While Jack the Ripper was certainly not the first serial killer, he was likely the first one to be active in a large metropolis at a time when the general populace was literate and the press affected social change. The Ripper also appeared during a time that was experience some tremendous political turmoil, and all sides of the political landscape tried to use the murders to help their cause.
One of the hardest parts of coming up with information about Jack the Ripper is establishing how many murders were carried about by the same person who became known as Jack the Ripper. Five seems to be the general consensus, it is important to remember that this number was based on a statement that was made in 1894 by Melville Macnaghten and should not be seen as a definitive number.
The actual Whitechapel Murders file has 11 victims listed, some of whom were Jack the Ripper’s victims, while others probably were not. The five agreed upon victims were Mary Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, and Mary Kelly.
That said, the murder files also contain two victims who were murdered before Mary Nichols. The first of these two was Emma Smith, who was attacked in the early hours of April 3rd, 1888. She would later died of her injuries in the London Hospital, and this placed her first in the Whitechapel Murders. It is almost certain that Emma was not a victim of Jack the Ripper. Before she died, she was able to tell her doctor that she had been attacked by a local gang.
A few months after, on August 7th, 1888, Martha Tabram’s body was found in George Yard. She had been the victim of an horrendous and violent attack. She suffered from 39 stab wounds to her abdomen, throat, and chest. She is sometimes referred to as Martha Turner, and is a possible victim. The case against her being an actual victim of the Ripper is that her throat had not been cut and she wasn’t disemboweled, which were injuries that the canonical five victims had endured.
The reasons it is believed that she is a victim of the Ripper is that her killer had focused on the abdomen and throat. So it can’t be said definitively if she is or is not a Ripper victim.
After that, we can move into more certain territory with the murder of Mary Nichols. Mary Ann Walker was born on August 26th, 1845. At the time of her death, it was estimated that she was around 30 to 35 years of age. Her father spoke up, though, and said that she was nearly 44. She was 5’2” with brown eyes, brown hair starting to grey, dark complexion, and she was missing her five front teeth. Also known as Polly, she married William Nichols on January 16, 1864. The two would separate and get back together several times over their 24 years of marriage. Their last separation took place in 1881.
In 1882, William discovered that his wife had been living as a prostitute and stopped his support payments. Parish authorities tried to get maintenance money from him, but he countered that she had left him alone with the kids. He won after he established that she had been living as a common prostitute. Her father spread the story that they had separated because of William having an affair with a nurse who cared for Polly during her last confinement. After their separation, Polly started moving from workhouse to workhouse. One of her last addresses was at Wilmott’s Lodging House at 18 Thrawl Street. There she shared a room with four other women, one of which was Emily Holland. On August 24th, she moved to the White House lodging house at 56 Flower and Dean Street. In this house, men were allowed to stay with women.
On August 30th, it was raining hard and was accompanied by thunder and lightning. The sky that night was lit red by two dock fires. At 11 PM, Polly is seen walking down Witechapel road, likely soliciting trade. At 12:30 AM, she is seen leaving the Frying Pan Public House and returns to the lodging house on Thrawl Street.
Sometimes between 1:20 and 1:40 AM, she is told by an deputy to leave the kitchen of the lodging house because she didn’t have the money for her stay. At 2:30 AM, she runs into Emily Holland. Polly was walking down Osborn Street, and Holland said that she was “very drunk and staggered against the wall.” Polly tells Emily that she had had the doss money three times, but drank it away. She said that she would return to Flower and Dean Street. Polly leaves, walking down Witechapel Road.
At 3:15 AM, PC John Thain is walking down Buck’s Row on his beat. He doesn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. Sgt. Kerby passes down Buck’s Row around the same time and reports the same. Charles Cross, a carman, finds Polly’s body in Buck’s Row at 3:40 AM. Cross believed her to be dead. Her face and hands had been cold, but the upper arms and her legs were still warm. Robert Paul, who Cross called over, believed that he could feel a faint heartbeat, and thought she was breathing just slightly.
