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Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2006
        March 29th, 2006 01:40 PM        

Jack the Ripper is an unidentified serial killer(s) who struck between August and November 1888 , in London’s East End community of Whitechapel, (population 76,000), a depressed area, with 39.2 percent of its citizens living in poverty.

Jack the Ripper there have been over 400 suspects in the Ripper case.

Prince Albert Victor the grandson of Queen Victoria
Dr. William Gull a Royal physician
Dr. Sir John Williams the founder of the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth and a personal friend of Queen Victoria, and her daughter Princess Beatrice's gynecologist
Montague John Druitt - Barrister and teacher
Walter Sickert – Artist
Francis Tumblety, a US "quack" doctor, arrested for gross indecency at the time of the murders alleged to have kept a collection of female organs.
Lewis Carroll, born Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, author of " Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"
Prince Albert Victor, a royal family ladies man.
James Maybrick, a murdered cotton merchant
Jack the Ripper is the first serial killer to achieve worldwide notoriety. Whitechapel industries were mainly boot and cabinet manufacturing shops. Employment was difficult to find, and jobs had poor working conditions, long hours, and low wages. Whitechapel was heavily inhabited with foreigners, and drifters. Criminals, prostitutes, and the poor lived in lodging houses. Whitechapel had sixty-three brothels, and more than 1,200 prostitutes. Many women working for low pay resorted to prostitution to survive. Prostitution had not a crime in Victorian England. Parliament cracked down on houses between 1885 and 1914, resulting in the closure of brothels which left women on the streets and at risk. The poor East Enders were ignored by affluent London society, until the murders drew attention to their plight.

The victims were poor, aging, prostitutes with drinking problems. They were strangled before their throats slashed. Their organs were surgically removed from their mutilated bodies. The murders occurred only on weekends. There were no witnesses and few leads. Local tradesmen beat the streets at night. Bystanders were questioned. Everyone was suspicious of everyone else especially anyone talented with knives. Since it was believed that no sane person could commit these crimes the mentally ill became suspect. Attempts were made to round up the mentally unbalanced of Whitechapel and send them to asylums. Those who confessed to be the Whitechapel killer were fined or sent to an asylum. The popular theories were that the killer was either a religious fanatic ridding the world of prostitution or a medical doctor. The doctor theory was based on the anatomical knowledge the murderer showed.

The five murders consistently attributed to the killer are:

"Polly" Mary Ann ( Walker) Nichols was born on August 26, 1845, and murdered on Friday, August 31, 1888. she had no missing organs. Nichols was found on a public street.

Eliza Ann "Dark Annie" (Smith) Chapman was born September 1841, and killed on Saturday, September 8, 1888. "Dark Annie" was murdered in daylight and found in a back yard. Her uterus was taken out. At her September 26 inquest, Dr. Wynne Baxter said the procedure could not have been performed by a butcher but someone with anatomical/ pathological post-mortem expertise. Other medical experts disagreed claiming the killer showed little or no medical knowledge.

Elisabeth “Elizabeth” Stride (Gustafsdotter ), "Long Liz" born in Sweden on November 27, 1843 was killed Sunday, September 30, 1888. She was not missing any organs.

Catherine Eddowes , aliases "Kate Conway" and "Mary Ann Kelly," born April 14, 1842, was killed on Sunday, September 30, 1888 within the City of London. Her uterus and a kidney were removed and she had facial mutilations. During her mid-October 1888 inquest, medical experts argued about the level of expertise displayed by the killer. Some experts maintained that the killer was an experienced surgeon while others claimed it could have been a butcher.

Former Bedfordshire police murder squad detective Trevor Marriott investigated the murders for 10 years said both victims were found within 12 minutes.

"It is highly unlikely that the murderer would have stopped a second time to murder a second victim in such a short space of time"

Whitechapel had a large Jewish immigrant population of about 35,000 Russian and German Jews escaping religious persecution. Jewish immigration increased anti-Semitism in England. Local tensions grew as it was alleged that the jobs were jobs going to new-comers.

After the two murders early September 30, Constable Alfred Long found a bloodstained scrap of fabric cloth from Eddowes' apron. Above a message was written on the wall in white chalk:

"The Juwes are the men That Will not be Blamed for nothing." Or “The Juwes are not The men That Will be Blamed for nothing."

Rumors circulated that the killings were committed by a Jew called “Leather Apron." Fearing an Anti-Semitic riot, Police Superintendent Thomas Arnold ordered the graffiti erased. The graffiti was removed by 5:30 a.m. but

City of London Police officers disagreed with Arnold's order, the graffiti should have been documented with a photograph, first but it was not.

Mary "Marie Jeanette” Jane Kelly, aka "Ginger" was younger than the other victims. She was born in Ireland in 1863 and murdered indoors on Friday, November 9, 1888, with extensive mutilations. Her heart was missing and her internal organs were removed and left in her room.

Former Bedfordshire detective Marriott believes there were more victims.

"My findings suggest that there may well have been two other similar murders after the police closed their file."

Police and newspapers received thousands of letters. Hundreds of letters claim to be from the killer. None of the letters have been established as credible.

A "Dear Boss" letter , to the news dated September 25, 1888, received September 27, promised to "clip the ladys ears off." On September 29, it was forwarded to Scotland Yard. Police published the letter October 1, hoping the handwriting would be recognized.

On October 1, 1888, a "Saucy Jack" postcard was received by the news with similar handwriting to the "Dear Boss" letter. It stated that Stride and Eddowes were killed near one another. The letter believed to be a hoax by most experts, was postmarked more than 24 hours after the murders. It is believed these letters were created by a journalist trying to sell papers.

George Bernard Shaw made a statement about the press in the Star:

“Whilst we Social Democrats were wasting our time on education, agitation and organization, some independent genius has taken the matter in hand, and by simply murdering and disemboweling four women, converted the proprietary press to an inept sort of communism.”

A letter "From Hell" postmarked October 15, 1888 was received by the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee on October 16, along with half a human kidney in ethyl alcohol. A doctor determined the kidney was similar to the kidney taken from Eddowes.

On October 29 1888 another letter was mailed.

"Old boss you was rite it was the left kidny I was goin to hopperate agin close to your ospitle just as I was goin to dror mi nife along of er bloomin throte then cusses of coppers spoilt the game but I guess I wil be on the job soon and will send you another bit of innerds. Jack the Ripper."

By early November the hysteria and terror grew. East End arrests drew crowds and innocent men were almost hung.

Dr. Francis Tumblety, a quack from the United States was linked to the killings because he was rumored to keep female organs. He was arrested once for indecency.

Another suspect was Queen Victoria's grandson, Prince Albert Victor. There were unverified stories about him living with a mistress in the tawdry East End. Other experts content he wasn't near London when the murders occurred.

Some believe James Maybrick, a 19th Century cotton merchant from Liverpool was the killer. The diary alleged to belong to him made public in the early 1990’s, contains a confession to the killings. Its authenticity is a matter of debate.

On a May 2001 research mission at Scotland Yard for a Scarpetta novel, after Patricia Cornwell, a detective and novelist met expert Deputy Assistant Commissioner John Grieve Ripper she became involved with the case. Research was difficult due to the English police practice during the 19 th century of destroying all reports when the case detective retires. In her book, Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper - Case Closed, she accuses eccentric British impressionist artist, Walter Sickert, Whistler’s apprentice and an associate of Degas, His art depicted women being assaulted. Sickert was cremated when he died in 1942. The Virginia Institute for Forensic Science and Medicine ( Cornwall helped found with a $1.5 million endowment) investigated 250 Ripper letters. She purchased over 30 of his art pieces and even cut one painting up in an attempt to uncover evidence.Cornwell believes his 1908 painting of a murdered prostitute was in the same position victim Mary Kelly was found in. Comparison of notes from the Ripper and Sickert’s papers, drawings and paintings, led to a salivary mitochondrial DNA match. She purchased Sickert's artwork and writings and developed a profile based in part on his drawings and paintings, depicting brutal abuse of nude females.

"Sickert had contempt of all people. He thought he was smarter than everybody."

Cornwell's claims 99 percent certainty that Sickert, 28 when the killings began, is Jack the Ripper. Scotland Yard suspected Sickert as well. Cornwell believes Sickert stopped killing in Whitechapel when it became too risky but kept killing. She investigated unsolved homicides in the English countryside, and a French coastal town.

"I am suspicious that he also killed children. There is a sort of pedophiliac interest ..."

Michael Gordon, author of "Alias Jack the Ripper: Beyond the Usual Whitechapel Suspects” says Jack the Ripper didn't write the letters.

Marriott disagrees with the suspects named by researchers and investigators.

