, and the phantom who became known as Jack the Ripper.

[1]Common lodging House Act 1851 –a result of the overcrowding and poor conditions of the Common lodging house. Government believed the houses caused problems due to the lack of supervision and clear rules. The act stated that every common lodging house was to have clear signing outside stating what it was. All rooms were to be measured to see how many beds were to be placed in the rooms and a placard was then to be put outside each room stating the fact. Fresh linen was to be produced once a week. All widows open at ten every morning and all tenets were to be sent from the property at ten am and not allowed back into the properties until late afternoon. (footnote for page 66 rule)

[2]Artisans and labourers’ Dwelling Act (Cross Act) 1875) –Allowed the government run metropolitan borough works to purchase and demolish unfit property to be replaced with more habitual dwellings. However the land were too expensive for charities to buy up to produce these and commercial developers did not want the land either so it resulted in being desolate empty land with more homeless people and the remaining Lodging houses becoming more overcrowded.

[3] See Appendix 1 for article.

[4] Daniel, P ‘The streets of whitechapel’.  Casebook: Jack the Ripper. Accessed 22/01/2012,

[5] See appendix 2 for full Act.

[6]Clack and Hutchinson. 2007. P.11.

[7] See Appendix 4 for full Act.

[8]Werner. 2008. P. 93

Murder Most Horrid – Jack the Ripper and the Whitechapel Murders – Introduction

In Whitechapel, London in 1888 a series of murders were committed. Most of these murders are attributed to a killer named Jack the Ripper. Whitechapel was a very different place than it is today, in fact the whole country was. Many people in London alone were living in poverty and having to work long hours to make what little money they were given, some women were reduced to selling themselves for money for a drink and a bed for a night. It was these women who were to suffer at the hands of the killer, to be strangled, have their throats cut and bodies mutilated. It is possible that they were specifically targeted. What is clear is that the killer certainly had some issue with women, and was it that these women were only targeted as they were available and ‘easy’.

These crimes left the police baffled, even today and for probably the rest of time the killer will be unknown. The killings made worldwide news at the time and had such an impact on the press that sales rocketed for some. It was the first time the world was aware of a serial killer. However the term was not used until the 1970s. Today everyone knows of serial killers and there is profilers called out to analyze and track down these killers. There is forensic and DNA evidence to be used. The world in the time of the 1880s only had the physical form of the police and eyewitness accounts which were not the best form of tracking down a killer. Fingerprinting was not introduced to a bit later. It was a time when policing was still young and there was hardly any trust. This is a massive factor in why Jack the Ripper was never caught.

So why write another article on these killings, just from viewing my bibliography alone one can see there have already been loads written on this subject with new books and articles and magazines writing about it daily. Well the reason I decided was just that. there has been so much written and I have read so much that I thought I would get my thoughts to paper and share with a large community fascinated by these killings and one of the biggest murder mysteries there ever is and will be. My fascination started many years ago and as my interest grew I started to get my thoughts down and with no one to discuss it with either in my immediate community I thought it would get my voice out there.

This article will cover the basics of the Jack the Ripper Killings at the time. If one wanted a full depth analysis there are far better qualified authors and books out there for you to read. These are my views on the killings. It is split into sections covering Whitechapel, the killings, media and police coverage and Serial Killers and suspects. The final part is a summery and conclusion, which is my own personal views and thoughts which you may or may not agree with, it, is your own choice. One thing we know for certain is that no one will ever know the true identity of Jack the Ripper.