They straighten up her skirt, to give her some decency, and go onto work and that they would tell the first police office that they meet. They come across PC Jonas Mizen and tell him. In the meantime, PC John Neil discovers her body. She was found in a gateway entrance to Brown’s stableyard between terrace houses and a board school. She is nearly underneath the window Mrs. Emma Green. She claimed that she and her children slept undisturbed until the police come by.
Dr. Rees Ralph Llewellyn said that there was a slight laceration of her tongue and bruise that ran along the lower part of her jaw on the right of her face. There was circular bruise on the left side of her face. There was an incision about four inches long below her jaw and ran from a point under the ear. There was a circular incision below that. That incision cut down through all of the tissue, to the vertebrae. There were no other injuries on the body until just about the lower part of the abdomen. Several jagged incisions ran along the abdomen, and cut through all of the tissue. All of her injuries had be caused by the same knife.
Due to the death of the previous two women, and partially believing that this could be gang related, inspector Abberline took charge. After Abberline took charge, police enquiries amongst the prostitutes yielded a possible suspect. They mentioned a man whom the local street walkers had dubbed “Leather Apron,” due to the fact that he habitually wore one. The prostitutes they spoke with said that “Leather Apron” had been running an extortion racket amongst them and threatened to rip them open if they didn’t give him their money. Unfortunately, after the press got wind of this, several newspapers started to emphasize the man’s supposed Hebrew appearance, a fact that caused signs of anti-Semitism to surface in the area.
It was with this backdrop that the murder of Annie Chapman took place. Annie led a nomadic existence around Spitalfields. At her time of death, she was 47 and a short plump, ashen-faced consumptive who, for at least four months prior to her murder, had been living at Crossingham’s lodging house.
The deputy keeper, Timothy Donovan, said that she had been an inoffensive woman whose main weakness was her fondness for drink. Like most women in that area, Annie would supplement her meager income she got from her crochet work and creating artificial flowers with prostitution. She had two main clients she saw regularly. One was Harry the Hawker and the other was Ted Stanley, who was known as the “Pensioner.”
They later found out that Stanley was a retired solider, nor was he a pensioner, but was a bricklayer’s laborer who lived in Whitechapel. Timothy Donovan said that Stanley often spend Saturday to Monday with Annie. He also claimed that Stanley told him to send Annie away if she ever came to the lodging house with a different man. Stanley denied this claim and said that he had only visited Annie a couple of times.
Whatever her relationship might have been with him seemed to create trouble that Donovan remembered being involved in during Annie’s time at Crossingham’s. Sometime during the month before her murder, there was a big fracas between Annie and another lodger, Eliza Cooper. The details of what transpired, according to witnesses, is contradictory and confusing, with some blaming Harry the Hawker.
Eliza Cooper said that she loaned Annie a bar of soap, which had gave to Stanley who went to wash with it. During the next few days, Eliza asked several times for her to give the soap back, only to be dismissed by Annie who at one point tossed a ha’penny on the kitchen table and said “Go and get a halfpenny of soap.” The animosity between the two was apparent when they two met up a few days later in Britannia pub. This time, Annie slapped Eliza, screaming “think yourself lucky I don’t do more.” Eliza then punched Annie in the eye and then across the chest. Annie seems to have come off worse as the bruises were evident in Dr. Phillips post mortem. It’s important to remember that this is the account provided by Elize Cooper at the inquest of Annie Chapman, and she no doubt wanted to make herself out to be the injured party.
This caused Annie to spend her last days alive bruised and in pain, her health rapidly failing. Monday, September 3rd, Annie met up with her friend Amelia Palmer, and the bruising at the right temple was more noticeable. Her friend asked, “How did you get that?” and Annie responded by opening her dress and showing her the bruises that were on her chest. Amelia saw Annie the following day as well, and commented on how pale she appeared. Annie said she wasn’t feeling any better and that she might go to the casual ward for a few days. Amelia then asked her if she had anything to eat that day, and Annie said “No, I haven’t had a cup of tea today.” Amelia gave her two pence for food and warned her to not spend it on rum.