"Most of the main suspects put forward aren't worthy of being classed as suspects. Some of them have been hyped up by publicity and media over the years to suit their own means."

Tony Williams claims Dr. Sir John Williams, his grandmother's great-great uncle, born at Blaenllynant, Gwynfe, Carmarthenshire, in 1840, was the killer. Sir John, the founder of the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth and a personal friend of Queen Victoria, and her daughter Princess Beatrice's gynecologist treated all the victims. He performed an abortion on Mary Anne Nichols in 1885. As a relative, Tony Williams had access to Sir John's personal effects at the National Library of Wales including a large knife, he believes was used to commit the murders.

"I started researching Sir John because I was proud he was my relation. While I was researching, I read in his diaries and medical notes in the national library that he knew the Ripper's first victim Mary Anne Nichols. Other diaries and medical notes in London and Cardiff revealed that Sir John knew all five victims, had treated them all and had links to Whitechapel where the murders were committed. I think he was a Jekyll and Hyde-type character who may have been driven to commit murder because his wife could not have children. He was also known to be working on a cure for his wife's problem. I believe that knife, which still rests at the National Library of Wales may contain clues to the Whitechapel murders. If that knife could be examined using modern DNA techniques maybe there would be links to some of the victims."

A National Library of Wales spokesman dismissed Williams' research.

"The library thinks there's no basis for it at all. We're very proud of the contribution Sir John Williams made in bringing the national library to Aberystwyth."




Courthouse Steps Maven
Mar 2006
        April 5th, 2006 08:53 AM        

The legend of Jack of the Ripper – the first serial killer in recorded history – conjures up visions of fog shrouded streets, the sound of footsteps clicking loudly and menacingly on cobble-stoned alleys, visions of a fiend with evil eyes, thin fingers and a black medical bag dangling from them. The London tours that celebrate his life feed off that image.

Despite the dozens of books written about Jack the Ripper, books crammed with speculation about his identity and his motivation, the fact is no one knows anything about the actual man who committed the most infamous murders in crime annals. The only thing positively known about the Ripper is who his victims were. Over time, they’ve been all but forgotten. Who were they?

Over a period of six weeks in the late summer and early fall of 1888, the Ripper went on his rampage, killing and mutilating five prostitutes with an escalating fury. Despite the largest manhunt in London history, he managed to elude arrest even though he killed two of his victims within a stone’s throw of canvassing bobbies. Unlike almost all other serial killers, he vanished into thin air, disappearing as abruptly as he had arrived.

The murders occurred on weekends, his stalking done on Friday, Saturday or Sunday nights, suggesting a man who held a decent job working regular hours. How is it possible that so few clues were found? How could a man drenched in blood so simply disappear? How could he escape when one third of the police force, both undercover detectives and bobbies in uniform, were stationed in and near dozens of pubs and rooming houses, patrolling the same routes throughout the area every 15 minutes? Did he escape through the ancient but still vast underground labyrinth of London’s sewage system? Or was he himself a policeman?

The horrific murders sent fear throughout London, not just in the East End where they occurred. It probably didn’t help anyone’s peace of mind that Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jeykll and Mr. Hyde was playing at London’s Lyceum Theatre. Unlike poor Mr. Hyde, Jack was not an ogre. He might have been an over controlled, hedonistic murderer, but he surely did not look like one. He must have been charming, if not an out and out handsome specter of a man, for he managed to convince women, painfully aware of the dangers of a monster in their midst, to go off with him. He probably looked as nondescript as today’s Ted Bundy or Jeffrey Dahmer.

Though the police more than likely did not realize it at the time, they did create what could be loosely termed as a psychological profile of the killer, though it was based more on conjecture than viable proof. Because his victims showed no evidence of struggle or defensive wounds, it was suggested the killer was an inoffensive and respectable looking man who struck not only swiftly, but powerfully. Experts also suggested their man was a solitary eccentric, a man of great physical strength (after all, it takes a lot of strength to nearly decapitate a human head), suffering from homicidal or erotic mania and possessing a vengeful, brooding nature. The object of the attacks, they proposed, was neither rape nor murder, but mutilation.

One hundred years later, in 1988, the Institute of Forensic Sciences prepared an FBI psychological profile of the Ripper. The main characteristics are as follows: male in his late 20’s, a local resident of the area. He was believed to be employed and probably free from family obligations, as he kept rather late hours on the weekends. He was likely to have been in trouble with the police in a lesser capacity than murder, and was probably a loner. He was seen as having been abused as a child, perhaps by his mother. Really? Sounds a bit like the ‘profile’ the authorities had developed in 1888.

Though many law enforcement advances had been made by that summer in 1888 and crime scene photographs were generally taken, there still remained the common belief that a photograph of the victim’s eyes would reveal the killer in them. So much for scientific advancement. But it took time to adapt to new crime detection methods and detectives in 1888 did not have the luxury of DNA evidence or tools that could be utilized to examine microscopic evidence such as tissues, hair or clothing. Though blood could be tested to determine whether it was of animal or human origin, blood typing was not yet practiced. Still, what forensic medicine had been developed proved valuable. Though the method of establishing the time of death was fairly new in 1888 -- it was supported in court even though body temperature was still determined by touch and not yet by thermometer -- so was the fairly uncertain calculations used to estimate the onset of rigor mortis. The police did have the ability to identify posthumous bruising, the cause of death, and the ability to determine the nature of murder weapon used. In addition, the measurements of the knife wounds inflicted on Ripper victims allowed investigators to identify the type of instrument he used to murder and mutilate the women.

At the time, London’s East End and Whitchapel sections were considered to be the dumping grounds of society. Slum buildings, lodging houses (over 233 in Whitechapel alone), and dilapidated shops lined crooked and narrow cobble-stoned streets. Traders pushing loaded carts crowded the streets by day, hawking their wares while day workers roamed back and forth to slaughterhouses and meat markets, sometimes covered in blood. Sanitation was practically non-existent and the resulting filth and stench permeated the air hovering over the entire area. What would possibly lure Jack to such a place? The main attraction would appear to be the 62 known brothels and over a thousand prostitutes – no one knows exactly how many prostitutes plied their trade because many women resorted to ‘casual prostitution’ once in a while to make ends meet. For serial killers in general, and for Jack the Ripper in particular, prostitutes are the easiest prey.

Mary Ann Nicholls

The first woman to be positively identified as a Ripper victim was Mary Ann Nicholls. Though several books and historians claim three victims came before her, others dispute the possibility, citing that one ‘Jane Doe’ given the name ‘Fanny Fay’ was fictitious. The other two possible victims, Emma Smith and Frances Coles, are mentioned in the ‘Whitechapel Murders’ file of the Metropolitan Police, although at the time they weren’t believed to have met their demise at the hands of the Ripper.

Mary Ann Walker was born in 1845, making her 43 when she was murdered. At 19 she married William Nicholls and bore him several children, but around 1877 William ran off with another woman. Subsequently, Mary Ann began to drink. In 1880 they were divorced, William keeping the children. He paid Mary Ann a small living pittance until 1882 when he found out she was making a living as a prostitute. By 1888, Mary Ann, the mother of five children, still remained remarkably young looking for someone forced to live in such dire straits. At 5’2", with small features, high cheekbones and gray eyes, she probably had little trouble finding clients. But, unfortunately, during the pre-dawn hours of Aug. 31, she became the Ripper’s first victim.

Police Constable John Neil walked his beat, passing by Buck’s Row, just off Whitechapel Road at 3:30 that morning. A lone gas lamp at the end of the street provided feeble light and enough shadows to hide anyone who did not wish to be seen. All was quiet, no drunken disturbances, no brawls, just a dark and narrow, filthy street winding around dilapidated hovels and slaughterhouses. Upon his return to the location 10 minutes later, Neil found Mary Ann, her throat slit from ear to ear. It wasn’t until after she’d been carted to a makeshift mortuary that jagged incisions were found in her abdomen. Early conjecture was that Mary Ann had been murdered by one of the many gangs roaming the East End, a theory the police were quick to abandon a few nights later when the mutilated body of a second prostitute was discovered on Hanbury Street, less than a mile away.

