Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper was an unidentified psychotic serial killer who had murdered 5 women in London’s Whitechapel District in 1888. 5 women who were known to be prostitutes in the Eastern London were brutally killed by slitting their throat and mutilating their abdominals. The killer had also taken internal organs of 3 women with him. This unidentified murderer was later on known infamously known as Jack the Ripper. He was also known by different names like Whitechapel Murderer and Leather Apron. The Killer was known to be Jack the Ripper as he had signed himself as “Jack the Ripper” in the first letter that he sent to claim the murder that he had done.

There were 11 murders allegedly committed by Jack the Ripper between April 3rd 1888 and February 13th 1891 but the police failed to connect all the murders to be done by a single victim. The 11 women were Emma Elizabeth Smith, Martha Tabram, Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, Mary Jane Kelly, Rose Mylett, Alice McKenzie, Frances Coles, and an unidentified woman, out of which, Mary Ann Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes, Mary Jane Kelly were 5 canonicals killed by Jack the Ripper.

Even though the murderer was constantly behind women, the women who were known to be prostitutes never stopped prostitution due the low economy and money the citizens of Eastern part of London had due migration of thousands of Irish people and Jewish refugees in London.

Despite of repeated murders happening in and around Whitechapel, the metropolitan police were never able to catch or even trace the criminal. Jack the Ripper was one of those beings who remained mysterious until now.

Murders:

There are 5 murders that are often associated with Jack the Ripper, but there is an anomaly which says that the total number of crimes or murders committed by Jack the Ripper was actually 11 and not 5.

These are the 5 Victims:

Mary Nichols

The first victim of Jack the Ripper was Mary Ann Nichols, a 43-year-old female who was murdered on August 31st 1888. On August 31st 1888 at around 3:40 am in Bucks Row Street of Whitechapel, a carter named Charles Cross came across a dark object lying on the pavement which was actually the body of Mary Nichols. Another carter named Robert Paul also came there at that moment after which both of them went near her to check the situation. Charles touched her to find that her face was still warm but her hands and legs were cold, and he felt a little movement around her chest. In the darkness they noticed that the women dress was scrambled but didn’t notice that the women’s throat was almost completely slit. They decided to inform police on their respective ways to work. After few minutes a beat police constable named John Neil came to the spot which he had already been to before 30 minutes. John along with help of another Beat police contacted a doctor named Dr. Llewellyn who visited the site and declared her dead. It was declared that she was killed on the same spot as she was found. The last person to have seen and met Mary alive was her friend Emily Holland who had met her at grocers’ shop in Osborne Street at 2:30 am, where she found Mary was drunk and said she wanted money for lodging due to which she had to make money by prostitution but had lost all the money getting drunk, and she said she is going to make some money one last time and walked towards Whitechapel Road where she was murdered and mutilated. At the time of murder, she only had a small mirror a comb, and a handkerchief.

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Mary Nichols
Mary Nichols
Murdered Location
Murdered Location

Annie Chapman

The second victim of Jack the Ripper was Annie Chapman who was murdered on 8th September 1888. She was a nomadic woman living in Crossingham’s lodging house (No. 35) of Dorset Street was selling flowers to earn money and was also a casual prostitute. She Allegedly had arguments with her fellow lodger named Eliza Cooper which led to physical altercation between them another day which left wounds on Annie. Amelia Palmer a friend of Annie had met her couple of times in 2 days where in she observed Annie was ill. Amelia who tried to console Annie got to know that Annie wasn’t in a condition to work anymore, so she handed her 2 pence to get food but Annie had spent it on drinks in a nearby bar at around 5 am and as soon as a man wearing a small hat called her out, after which she went to the Hanbury Street. At 5:30 am Elizabeth Long, a neighboring resident had seen Annie talking with a five-footer dark complexioned forty-year-old man. At 6 am an old man residing in 29 Hanbury Street walked along a narrow passage and opened the back door and saw the brutally mutilated Annie Chapman body. The old man then came out to call 2 other men and they all ran in different directions to finally lodge a complaint in Commercial Street police station. Her face and hands were immersed in blood and a kerchief tied to her neck. 2 pills, a comb and a torn envelope was recovered near her body. After having heard of testimonials, conducting investigation, and medical examinations, still the police failed to trace the criminal.