On September 7th, Amelia saw Annie for the last time around 5 PM. She looked worse and she said she felt “too ill to do anything.” Annie was still standing in the same spot when Amelia walked past her ten minutes later. This time she tried desperately to rally her sprits. The last words that Amelia heard Annie say were, “It’s no use giving way, I must pull myself together and get some money or shall have no lodgings.”
Just a bit before 6 AM, John Davis, an elderly resident of 29 Hanbury Street, came downstairs and opened the back door. The sight he saw caused him to reel back in horror. Moments later, two workmen walked along Hanbury Street and were startled when they saw a wild eyed old man stumbling into the street. He called them over. What they saw was the mutilated body of Annie Chapman.
Her head was angled towards the house and her clothes had been pulled up over her waist, exposing red and white striped stockings. A handkerchief was tied around her throat. She had already been wearing this when she was murdered, and the killer did not tie it on her to “stop the head from rolling away” as some places have stated.
She was covered in blood, and her hands had been raised and bent with palms pointed towards the upper portion of her body, which made James Kent thing that she had been struggling. The men raced in different directions to find a policeman. The horror of what he had just saw started to sink in with James Kent, which made him abandon his search and instead go for a brandy.
John Davis made it to the police station and moments later Joseph Chandler was heading towards the crime scene. After Davis secured the scene, he sent for Dr. Bagster Phillips. Phillips arrived around 6:30 AM. After a cursory glance at the body, he decided that she was beyond help. He stated:
“The left arm was placed across the left breast. The legs were drawn up, the feet resting on the ground, and the knees turned outwards. The face was swollen and turned on the right side. The tongue protruded between the front teeth, but not beyond the lips. The tongue was evidently much swollen. The front teeth were perfect as far as the first molar, top and bottom and very fine teeth they were. The body was terribly mutilated…the stiffness of the limbs was not marked, but was evidently commencing. He noticed that the throat was dissevered deeply; that the incisions through the skin were jagged and reached right round the neck…On the wooden paling between the yard in question and the next, smears of blood, corresponding to where the head of the deceased lay, were to be seen. These were about 14 inches from the ground, and immediately above the part where the blood from the neck lay.”
Once the body was taken to the mortuary, Inspector Chandler showed up and stated that nobody was to touch the body until the post mortem had been finished. He left, satisfied that they understood. Both he and Dr. Phillips were furious to find out that only two hours after Chandler had left two nurses, acting on the instruction from the Clerk of the Workhouse Guardians, had stripped and washed the body before the post mortem was carried out. Once the post mortem was completed, it revealed that the killer had cut Annie’s womb out and left with it.
At the crime scene, a freshly washed leather apron had been found. Coupled with the media frenzy, and the anti-Semitism, this caused full blown racial unrest. Shortly after Chapman’s murder, Sergeant William Thicke arrested John Pizer, who was supposedly “Leather Apron.” However, Pizer had an iron-clad alibis as to where he had been at the time of Annie’s death. He was cleared of any involvement.
On September 10th, 1888, a group of tradesmen and business men formed the Mile End Vigilance Committee, and Mr. George Lusk was elected as president. While films like to depicted these men as vigilantes, their actual purpose was to supplement the police and to raise money for a reward.
At the Annie Chapmen inquest, the Divisional Police Surgeon, Dr. Phillips, shared that he thought that Chapmen’s killer had murdered her in order to get her womb. Philips also thought that the skill and speed displayed in the removal of the organ suggested that the murderer had anatomical knowledge.