Annie Chapman

Annie Smith was born in Windsor in 1841. After her marriage to John Chapman in 1869, the couple lived in West London. Shortly before one daughter’s death in 1882, Annie abandoned her family. Friends and family members claimed her marriage was destroyed by Annie’s alcoholism and promiscuity, but her acquaintances disagree. Either way, she eventually ended up in Whitechapel, and by May of 1888 lived in a lodging house on Dorset Street. "Dark Annie" Chapman was also a small woman, 5’ tall, with dark brown hair and blue eyes. She led a rough life hawking her crochet work, selling flowers and other trifles, only occasionally resorting to prostitution to pay for a bed to sleep in each night. She spent the week following the attack on Mary Ann Nichols arguing off and on with a woman named Eliza Cooper. The argument, with occasional blows traded, left Annie with a black eye and bruises around her chest. On the evening of Sept. 7 and the early morning hours of Sept. 8, she reportedly told the deputy of the lodging house, who asked for her doss money, ‘Don’t let the bed. I’ll be back soon.’ (For a more complete transcript of the account, see ‘Jack the Ripper, A to Z’ by Begg, Fido & Skinner.) She never returned, though she was seen at about 5:30 on the morning of the 8th talking to a man outside of a house at 29 Hanbury St. Just before 6 a.m., her body was found in the backyard of the property. No effort had been made to hide her body, and oddly enough, what most witnesses who saw her body remembered were her striped wool socks, which peeked from beneath her rumpled skirt. Her face and tongue were swollen, pointing to her being choked to death, and two incisions on her neck had nearly decapitated her. Her abdomen had been ravaged, intestines lifted from the abdominal cavity and placed on her shoulder, her female organs removed and missing.

Residents of Whitechapel were now painfully aware that a madman lurked in their midst, but what could one do to protect oneself against the unknown? Almost three weeks passed without another attack, but just as the population began to hope the mad killer had moved on, the reprieve ended and he struck again, only this time with increased ferocity.

Elizabeth Stride

Elizabeth Stride, a 45-year-old woman of Swedish descent, had also been married, but the relationship was considered over even before the death of her husband in 1884. She ended up living from time to time at a common lodging house in Whitechapel from as early as 1882. By 1888, she had been arrested and convicted many times for drunkenness. On the evening of Sept. 29, she was briefly seen at her lodging house before leaving, and according to witnesses, apparently in a cheerful mood. She was spotted on several other occasions during the night and into the early hours of Sept. 30, the last time at approximately 12:45 a.m., when she was seen with a man outside Dutfield’s Yard on Berner St. At 1 a.m., a man drove his horse and cart into the Yard, only to discover Elizabeth’s still warm body. Police Constable William Smith, who’s beat encompassed Berner St., saw a man and a woman talking together at about 12:30 a.m. In hindsight… well, who’s to say? Elizabeth’s throat had been slit. Her autopsy recorded bruises on her shoulders, supporting the belief that she had been pressed to the ground and held there while her throat was cut. Perhaps due to the arrival of the cart and horse into the Yard, no additional mutilations were found on Elizabeth’s body. But the night was still waning.

Catherine Eddows

A short time later that night, Catherine Eddows, a 46-year-old with three children, was out and about on the darkened streets. She and her common-law husband also had separated due to heavy drinking and occasional bouts of violence that erupted between them. She had just returned to London from a brief period of hop picking in Kent. She told the manager of her rooming house that she had ‘come back to earn the reward offered for the apprehension of the Whitechapel murderer.’ After being warned to be careful, she replied, ‘Oh, no fear of that.’ (‘Jack the Ripper A to Z’)

At 8:30 on the evening of Sept. 29, she was arrested for drunken misconduct and taken to Bishopsgate Police Station and thrown into a cell to sleep it off. At 1 a.m. on Sept. 30, she was released. At 1:35 a.m., she was seen talking to a man near an entryway into Mitre Square, her hand resting on his chest. At 1:45 a.m., Police Constable James Harvey walked by the Square, but seeing or hearing nothing within, did not enter.

Police Constable Edward Watkins had entered the square from the opposite side at 1:30 a.m. On his first pass through, he shone his lamp into the corners and alleys leading off in three different directions, but saw nothing. On his second pass, he saw the body in the southwest corner and reported that ‘she had been ripped up like pig in the market’ and that her entrails ‘were flung in a heap around her neck.’ (For a complete account of witness statements, see ‘Jack the Ripper – The Complete Casebook’ by Donald Rumbelow) She was still warm. As with the others, her throat had been slit. Her intestines lay over her right shoulder and another short length of intestine lay on the other side of her body. Her face had been savagely mutilated, her eyelids cut, her nose and cheeks gashed. The tip of her nose was gone and her lips and mouth suffered knife damage as well. The autopsy discovered her womb missing.

Then another brief lull in the spree of murders. In early November, the Ripper attacked again, once again escalating the ferocity of the attack.

Today, it is understood and accepted as scientific fact that serial killers usually begin to degenerate, their grasp of control slips, and their passion and need for killing increases and accelerates. The murders grow closer together, as compared with the need of a drug addict who discovers that he must continually increase his dosage of a particular drug to maintain even a thread of ‘normalcy’ in his everyday life. So, it can probably be accepted that Jack the Ripper was on the verge of self-destruction and breakdown the night he met Mary Jane Kelly and went with her to her humble dwelling in Miller’s Court in the wee hours of Nov. 9, 1888.

Mary Jane Kelly

Mary Jane, 25, was the youngest of the Ripper victims, yet her life had been no easier than those lived by the others. She met and lived with a man named Joseph Barnett, but they lived a nomadic lifestyle, continually forced to move due to drunkenness and rent owed. They eventually ended up at 13 Miller’s Court on Dorset St. Mary Jane and Barnett were known to be a nice couple that only got into trouble if they became drunk. Her friends testified that Mary Jane had confided to them that she was afraid of the killer stalking victims in Whitechapel and was thinking about moving. She waited too long.

On the evening of Oct. 30, Barnett left Mary Jane, and though he continued to be friends with her, personal conflicts made it impossible for them to remain together. He gave her money when he could, but more than likely she drank it away, for she was once again forced to resort to prostitution to repay debts incurred even though she was in the first trimester of a pregnancy.

Barnett spent a few moments with her on the evening of Nov. 8 before Mary Jane took to the streets. Throughout the night, she was spotted by acquaintances on several occasions until around 2 a.m. when she was seen going into her room with a man. Three women who lived in the room above Mary Jane’s woke in the pre-dawn hours when they heard a cry of ‘Murder!’ from her room below.

Mary Jane was found at 10:45 that morning, lying on the bed in her room. Her throat had been slit, her head nearly severed. Her abdomen had been sliced open, both breasts removed. Her left arm, like her head, remained attached to her body by flaps of skin. Her nose had been cut off, her forehead skinned, as well as most of her legs, which were also flayed open to the bone. Intestines and other internal organs had been removed and her liver was found between her feet. Muscle tissue from her legs, along with her breasts and nose, were piled onto a nearby table. Due to the lack of defensive wounds, it’s clear that she offered no struggle and was quite possibly killed while she slept. The time of her death was determined to be sometime between 3:30 and 4 that morning.

Mary Ann ‘Polly’ Nicholls… ‘Dark Annie’ Chapman… Elizabeth ‘Long Liz’ Stride, Catherine Eddows and Mary Jane Kelly… brutally murdered, ravaged and then forgotten, almost an afterthought to the memory of the madman who so brutally murdered them. Annie Chapman was buried at Manor Park, Elizabeth Stride in Pauper’s Grave number 15509, in East London Cemetery. Catharine Eddowes was laid to rest in an unmarked grave in Ilford, while Mary Jane Kelly was buried at Walthamstow Roman Catholic Cemetery.

The search for the identity of Jack the Ripper continues. Medical/suspense fiction writer Patricia D. Cornwell has been bitten by the ‘Ripper-bug’, and has been conducting forensic studies of her own on documents still on file in Scotland Yard and elsewhere. But time has a way of hiding secrets, and some facts may never see the light of day. Any explanations of why Jack the Ripper began his rampage and why he stopped, if he did, will most likely never be answered.



Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2006
        April 23rd, 2006 08:06 PM        

In the year 1888, the city of London, England was terrorized by a killer who called himself "Jack the Ripper". The mysterious madman prowled the streets of the Whitechapel District in East London and slaughtered a number of prostitutes, carving his way into the historical record as the first "modern serial killer". As the years have passed, the Ripper has held the morbid curiosity of professional and amateur sleuths, armchair detectives and crime buffs alike. Having eluded capture in the 1880’s, his identity has been debated ever since. Not surprisingly, many suspects have been named as the Ripper over the years with the vast majority of them being British. There are those who believe Jack the Ripper may have actually been an American.

One of these infamous suspects lived and died in the city of St. Louis. His name was Dr. Francis J. Tumblety and suspicion about him being the Ripper came about in 1913, a number of years after the murders took place. In a letter dated on September 23, Inspector John Littlechild, head of the Special Branch in England, wrote to George Sims, a journalist about a medical man who may have been the killer. He was apparently replying to Sims about other possible suspects when he wrote:

"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 (which sounds much like a D). He was an American quack named Tumblety and at one time was a frequent visitor to London and on these occasions constantly brought under the notice of police, there being a large dossier concerning him at Scotland Yard. Although a "Sycopathis Sexualis" [sic] subject, he was not known as a sadist (which the murdered unquestionably was) but his feelings toward women were remarkable and bitter in the extreme, a fact on record. Tumblety was arrested at the time of the murders in connection with unnatural offenses and charged at Marlborough Street, remanded on bail, jumped his bail and got away to Boulogne. He shortly left Boulogne and was never heard of afterwards. It is believed that he committed suicide but certain it is that from the time the "Ripper" murders came to an end."