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Annie Chapman
Annie Chapman
Backyard
Backyard

Elizabeth Stride

The Third victim of Jack the Ripper was Elizabeth Stride born as Elisabeth Gustafsdotter was 44 when she was murdered 30th September 1888. She lived in a lodging house (No. 32) for six years. At 6:30 pm Elizabeth was seen having a drink in the nearby bar named Queen’s Head Pub in the commercial Street, at 7:30 pm she dressed and left the lodging house. She was seen by two men named J. Best John Gardener in Settles Street with a man who was around 5’ 5 tall, had a black moustache and was wearing a black suit with a hat. They both were seen hugging each other, so these two men bantered out at the women saying, “Watch out, that’s Leather Apron getting around you!”. The couple who was embarrassed walked towards Commercial Street without minding the rain. At 11:45 pm they were again seen in Berner Street by a man named William Marshall. At 12:30 am, a beat PC named William Smith saw a man and women at the Dutfield’s Yard where Elizabeth Stride’s body was later discovered. Elizabeth Stride’s murder actually had a person considered as witness of the murder. It was a person named Israel Swcharz. He saw a man walking on the road had stopped to talk to women who later he identified as Elizabeth Stride. He noticed that the man had lifted the women and threw her onto the footway. Israel thought it was just another domestic violence, ignored it and went forward. The man called and man who was around 5’11, who then started following Israel. So, Israel had to outrun the man to a safer place. On 19th October 1888, Police Inspector Swanson confirmed that they didn’t suspect the second man. And as usual Jack the Ripper remained mysterious.

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Elizabeth Stride
Elizabeth Stride
Berner Street
Berner Street

Catherine Eddowes

The fourth victim of Jack the Ripper was 46-year-old Catherine Eddowes who was murdered within 1 hour, on the same day as Elizabeth Stride was murdered in the same locality. At the same time when Elizabeth Stride was murdered near Commercial Street, Catherine Eddowes was being released from the Bishopsgate Police Station. She was actually arrested the previous day as she was drunk and had no control over her body due to which she was on the road. So, the police had enquired the onlookers about her and found no information, so PC Robbin along with PC George Simmons had to take her and lock in prison. A day after that, on 30th September 1888, Catherine Eddowes gained consciousness and asked PC George Hutt, if she could leave the police station, upon his permission she left the police station at 12:55 am and went towards Mitre Square. Catherine was said to be seen talking with a man by three Jewish men who later on confirmed that in police station. At 1:44 am PC Watkins who was walking from Leadenhall Street to Mitre Square saw Catherine Eddowes horrifically laying on the ground murdered. Police Superintendent James McWilliam ordered to search everywhere in the colony, but didn’t find a clue.

As the murder of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes were killed on the same day, same hour, same locality, these two events of murders are often referred as “Double Event”.

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Catherine Eddowes
Catherine Eddowes
Mitre Square
Mitre Square

Mary Jane Kelly

The fifth and allegedly the final victim of Jack the Ripper was a 25-year-old Mary Jane Kelly who was murdered on 9th November 1888. Mary was living with a fish porter named Joseph Barnet who at that point in time was struggling to earn as he had lost his job for committing theft, and Mary hadn’t paid the rent of her lodging at Miller’s Court residence, this made her to persuade prostitution. Mary was sick of her life and wanted to got to back to Ireland and live with her family but wasn’t having any money. After few days Joseph had moved out of the lodging to stay with his friends and had visited Mary on 8th November 1888 where he saw a friend of Mary with her. After having an hour-long chat, he and her friend both left the place at 7:45 pm. Later that evening, Mary was seen drunk in Ten Bells Public House. A fellow resident of Miller’s Court Residence named Mary Ann Cox had seen Mary returning to her lodge at 11:45 with a man who was around 35. They both went inside and shut the door. A laborer named George Hutchinson had met Mary at around 2:00 am, spoke with her and was on his way when he saw a man approached her and both went together. At 3:30 am Elizabeth Prater, a lady was asleep in her room which was exactly above Kelly’s Room heard someone crying out saying “Oh! Murder”, but she thought that was just a quarrel between a husband and wife and went to sleep again. On 9th September 1888 around 10:45 am, Mary’s landlord sent one of his men to get rent from Mary as she was on due already. The man went and banged on door but nobody responded so he checked for any other way to call her and found a broken window pane covered with cloth. He pulled off the cloth from the window and peered inside the room an saw Mary brutally mutilated and murdered on her bed. So, he informed this to the landlord, who then instructed to inform police about this. The man then ran to police station to inform this.

Jack the Ripper, who was murdering women on the streets had murdered Mary in her own lodge which gave him more time to mutilate her. It was medically testified that Mary was heavily mutilated and strangled.