At the inquest, Coroner, Wynne Baxter caused waves when he said that the sub-curator of a Pathological Museum at the London Medical School had approached him with information about an American Doctor who had offered 20 pounds for every womb that he could provide. This, of course, created a sensation amongst the public, but the medical profession was quick to disprove Baxter’s allegations. Plus, this was not mentioned again at any of the other inquests of the subsequent victims.
Whitechapel upped their police presence on the streets to bring the killer to justice. While they didn’t get the killer, it seemed to deter him. By the end of September, the police presence had begun to relax, with many believing the murder spree was over.
But that would come to an end on September 30th 1888 when the Killer murder two women in less than an hour. Elizabeth Stride was the first murder that night. Elizabeth, also known as “Long Liz” spent her last night cleaning rooms in the lodging house number 32 Flower and Dean Street, where she had been living on and off for the previous six years.
The deputy keeper, Elizabeth Tanner, paid her sixpence for chores, and by 6:30 PM, Liz was quenching her thirst at Queen’s Head pub. By 7 PM, she had returned to the lodging house, and Charles Preston said that she dressed to go out. She briefly spoke with Catherine Lane, and left once more around 7:30 PM
The next time she was seen was at 11 PM when J. Best and John Gardner were certain they saw her sheltering in the doorway of the Bricklayer’s Arms on Settles Street. She was with a man who was about 5’5” with a black mustache, sandy eyelashes, and was wearing a black mourning suit with a billycock hat.
According to Best, he said they didn’t look willing to go out. He was kissing and hugging her, and they were astonished at how he was acting with the woman. The men couldn’t resist a bit of banter at the expense and said “Watch out, that’s Leather Apron getting round you.” They raced away from the men.
William Marshall was standing at 64 Berner Street at 11:45 PM when he saw a man and woman outside number 63. Marshall said the man was about 5’6”, clean shaven, and respectably dressed. At 12:30 AM, PC William Smith was walking along Berner Street on his beat and saw a man and woman on the opposite side of the road where Liz would be found. He said the man was about 28, with a dark mustache and dark complexion. He was about 5’7” with a dark overcoat, dark hat, and ark clothing.
The most important witness was the one who saw Liz within 30 minutes before her body would be discovered in Dutfield’s Yard. This witness was Israel Schwartz. At 12:45 AM, he saw a man walking ahead of him. The man stopped to speak with a woman who was standing at the gateway of Dutfield’s Yard. Schwartz was emphatic that the woman was Liz.
There is a good chance that Schwartz witnessed the early stages of Liz’s murder, he is possibly the only person who had saw Jack the Ripper. Therefore, his statement is worth close scrutiny, but he didn’t speak a lick of English, and gave his evidence through an interpreter. Plus, his statement did different in certain details at different times. However, the police seemed to have taken him seriously.
Schwartz said the man was 5’5”, around the age of 30, with dark hair, fair complexion, and a small brown mustache. He had a full face, broad shoulders, and looked to be a bit intoxicated. As Schwartz watched on, the man tried to force the woman out into the street, but spun her around, and threw her onto the footway where she screamed three times, but not loudly. Schwartz thought he was witnessing a domestic attack, and so he crossed the street so that he didn’t get involved.
As he did so, he watch a second man standing, lighting his pipe. As Schwartz walked past, the man who was attacking the woman shouted out, apparently to the second man, and said “Lipski,” at which point the second man started to follow him. Schwartz started to panic and began to run, and was able to lose his apparent pursuer by the time he got to the nearby railway arch.
Schwartz said that the second man was about 35, and around 5’11” tall, with light brown hair, a fresh complexion, brown mustache, and wore a dark overcoat, with a hard, black felt hat. This second man is a bit of a mystery. Some people believe that the killer had an accomplice.
However, the police tracked down the second man and eliminated him as a suspect. Since Liz was found at 1 AM, the sighting by Schwartz suggests she had to have been killed between 12:45 and 1 AM. For two violent attacks to have happened on the same women in the same area in the span of 15 minutes is too much of coincidence, so the man that Schwartz saw had to have been the man who killed Liz.