And while not all of Inspector Littlechild’s facts were correct, he did make an interesting case toward the American doctor being the fiendish killer. In fact, the idea was so compelling that when the letter resurfaced years later, the theory was later turned into flawed but fascinating book by two British police officers, Stewart P. Evans and Paul Gainey, called Jack the Ripper: First American Serial Killer.



Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2006
        April 23rd, 2006 08:06 PM        

But was the "medical man" the real Whitechapel killer? Let’s look into the facts and the fancy behind the intriguing suspect.

Francis J. Tumblety was born in Canada in 1833 and moved with his family to Rochester, New York at a very young age. Although uneducated, he was a clever man and became wealthy and successful as a homeopath and a mixer of patent medicines. There is no record as to whether or not these "snake oil" cures worked or not, but it is certain that Tumblety held no medical degree. He did claim to possess Indian and Oriental secrets of healing and good health and he was described as charming and handsome, so its not surprising that he made quite a bit of money in this questionable field.

When not charming customers, Tumblety was said to have been disliked by many for his self-aggrandizing and his constant boasting. He had a penchant for staying in fine hotels, wearing fine clothes and making false claims. Often these tall tales got him into trouble and he left town on more than one occasion just a step ahead of the law.

In the late 1850’s and early 1860‘s, Tumblety was living in Washington and from this period, the first stories of his deep-seated hatred for women began to surface. During a dinner party one night in 1861, Tumblety was asked by some guests why he did not invite any single women to the gathering. Tumblety replied that women were nothing more than "cattle" and that he would rather give a friend poison than see him with a woman. He then began to speak about the evils of women, especially prostitutes. A man who was in attendance that evening, an attorney named C.A. Dunham, later remarked that it was believed that Tumblety had been tricked into marriage by a woman who was later revealed to be a prostitute. This was thought to have sparked his hatred of woman, but none of the guests had any idea just how far the feelings of animosity went until Tumblety offered to show them his "collection". He led his guests into a back study of the house, where he kept his anatomical "museum". Here, they were shown row after row of jars containing women’s uteruses!

In 1863, Tumblety came to St. Louis for the first time and took rooms at the Lindell Hotel. As he recounted in letters, his flamboyant ways did not appeal to those in St. Louis and he claimed to have been arrested in both the city and in Carondelet, an independent city nearby, for "putting on airs" and "being caught in quasi-military" dress. Regardless of his claims, Tumblety most likely caused trouble during these troubled times in the city because of his apparent southern sympathies. In 1865, he was arrested on the serious charge of what amounted to an early case of biological terrorism. Federal officers had him arrested after he was allegedly involved in a plot to infect blankets, which were to be shipped to Union troops, with yellow fever. The whole thing did turn out to be a case of mistaken identity (an alias of Tumblety’s was remarkably close to a real doctor involved) but it’s likely that he would not have been suspected if not for some actions on his part. Tumblety was taken to Washington and imprisoned until the confusion over the plot could be cleared up and was later released. According to British records, Tumblety was then arrested again after the death of President Abraham Lincoln, this time as a conspirator in the assassination. He was again released but this time, his reputation was destroyed in Washington and he fled to New York. After that, he began traveling frequently to London during the 1870’s and 1880’s.

Although there has been much debate over the years as to how many victims that Jack the Ripper claimed, and just when the murders began, it is generally believed that the first killing occurred on August 31, 1888. The victim was a prostitute named Mary Ann Nichols. Her death was followed by those of Annie Chapman and Elizabeth Stride on September 8. On September 30, the Ripper claimed Catherine Eddowes. Organs had been removed from the bodies of both Chapman and Eddowes, including the latter woman’s uterus.

Just prior to the start of the murders, Dr. Tumblety had come to London and had taken lodgings in Batty Street, the heart of Whitechapel and within easy distance of the murder scenes. It is plain that he was watched closely by the police, especially after an incident involving a pathological museum. During the Annie Chapman inquest, police investigators heard information that has created the most pervasive and enduring myth of the Whitechapel murders, that of the Ripper as a surgeon. Only one medical examiner, arguing against all other expert testimony, believed that the killer had expert anatomical knowledge. He was basing his theory on a witness that claimed the killer was hunting for women’s uteruses to sell to an unknown American. This bizarre bit of testimony came about because Tumblety did indeed visit a pathological museum in London and had inquired about any uteruses that might be for sale. He apparently wanted to add them to his collection.

On November 7, Tumblety was arrested, not for murder, but rather for "unnatural offences", which was usually a reference to homosexuality but could also include procuring young girls. He was later released on bail, although when exactly that was has been a matter of debate for many years. According to some records, he was released on November 16 but according to others, he was actually let go on November 8. The entire theory of whether or not he was Jack the Ripper hinges on the date that he was released from jail!

The reason for this is that on November 9, the Ripper claimed his last victim. Her name was Mary Kelly and she was mutilated in ways that cannot be imagined in her own bed. She was butchered beyond recognition and a number of her organs were removed, including her heart and uterus.

If Tumblety was actually released on November 8, then he could have easily killed Mary Kelly. One account of the days following the murder states that he was arrested on suspicion of her murder on November 12, was released without being charged and then vanished from Whitechapel. On November 24, it is alleged that he took a steamer to France and then sailed from France to New York. Scotland Yard detectives were said to have pursued him to New York and while they kept on eye on him, had no evidence to arrest him and could not have him extradited for the still outstanding indecency charges. They eventually gave up and went home.



Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2006
        April 23rd, 2006 08:07 PM        

Those who do not believe that Tumblety could have been the Ripper give a different accounting of the days after Mary Kelly was killed. According to them, Tumblety was not released on bail until November 16. As Inspector Littlechild writes, he was then believed to jump bail and escape to Boulogne with the police pursuing him. From there, he booked passage to New York, where police staked out his lodgings. He escaped them however and vanished. He was not, as far as recorded, further pursued for his part in the killings. With that said, it would have been impossible for Tumblety to be the Ripper. If he were the killer, then someone would have had to copy and exceed his previous work on Mary Kelly while the doctor was still in jail. Most would agree that this seems highly unlikely.

But our story is not quite over. Regardless of what is written about the last days of Tumblety in London, all will agree that after his escape he did end up in St. Louis. He also traveled for a time, avoiding Washington but frequently visiting Baltimore, New Orleans and St. Louis. He continued to live in hotels and established no permanent residence in any of the cities. In April 1903 though, Tumblety checked himself into St. John’s Hospital and Dispensary at 23rd and Locust Streets in St. Louis. The hospital, which was then located in the old Catlin-Beach-Barney Mansion, provided care for indigents, which is how Tumblety was presenting himself at this time. The hospital is still in operation today as St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, located at Interstate 64 and Ballas Road.

According to accounts, Tumblety was suffering from a long and painful illness, although what it may have been has never been specifically identified. Some have suggested that it may have been a debilitating case of syphilis, the contraction of which might have been cause for his hatred of women and especially prostitutes. Whatever it was though, Tumblety remained at St. John’s until his death on May 28, 1903. However, he was far from indigent when he died. Court records showed that Tumblety left an estate of more than $135,000 when he died, some of which St. John’s managed to recover. The hospital asked for about $450 to cover the room expenses and medical tests for a man who was clearly not poor. The rest of the estate, except for costs to a St. Louis undertaker, went to Tumblety’s niece, Mary Fitzsimmons of Rochester, New York.

Aside from the hospital, there was one other claim to Tumblety’s estate. While the hospital’s costs can be seen as clearly legitimate, the additional claim was quite strange, especially in light of Tumblety’s clear prejudices on the subject. The challenge to a will that Tumblety had written on May 16 came from an attorney in Baltimore named Joseph Kemp. He claimed that Tumblety had written an earlier will in October 1901 that left $1,000 from his estate to the Baltimore Home for Fallen Women... in other words, a halfway house for prostitutes! The claim was thrown out of court but it does provide an interesting final note to the life of a man who has been suspected of being the most famous killer of prostitutes in history.



Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2006
        April 23rd, 2006 08:08 PM        

Tumblety was unquestionably odd and quite possibly deranged, but his insanity and deviousness never reached the bounds of another American Jack the Ripper suspect, Dr. Thomas Neill Cream. He thought of himself as a master criminal and his ego knew no bounds. He seemed to love to do evil and he was said to have revolutionized the concept of murder in the late 1800’s. His motives would later give much in the way of study to crime psychologists and just what he may have done (and when) continues to baffle crime historians to this day. He specialized in the murder of women and perhaps for this reason, and the fact that he was so adept at covering his trail, Cream emerged in John Cashman’s 1973 book The Gentleman from Chicago as a Ripper suspect. And while many have disputed these charges, Cream is worthy of mention as an American connection to the most heinous murders of the Victorian era.

Cream was born in Scotland in 1850 and immigrated with his parents to Canada four years later. Though little is known about his early life, his parents were hardworking and decent folks and Cream lacked for nothing when it came to education and comfort. Somewhere along the way though, some twist in his makeup caused him to develop an overwhelming hatred of women. Perhaps it developed in childhood or perhaps later, when he attended McGill University in Montreal to study to be a doctor. He qualified as a physician but years later, the college would remove his name from the graduate rolls to avoid being connected to his crimes.

During his senior year of college, Cream met and seduced a young woman named Flora Eliza Brooks. When it was discovered that the girl was pregnant, Cream performed a crude abortion on her and left Flora permanently scarred and weak for the rest of her life. Her parents, when they discovered what had occurred, forced Cream to marry the girl but he vanished soon after the nuptials and sailed for England in 1876.

In London, Cream enrolled in a post-graduate course at St. Thomas’ Hospital, which was located in the Waterloo-Lambeth section of the city, an area teeming with diseased prostitutes. It is believed that it is here where Cream first came into contact with the whores of London and where he also contracted syphilis. The effects of the disease on his brain have been blamed for his constant thoughts of murder and his psychopathic rages. It’s more likely though that he was simply mad.

Cream returned to Canada a few years later and set up practice in Ontario. He learned that his wife had passed away and while she is listed as having died of consumption, the horrific abortion at Cream’s hands undoubtedly contributed to her early demise. His medical practice was anything but savory and he soon earned a reputation for insurance fraud and performing illegal operations on women, especially abortions. He began a prosperous practice among local prostitutes and young women in trouble until the body of a young hotel chambermaid was discovered in his apartment one night with a bottle of chloroform beside her body. Cream had performed a savage abortion on her and it had failed, claiming her life. He was arrested and despite the evidence against him, the girl’s death was ruled a suicide and Cream was freed.

This would be the first of a series of miraculous escapes for Cream but it would not be the last. He now took his operation to the teeming red-light districts of Chicago. His career as an abortionist found him plenty of new patients among the dirty and sickly prostitutes of Chicago’s Levee districts. He seemed to enjoy inflicting pain on these women but his deviant desires were truly inflamed by the opportunity that sometimes arose to work on proper young ladies who had been compromised. One such woman was Julia Faulkner, who died on Cream’s operating table in August 1880. He was charged with murder but the Chicago authorities lacked proof and Cream was released once again. Detectives suspected that Cream had given Miss Faulkner a poison called strychnine in the guise of a painkiller.

In 1881, Cream struck again. After another abortion on a Miss Stack, she also perished after taking medicine that Cream prescribed and which was also laced with strychnine. Cream attempted to blackmail the chemist that he got the medicine from (some medicines contained a small amount of the poison in those days), stating that if he was paid off, he would keep silent about the bad mixture. The chemist, knowing that he was not at fault, turned the blackmail letter over to the police and Cream was arrested. Again he was tried and again he was turned loose for lack of evidence.

Cream then began marketing a special elixir that he had created and which he claimed would cure epilepsy. Amazingly, he acquired a considerable following of patients who swore by the medicine. Then, into his office one day walked Julia Stott, an attractive young woman who was looking for Cream’s epilepsy cure. Her husband, Daniel Stott, was a station agent on the Northeastern Railway and suffered from epilepsy. Cream began making advances toward Julia and found the woman receptive. She said that her husband’s illness and his advanced age had ruined her sex life.

It’s hard to imagine what could have attracted the beautiful woman to Cream. The doctor was a slight and scrawny man with thinning hair and gold-rimmed glasses through which he constantly squinted. He often gave off an appearance of being from the upper crust though with upscale dress and a bushy mustache that he kept waxed and turned up at the ends. Likely though, Julia’s attraction to him went beyond just looks as she spoke of the doctor as being “insatiable” and stated later that he “ravished” her several times during their first meeting.

Daniel Stott began to grow suspicious of his wife’s frequent trips to Cream’s office and suspected that he was giving Julia more than just medicine on these visits. Not surprisingly, Cream repaid the man’s suspicions by adding strychnine to his medicine and Stott died on June 14, 1881.

Originally, Stott’s death was attributed to epilepsy but for some bizarre reason, Cream wrote to the coroner and stated that a pharmacist was responsible, having given Stott some bad medicine. He suggested that Stott’s body be exhumed. The coroner dismissed the letter, not knowing that Cream was trying to collect on Stott’s life insurance for he and Julia or that Cream has also sent a letter to the district attorney. The prosecutor decided to check into the letter and had the body exhumed. An exam discovered that there was poison in Stott’s stomach, something that would have never been found if not for Cream’s letter.



Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2006
        April 23rd, 2006 08:09 PM        

Cream may have realized his blunder once the letters were sent and he soon fled the city with the widow Stott. They were quickly apprehended by the police. Cream insisted at his trial that Stott’s death had been the pharmacist’s fault but Julia turned state’s evidence against him and testified that she had seen Cream “put some white powder” into her husband’s medicine bottle. This time, Cream’s luck didn’t hold and he was sentenced to life imprisonment at Joliet Prison. He was admitted in 1881 and was regarded as a model prisoner who spoke little to the other inmates and always did as he was told by the officers. Over the years, the only complaints ever filed about him came from other prisoners who claimed to be awakened in the middle of the night to the sound of low, hissing laughter coming from his cell. At such times, he could be found sitting on his bunk, speaking to phantom women that appeared in his cell and promising them slow and agonizing deaths. He created detailed plans of revenge and of what sexual savagery he would wreak should be ever be released.

And then fate reared its ugly head in Thomas Neill Cream’s life again. In 1887, his father died and left his son a sizable sum of money. His accountant and bookkeeper, Thomas Davidson, wrote to Illinois authorities and requested the complete records of Cream’s trial. After studying the case, he became convinced that Cream was innocent of the charges that had sent him to Joliet. He began petitioning for Cream’s release and a number of family friends in Canada took up the cause, perhaps never realizing what sort of man their friend’s son had become. The petitions and letters arrived in Illinois by the bagful and finally, Governor Joseph W. Fifer relented and he commuted Cream’s sentence. He was released from Joliet on July 31, 1891.

Cream immediately went to Quebec and collected his inheritance. It’s likely that the accountant finally realized his mistake. He later wrote: “In my first interview with him, I concluded that he was unmistakably insane.”

Of course by that time, it was too late for the victims that still lay ahead.

Wealthy and free to do what he wished, Cream returned to England. He arrived in October 1891 and took rooms in a boarding house on Lambeth Palace Road, back in the slums that he had once reveled in. He told his landlady that he was at work on his postgraduate studies at St. Thomas’ Hospital but when he failed to see any patients or to keep any sort of office hours, he had to tell her that he had been ill and was no recovering from a strange disease. His eyes bothered him constantly, he explained, forcing him to take large doses of morphine and cocaine. His landlady replied that she hoped his health would improve.

A short time after his arrival, Cream went to work. He began visiting the local prostitutes and began killing them too. He met one such woman, Matilda Clover, just two days after he arrived and she later died from nux vomica poisoning, a liquid that caused vomiting and which was often prescribed by doctors as a tonic. The same fate also befell a woman named Ellen Donworth but as in the past, Cream was not charged with anything.

After a short break from murder, and an even shorter attempt at a love affair with a woman named Laura Sabbatini, Cream poisoned two other women, Alice Marsh and Emma Shrivell. He would have escaped detection in these crimes too but, as he did in Chicago, he inexplicably tried to place blame for the crimes on someone else. This time, he accused his neighbor of the murders and tried to blackmail him. He told a Walter J. Harper, a medical student who lived in the same boarding house, that he had incriminating evidence against him but that for a large sum of money, he would not notify the police. He wrote a letter to Harper’s father also and told him that his son was a murderer. The elder Harper did not respond, but he held onto the letter. Cream then wrote to the coroner and told him that Harper had committed the murders and that he had proof. He also wrote to John Haynes, a photographer who lived in his building, and told him the same thing. He constantly talked of the two dead women, often shocking his landlady with his vile descriptions of Harper’s alleged crimes.