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Mary Jane Kelly
Mary Jane Kelly
Dorset Street
Dorset Street

Letters and Postcards of Jack the Ripper – 

Dear Boss Letter

A Letter dated 25 September 1888 was sent to Central News Agency of London which was received by them on 27 September 1888 was allegedly written by Jack the Ripper. This is when the world got to know the name of unidentified psychotic serial killer. This Letter was believed to be unauthentic but the murder of Catherine Eddowes on 30 September 1888 was done in a similar way as the author had stated in the letter which said “clip the lady’s ears off”. The letter was sent to Scotland Yard on 29 September 1888 for investigation, but soon after the investigation was finished, the letter was not to be seen in the police official documents. The letter was missing until it was returned anonymously to the police. In 1931 two journalists of The Star newspaper named Fred Best and Tom Bullen confessed writing this letter to keep people interested in the case which in return increases the revenue earned by their newspaper publication, but if the statement of the journalists were true, how did the ‘clipping of ear’ written even before the murder had happened? This is still a mystery.

Dear Boss Letter's Envelope
Dear Boss Letter's Envelope
Dear Boss Letter From Jack the Ripper
Dear Boss Letter From Jack the Ripper
Dear Boss Letter From Jack the Ripper Page 2
Dear Boss Letter From Jack the Ripper Page 2

Saucy Jacky Postcard – 

There were other letters and postcards received by the Central News Agency of London one of them was called as Saucy Jacky postcard which was received on 1 October 1888 which stated about the double murder which took place the previous day on 30 September 1888. This postcard also went missing from the police documents just like the Dear Boss letter but as opposed to that letter, this postcard was never found and is still missing.

Saucy Jacky Postcard
Saucy Jacky Postcard
Saucy Jacky Postcard Page 2
Saucy Jacky Postcard Page 2

From Hell Letter

The other mysterious letter was called as “From Hell” which addressed to George Lusk, the chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. What makes the situation creepier is that, Jack the Ripper along with the letter had also sent a box which contained half cut kidney of Catherine Eddowes, a woman that he had murdered and he had also written that he had fried and ate the other half of it too, thus making this letter even more legitimate that it was written by Jack the Ripper.

From Hell Letter
From Hell Letter

Openshaw Letter – 

Allegedly the fourth and the final letter of Jack the Ripper had sent a letter which is known as “Openshaw Letter” to Thomas Horrocks Openshaw, a surgeon from London who had become the talk of the town after his involvement in the ‘kidney case’ of Jack the Ripper. Openshaw had identified the half-cut kidney of the murdered Catherine Eddowes was a left kidney, the unidentified murderer a.k.a Jack the Ripper wrote a letter stating the kidney was left one.

Openshaw Envelope
Openshaw Envelope
Openshaw Letter
Openshaw Letter

A fact to be noted here was that, there were 1000’s of letters and postcards received by News Agencies and offices of Police which were anonymous and claimed to be Jack the Ripper but they were later on known to be fake letters.

Investigation

Every time a murder is committed, police would conduct house to house investigation to find clues of murders. Special team of efficient police officers were formed int o a group, CID officers were appointed on duty in Scotland Yard, and many policemen were transferred to different locations to catch the criminal. Thousands of people were interrogated regarding the Whitechapel murders. Many men around the age of 35 to 40 having the described traits were suspected and later on released without any eye witnesses and evidences. The Commissioner of Police Sir James Fraser had announced of rewarding people £500 if they catch Jack the Ripper.  The official police documents containing information about the case and murders were destroyed during bombing in United Kingdom and many documents including letters and postcards went missing from the file. Even after intense investigation nobody was convicted as Jack the Ripper. Experts say, these murders were to be done by a surgical expert and he was definitely a sadist.

More Murders – 

These five murders were connected to be done by Jack the Ripper, but there were 2 more murders that happened in Whitechapel even before the first murder victim Mary Nichols, those were,

Emma Elizabeth Smith – 

45-year-old Emma Elizabeth Smith’s murder on Tuesday April 3rd 1888 who was assaulted and robbed by 3 members as she explained it herself before dying the following day.

Martha Tabram – 

39-year-old Martha Tabram was murdered on Tuesday 7th August 1888 by stabbing her neck 39 times.

There were 4 more murders committed after the 5 canonical murders, they were

Rose Mylett – 

26-year-old Rose Mylett was murdered on 20 December 1888 in Whitechapel but she showed no signs of struggle so was not confirmed if it was suicide or murder.

Alice McKenzie – 

40-year-old Alice McKenzie was murdered on Wednesday 17 July 1889 in Castle Alley, Whitechapel. It was believed that this murder was not done by Jack the Ripper but was imitated by some other killer.

Unidentified Female – 

On Tuesday 10 September 1889 an unidentified female body was found in Pinchin Street but she was stabbed and beaten before killing.

These 4 murders couldn’t be connected with Jack the Ripper’s deadly murders, so, nobody knows if it was done by Whitechapel Murderer also known as Jack the Ripper.

Whitechapel Street
Buck's Row
Thrawl Street
Whitechapel
George Lusk
George Sims

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