Louis Diemshutz, the steward of the International Working Men’s Education Club was returning to Dutfiled’s Yard when he turned his pony and cart into the yard when his pony refused to move any further. He looked into the yard and saw a dark form lying on the ground. He leaned forward and poked at it with his whip and tried to pick it up. When he couldn’t, he got down to investigate, striking a match to get a better view. The match went nearly immediately, but in those brief seconds, he saw it was woman.
He went to retrieve a candle, after making sure his wife was okay, he returned and saw the woman’s throat had been cut. He and other club members rushed to find a police constable. PC Spooner comes back to the crime scene. He lifted the woman’s chin and found that it was slightly warm. When Dr. Blackwell arrived at 1:16 AM, he said that the woman had likely been dead for 20 to 30 minutes.
He said that the woman had been wearing a check silk scarf, the bow of which had been turned to the left and pulled tightly. At the inquest, he had said that the killer had likely taken hold of the back of the scarf, pulled her backwards onto the ground, but he wasn’t certain if he had cut her throat while she stood or after she had been pulled backwards. When he cut her throat, he sliced through the windpipe, and she would not have been able to cry out. She would have bled to death in about a minute and a half.
Her body had not been mutilated, so the police believed that the killer was interrupted by Diemschutz as he was coming into the yard. This may have been why he went to find a second victim that night.
The second victim that night was Catherine Eddowes. At about the same time that Liz was discovered, another prostitute was being released from Bishopsgate Police Station. She had been arrested the night before after going to sleep on the road. She asked at 12:30 AM when she could leave, and the officer had said, “When you can take care of yourself.” She replied with “I can do that now.”
When she left the station, she headed off towards Houndsditch. Hutt, the arresting officer, estimated that with “ordinary walking” it would have taken her about eight minutes to get to Mitre Square, during with the murder of Liz was also heading towards the square.
PC Watkins walked through Mitre Square at about 1:30 AM and he was emphatic that the square had been deserted. Five minutes later, three men, Harry Harris, Joseph Hyam Levy, and Joseph Lawende left the Imperial Club and saw a man and woman quickly talking. The woman’s back was to them, but they could see she had her hand on the man’s chest. Levy was convinced that they were up to no good and he didn’t pay them much attention as he raced paced them. As such, he could not give a description of them.
However, Joseph Lawende was a little less disgusting and was more observant. While he hadn’t seen her face, he was certain the her clothing matched what Catharine Eddowes had been wearing. While the lighting wasn’t great, he saw the man’s face briefly. He said that he looked like a sailor and was around 30 years old. He was 5’9” and medium build. His complexion was fair and had a small mustache. He wore a reddish neckerchief, loose fitting jacket, and had a grey cloth cap. It’s important to remember that he only got a quick glimpse. He maintained that he would not be able to recognize the man if he saw him again.
Since her body would be found 15 minutes later in Mitre Square, just a few steps from where Lawende saw them, then there is a good chance that this man was the one that murdered Catherine. At 1:44 AM, PC Watkins turned onto Leadenhall Street and walked through Mitre Street and then into Mitre Square where he was met with horror. Catherine was lying on her back in a pool of blood and her clothes tossed over her waist. Her womb had been cut out.
He reached out to other police officers and by 1:55 AM Dr. Sequeira was on scene. He said that she would have died instantly once the murderer cut the windpipe and blood vessels. He did not believe the killer had anatomical skill, and only had some basic knowledge of anatomy. When asked if he thought that the murderer would be covered in blood, he replied with “Not necessarily.”
What is amazing is the fact that the killer likely escaped mere seconds before the body was found. Stranger sill is the fact that at the exact time that Catherine was heading into Mitre Square with her murderer, three plain clothed City Detectives, Edward Marriot, Robert Outram, and Daniel Halse, were patrolling the City’s eastern fringe. Yet the killer and slipped past all of them, undetected.