It was finally John Haynes (after Cream took him on a guided tour of the murder sites) who went to detectives at Scotland Yard and told them of his suspicions about Cream being the killer. At that point, his attempts to blackmail Harper were also revealed and Cream was finally arrested. He went to trial in October 1892, proclaiming his innocence and capturing newspaper headlines across the nation. A number of people testified against him and only a sobbing Laura Sabbatini testified on his behalf. Cream’s tin box that contained vials of poison was placed on display in the courtroom and was later added to Scotland Yard’s infamous “Black Museum”.

There was a strange incident that jarred the proceedings of the trial. A letter was received and was read aloud in court by coroner Braxton Hicks. It read:

Dear Sir.... The man that you have in your power, Dr. Neill, is as innocent as you are. Knowing him by sight, I disguised myself like him, and made the acquaintance of the girls that have been poisoned. I gave them pills to cure them of all their earthly miseries, and they died.... If I were you, I would release Dr. T. Neill, or you might get into trouble. His innocence will be declared sooner or later, and when he is free he might sue you for damages. Beware all. I warn but once.

Yours Respectfully,
Juan Pollen,
alias Jack the Ripper

The mere utterance of the name attached to the letter caused the entire assemblage to gasp, except for Cream, who smiled widely. The letter later turned out to be the work of a crank, as Cream could not have sent it himself from his cell, but it stayed in Cream’s mind until the end of his life.



Courthouse Steps Maven
Feb 2006
        April 23rd, 2006 08:09 PM        

It only took the jury ten minutes to find Cream guilty and Judge Sir Henry Hawkins lived up to his reputation as the “hanging judge” by ordering Cream to be executed on the gallows on November 15, 1892.

While awaiting execution, Cream talked incessantly to his jailers, mostly insisting to them that he was a great man and that the world had refused to recognize it. He also claimed to have killed many more than he was found guilty of and that he had done them in to end their misery and to aid society, hinting at even darker things than those he had been found guilty of.

On the night before his execution, Cream could be heard moaning in his cell, no longer bragging of his crimes but now protesting his innocence. At dawn on the 15th though, he went calmly to the gallows. He was bound hand and foot and placed on the trap as the black hood was slipped over his head. Cream saved his most dramatic and strange proclamation for last. The lever was pushed to release and the trap, and moments before he plunged to his doom, Cream shouted out: “I am Jack the.....”

The rope cut him off before he could finish and in that split second, Cream created an enigma that has inspired many to believe that he was confessing to having been the killer Jack the Ripper. And in death, Cream became as mysterious as he was in life.

Cream’s last words have plagued both crime historians and “Ripperologists” for years. There have been a number of theorists who have concocted some convincing (and some not so convincing) cases that Cream may have been the Whitechapel killer. Sir Edward Marshall Hall, who had once defended Cream on a charge of bigamy, later wrote that he believed Cream sometimes employed a “double” who used his name and that both men “used each other’s terms of imprisonment as alibis for each other”. Cream had earlier told Hall that he refused to plead guilty to charges against him because he was in prison at the time of the offenses. A check with officials did reveal that a man matching Cream’s description had been in prison at the same time and Cream was released.

Ripper expert Donald Rumbelow has stated that this has led to the suggestion that even though Cream was serving time in Joliet Prison as the Whitechapel murders were taking place, he may have actually been in England. His double could have been imprisoned, or vice versa. As the double had given Cream an alibi for the bigamy charges, Cream then tried to repay the debt by shouting those last words from the scaffold. Others have suggested that the letter that was read at Cream’s trial could have been from Cream’s double, the real Jack the Ripper, attempting to save the doctor’s life.

Unfortunately for those who feel they have solved the Whitechapel murders by pinning them on Cream, the idea of the “doppelganger” is not very convincing and neither is the other theory as to how the good doctor could have committed the crimes from behind the walls of Joliet prison. In some accounts, Cream was able to bribe his way out of the corrupt prison in the middle 1880’s, journey to London, commit the murders and then return to his cell in order to be released in 1891. Author and crime historian Jay Robert Nash personally checked the records at Joliet prison in the late 1970’s and found that the ledger from the era was still intact, although Cream’s personal files had long ago been destroyed in a fire. The ledger states that Thomas Neill Cream, prisoner no. 4374, was imprisoned at Joliet on November 1, 1881 and not released until July 31, 1891. There are also records attached about the commuting of Cream’s sentence by the governor but nothing to indicate that he was ever released. The idea that he bribed his way out of the prison is merely a theory and no real evidence exists to support it.

And perhaps the biggest problem with the idea of Cream being the Ripper is his method of murder. Although he was a brutish and bloody abortionist, his method of dispatching young women was by poison, not the knife. It seems unlikely that he would poison his victims prior to 1888 and then suddenly go on a wild mutilating spree, only to go back to poisoning them again a few years later.

So it seems that we have to look beyond Dr. Cream when seeking the identity of Jack the Ripper. Admittedly the two killers did have some similarities in that both enjoyed killing prostitutes and then writing letters about their deeds to the authorities, but beyond that, the comparisons end -- continuing a mystery that will not be solved anytime soon.

Trace Evidence


Courthouse Steps Maven
Apr 2006
        June 29th, 2006 04:36 PM        

Was it Jill the Ripper?
From: AAP
By Jade Bilowol
May 17, 2006

JACK the Ripper could well be a Jill.

In a bid to crack the identity of one of the greatest murder mysteries of all time, technology developed in Australia has tested 118-year-old DNA the notorious serial killer may have left behind and built a partial female profile.
Scientist Ian Findlay today said the partial profile had been created from saliva possibly from the Ripper on the back of stamps on the envelopes of letters sent to London police.

Most of the 600 or so letters claiming to have come from the Ripper – who butchered at least five prostitutes in London's East End in 1888 – have been dismissed as hoaxes but a few are thought to be genuine.

Brisbane-based Professor Findlay said he used his method, called Cell Track-ID, capable of extracting and compiling a DNA fingerprint from a single cell or strand of hair up to 160 years old.

It can amplify information from a single cell and is hundreds of times more powerful than DNA profiling techniques used by crime fighting bodies such as the FBI that require at least 200 human cells.

"It's possible the Ripper could be female but the results are inconclusive," said Prof Findlay, who is the chief scientific officer at the Gribbles Molecular Science forensic lab.
He said because the samples were so old, very small and poorly preserved, only a partial profile was built that "didn't reach forensic standards" nor identified an individual.

"It shows the technology works ... the FBI lab in Virginia got no profiles ... but the samples were just too difficult," Prof Findlay said.

The partial profile was built from what is known as the Openshaw letter.

"The Dear Boss letter, said to have blood stains from (victim number five) Mary Kelly had a male profile so it wasn't the blood of Mary Kelly," he also said.

Prof Findlay tested hair and debunked the belief it was from another mutilated victim, Catherine Eddowes.

The detective in charge of the case, Frederick Abberline, suggested the Ripper was a woman following claims Ms Kelly was seen hours after she was killed.

Abberline believed this was the killer escaping in Kelly's clothes.

Mary Pearcey was the only female suspect and was convicted and hanged for killing her lover's wife shortly after the Ripper murders – and reportedly used the same modus operandi.



Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        November 23rd, 2006 02:09 AM        

Science Tackles Jack the Ripper Mystery
By Maria Hegstad

LONDON (AP) — British analysts have created a composite police drawing of Jack the Ripper, depicting the notorious Victorian serial killer with a mustache, a receding hairline and bushy eyebrows, the makers of a new television documentary said Monday.

Using the 118-year-old statements of 13 witnesses, a Metropolitan Police analyst created an image of what the prostitute-killer is believed to have looked like. The killer's image was to be unveiled Tuesday on the British television channel Five.

"It's a popular misconception that nobody ever saw the murderer, that he just vanished into the fog of London," said former Metropolitan Police commander John Grieve in a statement. "Well that's just not right. There were witnesses at the time who were highly thought of by the police."

Grieve examined the witnesses' statements and found enough similarity to think they could have been talking about the same man. The computer drawing of the murderer's face was created from the descriptions. The newest investigators believe the murderer was between 25 and 35 years old and between 5-foot-5-inches and 5-foot-7-inches tall.

Jack the Ripper remains infamous, in part because his identity was never unmasked. More than 200 people have been accused of the murders of at least five East London prostitutes in 1888. The suspects have ranged from "Alice in Wonderland" author Lewis Carroll to Sir John Williams, the royal family's obstetrician, to painter William Richard Sickert.



Courthouse Steps Maven
Dec 2006
        May 2nd, 2007 03:14 PM        

Historian believes he has unmasked 'Jack the Ripper'

May 2, 2007

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (AP) — An eminent South African historian believes he has stumbled on the identity of Jack the Ripper.