What has confused people more is why he escaped to the East and not the West. He had murdered twice in less than an hour, and he was, no doubt, well aware that the area would be filled with police. Yet, he didn’t head towards relative safety to the west, the north or the south, but rather he went into the streets where most of the activity that was directed to his capture. This suggested that he was going to his home or lodging, so there is a good chance that he was a local man.
While the police was searching the streets of the East End of London, one police constable, Alfred Long, found a clue. He came across the bloodstained apron in the doorway of an apartment. Written in chalk on the wall above where the apron was located was a message that read, “The Juwes are the men that will not be blame for nothing.” He spelled Jews J U W E S.
This message was debated by the police. Some wanted to get rid of it so that it didn’t cause more racial unrest. The City Police wanted to photograph it as they thought it was an important lead. Sir Charles Warren, of the Metropolitan Police, arrived at 5:30 AM at demanded it be erased.
In the wake of what had become known as the “double event” the police decided that they were going to make public a letter that they had received a few days earlier that had been sent to London News Agency. The letter was written in red ink and it was assumed that the killer had written it and boasted that the police “won’t fix me yet.” He gloated about what he had done to his victims and stated what he was going to do to the next. The author had signed it “Jack the Ripper.” As soon as the letter became public, the name “Jack the Ripper” caught on and turned those murders into an international phenomenon.
Unfortunately, the police soon realized that releasing the letters had been a mistake. The police quickly figured out that the letter had not been written by the killer, but was written by a London journalist. However, such was the allure of the name, people started sending in more fake letters with same, or similar, signatures. This caused the investigation to come close to a meltdown.
The most famous of the fake letters was sent to Mr. George Lusk, the president of the Vigilance Committee, in mid-October 1888. This famous letter was addressed “From Hell” and it held half a kidney, which, according to the letter, had been taken from a victim. Despite the fact that the media thought that the kidney was taken from Catherine Eddowes, the consensus amongst the doctors and police was that it was a sick prank carried out by a medical student. However, October passed without another murder, pulling the citizens into a false sense of security as November arrived.
This security was crushed on November 9th, 1888 when the body of Mary Kelly was found in her room at 13 Miller’s Court. Mary Kelly was on 25 years old, and was the youngest of the Ripper’s victims. For the eight months before her death, she had been renting a room in Miller’s Court. Up until two weeks before her death, she was living there with an unemployed Billingsgate fish porter named Joseph Barnet. His lack of earning was what made Mary resort to prostitution.
In late October, Mary invited a homeless prostitute, named Julia, to stay with them. This was too much for Joe and he moved out. Maria Harvey, a laundress, has said she staying in Kelly’s room on Monday and Tuesday night prior to the killing. She had spent Thursday afternoon with Mary as well. Then Joe Barnet arrived around 7 PM and Maria left, leaving behind her black crepe bonnet, an overcoat, two dirty cotton shirts, a boys shirt, and a girls white petticoat.
Joe was with Marry from 7 to 8 PM that night. He had said that another woman was with them for awhile, but that she left first. It is unlikely that this woman was Maria Harvey, since he knew her and would have mentioned her by name. He also said that the woman lived in Miller’s Court, which meant that he could have been referring to Lizzie Albrook. After Joe left, he returned to his lodging house on Bishopsgate.
At around 4 AM on November 9th, two neighbors said that they heard a faint cry of “Oh Murder!” But the cry of murder was a regular one in the area and normally meant that a drunken brawl was taking place, or domestic violence was occurring. It was normally for the ones on the receiving end of the violence to scream “murder.” Residents weren’t looking to get involved, so they typically ignored the cries, as did the neighbors of Mary Kelly.
At 10:45 AM, John McCarthy, the landlord, sent Thomas Bowyer to 13 Miller’s Court to collect Mary’s overdue rent. He banged on the door, but nobody answered. No doubt thinking that she was hiding inside but unwilling to pay up, Bowyer stepped around the corner and pulled aside the curtain that was covering a broken window pane.
In moments, the ashen faced Bowyer staged into McCarthy’s shop. Bowyer said, “Governor, I knocked at the door and could not make anyone answer. I looked through the window and saw a lot of blood.” McCarthy’s horrified response was “You don’t mean that.” The two men hurried back to the Miller’s Court. McCarthy peeked inside and an unimaginable horror met his eyes.
The wall behind the bed was covered with blood. A pile of bloody flesh was on the bedside table. On the bed, a barely recognizable human laid. It was the virtually skinned down cadaver of Mary Kelly. The fetched a police officer. Inspectors Walter Dew and Walter Beck were talking inside of the police station when Bowyer got there. Dew recalled “The poor fellow was so frightened that for a time he was unable to utter a single intelligible word. At last he managed to stammer out something about ‘another one. Jack the Ripper. Awful. Jack McCarthy sent me.’”
Both inspectors saw the horror, and neither could shake it from their memories. Dew wrote about it in his memoirs 50 years after it happened. Mary’s body was on her bed, her head turned towards the window. Her face and been mutilated beyond recognition and one thing stuck out for Inspector Dew, “The poor woman’s eyes. They were wide open, and seemed to be starting straight at me with a look of terror.” The mutilation to her face was so severe that Joe had only been able to identify her by her eyes and ears.
Dr. Thomas Bond performed the post mortem. While today we have become accustomed to gruesome sites and stories through games and television, Dr. Bond’s clinical retelling of her injuries is quite disturbing, so I must warn you want I am getting to read could be triggering.
Dr. Bond wrote in his post mortem saying:
“The body was lying naked in the middle of the bed, the shoulders flat, but the axis of the body inclined to the left side of the bed. The head was turned on the left cheek. The left arm was close to the body with the forearm flexed at a right angle & lying across the abdomen. the right arm was slightly abducted from the body & rested on the mattress, the elbow bent & the forearm supine with the fingers clenched.
The legs were wide apart, the left thigh at right angles to the trunk & the right forming an obtuse angle with the pubes. The whole of the surface of the abdomen & thighs was removed & the abdominal Cavity emptied of its viscera.
The breasts were cut off, the arms mutilated by several jagged wounds & the face hacked beyond recognition of the features. The tissues of the neck were severed all round down to the bone.
The viscera were found in various parts viz: the uterus & Kidneys with one breast under the head, the other breast by the Rt foot, the Liver between the feet, the intestines by the right side & the spleen by the left side of the body.
The flaps removed from the abdomen and thighs were on a table. The bed clothing at the right corner was saturated with blood, & on the floor beneath was a pool of blood covering about 2 feet square…The face was gashed in all directions the nose cheeks, eyebrows and ears being partly removed. The lips were blanched & cut by several incisions running obliquely down to the chin. There were also numerous cuts extending irregularly across all the features.”
This is the last of the known Jack the Ripper killings, but several more names of later murders appear on the murder file. Rose Mylett was found dead on December 20h, 1888, but she had not been mutilated. While the papers speculated that the Ripper had killed her, the police doctors conclude that he death had been accidental. However the jury and coroner at her inquest did not agree and returned the verdict of “murder by person or persons unknown.”
Then they believe the Ripper had returned with the murder of Alice McKenzie. She was found on July 17th, 1889. She had two stab wounds to her throat and long wound that ran from her left breast to her navel. While some thought it was Jack the Ripper, the general consensus was that she was not one of his victims.
Then, on September 10th, 1889, a mutilated torso of an unidentified woman was discovered under a railway arch in Pinchin Street. Police Commissioner, James Monro thought the MO was different to Jack the Ripper’s and ruled her out as one of the victims.
The last of the Whitechapel murders was Frances Coles. She was found at 2:20 AM on February 13th, 1891. Her throat had been cut, but there were no other mutilations. The fact that she had still been alive when she was found made the police think that the killer had been interrupted, as was the case with Elizabeth Stride.
When it was discovered that she had spent her last days with a sailor by the name of Thomas Sadler, and that he had not only been involved in several drunken altercations around that time, and he had sold a clasp knife shortly after her murder. The police arrested him and thought he was a good suspect for the murder of Frances, as well as all of the others. However, the case against him quickly collapsed and cleared him from any involvement and was released.
After the murder of Frances Coles, the file of the Whitechapel Murders was closed.
It wasn’t until over the last few years that people have come to understand the Ripper’s modus operandi. Ripper and his victim started out facing each other. When she raised her skirt, the victim’s hands were occupied and rendered them defenseless. The Ripper then seized them by their throats and strangled them until they were unconscious or dead. The autopsies always revealed that they have been strangled. The Ripper then lowered them to the ground with their head facing to his left. The fact that the back of their heads were not bruised meant that he lowered the bodies to the ground slowly instead of throwing them or just letting them fall. Give the weather and the filth in the streets, neither the prostitutes nor their clients would have attempted to have sex on the ground. Once the women were down, he would slit their throats. This helped keep the killer from being covered in blood. By slicing from the victim’s right to the left of her throat, the blood would flow out opposite of him. If the strangulation had killed the victim, then the blood would not have spurted out as much. The Ripper than made his other mutilations, still at the victim’s right, or possibly straddling them. There was never any since of intercourse or masturbation. He would typically take a piece of the victim’s viscera as a trophy. Given the fact that the murders were done at night, with dim light, and the fact that he had to keep an eye out for passersby, the Ripper had to have had some experience with a knife.
Given the time, the only way that they could prove a person committed a murder was to catch them in the act, or get them to confess. Sir Melville Macnaghten, Chief Constable, wrote a report where he named his three top suspects. His first suspect was MJ Druitt, a barrister turned teacher who committed suicide in December 1888. Unfortunately, he wrote everything from memory and his details about Druitt were wrong. He said Druitt was 41 and killed himself right after the Kelly murder. Actually, Druitt was 31, not a doctor, and killed himself almost a month after the last official murder.
Detective Abberline thought that the wife poisoner, Severin Klowsowski, aka George Chapman, could have been the killer. Nobody else has concurred these beliefs and profiling science tends to reject this idea.
The second suspect of Macnaghten’s was Aaron Kosminski. Supposedly, Kosminski had been put away in an insane asylum after the crimes, and then died not long after. But problems have been found with this theory. Aaron Kosminski was a real person who had been placed in an insane asylum. Records said that he was harmless and docile and that he heard voices in his head and would only eat out of a gutter. The dates of when he was incarcerated were wrong, and he didn’t die soon after being committed. In fact, he lived until 1919. Researchers have suggested that the name Kosminski was confused with another insane person who was dangerous.
The third suspect of Macnaghten was Michael Ostrog. He was investigated, but there is no evidence to suggest that he was anything more than a demented con man.
The latest credible suspect was Dr. Francis Tumblety. A collector of crime memorabilia obtained a cache of letters that belonged to journalist GR Sims. Among those letters were ones from John Littlechild, who was in charge of Scotland Yard at the time of the murders. Dated 1913, Littlechild writes to Sims: “I never heard of a Dr. D in connection with the Whitechapel Murders but amongst the suspects, and to my mind a very likely one, was a Dr. T… He was an American quack named Tumblety…” There is a book by the collector that goes to great lengths trying to prove that it was Tumblety who was the killer. Unfortunately, he is unable to do so. There is no doubt that Tumblety was a suspect and that when he fled to America, Scotland Yard detectives cane to investigate him further. It is unlikely that they continued to view him as a suspect.
The chance that the identity of Jack the Ripper will be discovered is slim to none. Not only has it been over a century since the murders took place, but the evidence is minute and circumstantial for all of the possible suspects.