Charles van Onselen said at first he wasn't sure he wanted to publicize the conclusions he drew when he noticed parallels in the century-old, unsolved Ripper case and the background of Joseph Silver, who terrorized women as "King of the Pimps" in Johannesburg.

"I was left with a choice: I have got intelligent speculation, which I think is pretty long way down the track to proving that this guy was the Ripper. Do I include or exclude it?

"If I include it, it buggers up the book and people get excited for the wrong reasons. If I exclude it and a really sharp professional spots it ... I had to explore this possibility," he said, sitting in his tree-filled garden, about 3 miles from where Silver reigned, in a city still regarded as one of the most crime-ridden in the world.

The publicity around van Onselen's "The Fox and The Flies: The World of Joseph Silver, Racketeer and Psychopath", published in April, has made much of Silver being Jack the Ripper, the notorious Victorian serial killer who murdered at least five East London prostitutes in 1888.

But van Onselen, an acclaimed biographer who specializes in South Africa's criminal history and who took nearly three decades to research the book, only makes his Ripper case in the final 25th chapter, written in the last 36 months.

While the book has been well-received, reaction from "Ripperologists" has been skeptical as van Onselen makes his case on circumstantial evidence.

To his doubters the author said: "How many coincidences do you want to mount up in your mind simultaneously until you start saying this is a real possibility?"

Scores of people have been accused of the Ripper murders, but no one has ever been proven guilty and London police put the number of most likely suspects at just four, among them a poor Whitechapel resident named Kosminski who, like Silver, was a Polish Jew. At the time, Londoners speculated the killer was Jewish, leading to fears of an anti-Jewish backlash.

Van Onselen believes Silver fits the psychological profile of the Whitechapel murderer and he places his subject at the center of the scene of the Ripper murders. The evidence that Silver was in Whitechapel at the time of the Ripper murders includes the birth of his daughter there, van Onselen said.

As pimp and brothel keeper, Silver would have been familiar with the prostitutes working in the area, van Onselen said.

Silver, who was born in Poland, arrived in Johannesburg in 1898 fresh from a stint in Sing Sing for burglary and a stay in London a decade earlier. Shortly after arriving in Johannesburg, Silver set up a string of cafes, cigar shops and police-protected brothels.

Silver was litigious, wrote bold letters to newspapers and had an array of mocking aliases, van Onselen said. Jack the Ripper is believed to have taunted police with brazen letters to the papers.

Van Onselen, the son of a detective, tracked Silver across Africa, the Americas and Europe, "staggered by how mobile this guy was." In the end, Silver was executed as a spy in Poland in 1918.

Van Onselen points to similarities between the subject of his book and the Whitechapel murderer, both psychopaths with a deep hatred of women. Silver had bitter, violent relationships with women all his life.

"In terms of a template for this person, in terms of age, personality, mental illness, pattern for rest of life, this is the best fit there has ever been," he said.




Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        June 11th, 2007 08:56 PM        

Jack The Ripper
Larry S. Barbee


This is a brief review of the Jack the Ripper murders that occurred in London more than a hundred years ago. Much of the original evidence gathered at the time has been lost, and many "facts" are actually opinions by the various writers who have written about the case during the past century. Many aspects of the case are therefore contested, and so what follows is a summation of the case in general. There are many books available to the student of crime who wishes to grapple with the many mysteries associated with the case.

Jack the Ripper" is the popular name given to a serial killer who killed a number of prostitutes in the East End of London in 1888. The name originates from a letter written by someone who claimed to be the killer published at the time of the murders. The killings took place within a mile area and involved the districts of Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Aldgate, and the City of London proper. He was also called the Whitechapel Murderer and "Leather Apron."

Significance and Importance

Jack the Ripper has remained popular for a lot of reasons. He was not the first serial killer, but he was probably the first to appear in a large metropolis at a time when the general populace had become literate and the press was a force for social change. The Ripper also appeared when there were tremendous political turmoil and both the liberals and social reformers, as well as the Irish Home rule partisans tried to use the crimes for their own ends. Every day the activities of the Ripper were chronicled in the newspapers as were the results of the inquiries and the actions taken by the police. Even the feelings of the people living in the East End, and the editorials that attacked the various establishments of Society appeared each day for both the people of London and the whole world to read. It was the press coverage that made this series of murders a "new thing", something that the world had never known before. The press was also partly responsible for creating many myths surrounding the Ripper and ended up turning a sad killer of women into a "bogey man", who has now become one of the most romantic figures in history. The rest of the responsibility lies with the Ripper. He may have been a sexual serial killer of a type all too common in the 1990s, but he was also bent on terrifying a city and making the whole world take notice of him by leaving his horribly mutilated victims in plain sight. Lastly, the Ripper was never caught and it is the mysteries surrounding this killer that both add to the romance of the story and creating an intellectual puzzle that people still want to solve.

The Victims

It is unclear just how many women the Ripper killed. It is generally accepted that he killed five, though some have written that he murdered only four while others say seven or more. The public, press, and even many junior police officers believed that the Ripper was responsible for nine slayings. The five that are generally accepted as the work of the Ripper are:

Mary Ann (Polly) Nichols, murdered Friday, August 31, 1888.

Annie Chapman, murdered Saturday, September 8, 1888.

Elizabeth Stride, murdered Sunday, September 30, 1888.

Catharine Eddowes, also murdered that same date.

Mary Jane (Marie Jeanette) Kelly, murdered Friday, November 9, 1888.

Besides these five there are good reasons to believe that the first victim was really Martha Tabram who was murdered Tuesday, August 7, 1888, and there are important considerations for questioning whether Stride was a Ripper victim. As to the actual number of women that the Ripper killed, Philip Sugden wrote in his excellent book, The Complete History of Jack the Ripper, "There is no simple answer. In a sentence: at least four, probably six, just possibly eight."

All five of these listed plus Tabram were prostitutes and were killed between early August and early November 1888. All but Tabram and Kelly were killed outdoors and there is no evidence to suggest that any of them knew each other. They varied in both age and appearance. Most were drunk or thought to be drunk at the time they were killed.

Method of Operation

Surprisingly, a full understanding of the Ripper's modus operandi was not established until several years ago. The Whitechapel murderer and his victim stood facing each other. When she lifted her skirts, the victim's hands were occupied and was then defenseless. The Ripper seized the women by their throats and strangled them until they were unconscious if not dead. The autopsies constantly revealed clear indications that the victims had been strangled. In the past some writers believed that the Ripper struck from behind when the victims were bent forward, their skirts hiked up their backsides while waiting to engage in anal sex. This is a very awkward arrangement and the risk that they may scream or elude his clutch's make this unacceptable. The Ripper then lowered his victims to the ground, their heads to his left. This has been proven by the position of the bodies in relation to walls and fences that show that there was virtually no room for the murderer to attack the body from the left side. No bruising on the back of the heads shows that he lowered the bodies to the ground rather than throwing or letting them fall. Given the inclement weather and filth in the streets it is unacceptable that the prostitutes or their client would have attempted intercourse on the ground. He cut the throats when the women were on the ground. Splatter stains show that the blood pooled beside or under the neck and head of the victim rather than the front which is where the blood would flow if they had been standing up. In one case blood was found on the fence some 14 inches or so from the ground and opposite the neck wound and this shows that the blood spurted from the body while in the prone position on the ground. This method also prevented the killer from being unduly blood stained. By reaching over from the victim's right side to cut the left side of her throat, the blood flow would have been directed away from him, which would have reduced the amount of blood in which he would have been exposed. If the victim was already dead before their throats were cut, then the blood spilt would have not been very much. With the heart no longer beating the blood would not have been "pressurized," so only the blood in the immediate area of the wound would have evacuated gently from the cuts. The Ripper then made his other mutilations, still from the victim's right side, or possibly while straddling over the body at or near the feet. In several cases the legs had been pushed up which would have shortened the distance between the abdomen and the feet. No sign of intercourse was ever detected nor did the Ripper masturbate over the bodies. Usually he took a piece of the victim's viscera. The taking of a "trophy" is a common practice by modern sexual serial killers. In the opinion of most of the surgeons who examined the bodies, most believed that the killer had to have some degree of anatomical knowledge to do what he did. In one case he removed a kidney from the front rather than from the side, and did not damage any of the surrounding organs while doing so. In another case he removed the sexual organs with one clean stroke of the knife. Given the time circumstances of the crimes (outside, often in near total darkness, keeping one eye out for the approach of others, and under extremely tight time constraints), the Ripper almost certainly would have had some experience in using his knife.




Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        June 11th, 2007 08:59 PM        

The Ripper Letters

It is commonly accepted by the experts on the case that none of the letters purported to have been written by the Ripper were in fact written by him. A letter dated September 25 and received on the twenty-seventh by the Central News agency was the first to be signed "Jack the Ripper". A postcard post marked October 1 followed. Because it referred to a "double event" the police thought it might be from the killer since it was posted the day after the Ripper killed two women. The post card also referred to the letter and must have come from the same source as the letter had not been released to the public yet. If the post card had been sent on September 30, the day of the "double event", instead of October 1, the likelihood that it was really written by the murderer would be significantly greater. The Whitechapel Murderer may have written the letter/post card but there is no evidence to suppose that he did and the police seem convinced that they were the work of a journalist. A recently discovered document states that a journalist from the Central News agency, Tom Bulling, was the writer.

One other letter may have been written by the killer. In mid-October a small parcel was sent to George Lusk, who was head of a vigilance committee in Whitechapel. Inside was half a human kidney and a letter from someone claiming to be the killer, and that it was part of the kidney he removed from the victim Eddowes. It is impossible to know for sure if the Ripper really did send it. Most of the arguments in favor of it being from Jack have been based on inaccurate information and the myths rather than the facts surrounding the case. However, Eddowes did suffer from Bright's disease and the description of the kidney does match what a Bright's disease kidney would look like.


In a time before forensic science and even finger printing, the only way to prove someone committed a murder was to catch either him or her in the act, or get the suspect to confess. The Whitechapel Murders unhappily fall into this period of time. One interesting feature of this case is that not one, but two police forces carried out investigations. The Metropolitan Police, known as Scotland Yard, was responsible for crimes committed in all the boroughs of London except the City of London proper. The single square mile in the heart of London known as the City of London had their own police force. When Eddowes was killed, it was in their territory and this brought them into the Ripper case. It is believed that the rank and file of the two forces got along and worked well together, but there is evidence that the seniors in each force did not. To what degree, if any, their failure to cooperate fully had on solving the case is not known. Most sources do not fault either police force for failing to solve the Jack the Ripper mystery, rightly pointing out that catching serial killers is still a hard task even by today's science and technology. Other than autopsies and taking statements from everybody who might know something there was little else that the Metropolitan police force did. The attitude of the people at the time was that the police were incompetent and that the Commissioner, Sir Charles Warren, was only good for policing crowds and keeping order rather than detective work. He was especially criticized for not offering a reward in the hope that a confederate or accomplice would come forth and inform against the Ripper. In fact, Warren had no objections for a reward being offered and it was his superior, Henry Matthews, the Home Secretary who refused the sanction of a reward. The City of London Police seems to have done a better job although they did not apprehend the killer either. City police officers made crime scene drawings, took many photographs of the victim Eddowes, and even though she was not in their jurisdiction, they took photographs of the Kelly victim. She is the only victim who was photographed at the crime scene. One of the splits between the leadership of the two forces was over graffito found in Goulston Street on the night of the "double event". A piece of Eddowes' apron, which the Ripper used to wipe off his knife, was found by a constable near a doorway that had a chalked message over the door. This message, "The Juwes are the men That Will not be blamed for nothing", may have been written by the Ripper and the City police officers wanted to photograph it. Warren felt that leaving it until it was light enough to be photographed might cause riots against the Jews living in Whitechapel whom the bigoted English residents already believed were responsible for the murders. Warren did not even compromise by willing to erase or cover up the word "Juwes" only. In the end the police never charged any suspect with the murders committed by the Ripper which shows they did not have a sufficient amount of evidence that would gain a verdict of guilty in criminal court.


In 1894, Sir Melville Macnaghten, then Chief Constable, wrote a confidential report in which he names the three top suspects. Although some information concerning the suspect he believed most likely to have been the murderer had been available before the turn of the century, the name of that suspect was not made public until 1959. Macnaghten's suspect was M.J. Druitt, a barrister turned teacher who committed suicide in December 1888. Unfortunately for Macnaghten who wrote his memoranda from memory, the details he ascribes to Druitt are wrong. According to the Chief Constable, Druitt was a doctor, 41 years of age, and committed suicide immediately after the Kelly murder. In actuality Druitt was 31, not a doctor, and killed himself nearly a month after the last official murder. No other police officer supported Macnaghten's allegations, and one in fact, stated that the theory was inadequate and that the suicide was circumstantial evidence at best that the drowned doctor was the Ripper. While it is still possible that he was the Ripper, correct information gathered about Druitt so far makes him seem an unlikely candidate.

In 1903, Frederick Abberline, a retired crack detective who had been in charge of the Ripper investigation at the ground level stated that he thought that multiple wife poisoner Severin Klosowski, alias George Chapman, might be Jack the Ripper. As with Macnaghten, no other officer has concurred with his opinion and modern criminal profiling science tends to reject Klosowski as a serious candidate.

The name of Macnaghten's second suspect was confirmed as Aaron Kosminiski in the early 1980s when a researcher came upon Donald Swanson's personal copy of Robert Anderson's book of memoirs. Both Swanson and Anderson were officers who participated in the Ripper investigation; indeed, they were the ones given the responsibility of being in charge of the case. Anderson had written in his memoirs that appeared for the first time in 1910 that the police knew who the Ripper was. According to Anderson the Ripper was a Polish Jew who was put away in an insane asylum after the crimes, and then died soon after. Swanson had made some notes in his copy of the book concerning Anderson's suspect, and wrote that the suspect's name was Kosminski. At first it seemed that the case had been solved, but research has found a number of problems with the theory. No other officer supports' Anderson's allegation, and Swanson's notes seem to question his superior's claims rather than support them. Aaron Kosminski was a real person and was placed in an insane asylum. His records show him to be a docile and harmless lunatic that heard voices in his head and would only eat food from the gutter. The dates of his incarceration are wrong, and he did not die soon after his committal but lived on until 1919. Some researchers have tried to explain the problems by saying that the name Kosminski' was confused with another insane Polish Jew, who really was dangerous.

The search continues. The third Macnaghten suspect, Michael Ostrog, has been investigated and there is nothing to indicate that he was nothing more than a demented con man.

Dr. Francis Tumblety, the latest serious suspect, only became known to students of the Jack the Ripper murders in 1993. A collector of crime memorabilia obtained a cache of letters belonging to a crime journalist named G.R. Sims. Among the letters was one from John Littlechild, who had been in charge of the Secret Department in Scotland Yard at the time of the murders. Dated 1913, Littlechild writes to Sims: "I never heard of a Dr. D. (which many assume is a reference to Druitt as Macnaghten thought Druitt was a doctor and Sims was a confident of the Chief Constable), 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 . . . " A book by the collector who found the letter goes to great lengths in trying to prove that Tumblety is the final solution for the mystery. Unfortunately, he fails to do so. There is no doubt that Tumblety was a legitimate suspect and that when he fled to America, Scotland Yard detectives came over to investigate him further. It is unlikely that Scotland Yard continued to view him as a serious suspect. James Monro, who succeeded Warren and was in overall command of the Secret department before becoming Commissioner, thought that the Alice McKenzie murder of July 1889 was the work of the Ripper. He stated in 1890 that he did not know who the Whitechapel murderer was but that he was working on his own theory.




Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        June 11th, 2007 09:01 PM        

Ripper Research

At the time of the murders and for the next few years, a lot was written about the murders including some tabloid type books. Most of it is worthless and only helped to set up many myths that have clouded serious attempts to figure out what really happened that autumn in London. Other than memoirs of officers who worked on the case, which is valuable, little else was written until after the first world war. In 1929 the first full length book in English about the Ripper, The Mystery of Jack the Ripper by Leonard Matters, was published. Once more there was growing interest in the murders again in that the Ripper was appearing in both nonfiction works and fictional formats such as Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger. Cult-like interest, the interest that has really never left, began in the 1950s. Dan Farson did a television show about the Ripper and uncovered a version of the McNaghten memoranda. The first really good books began to be published in the 1960s, such as Tom Cullen's Autumn of Terror and Robin Odell's Jack the Ripper in Fact and Fiction. Interest in Jack the Ripper exploded in 1970 when a new theory was published in which the grandson of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale, was accused of being the Ripper. Just like his nemesis in fiction, Sherlock Holmes, the 1970s saw Jack being either paired with someone famous or identified as being someone famous. It was a decade that also featured some entertaining but patently absurd conspiracy theories explaining who the Ripper really was. Plots involving Freemasons, court physicians, and sinister figures from occult organizations, have been paraded before the public as the final solution. In the midst of the madness some good came out. Donald Rumbelow's The Complete Jack the Ripper was published, and police files still existing from the investigations were made available to all and sundry. The 1980s saw a tide of books published to cash in on the centennial of the Murders in Whitechapel, and lost evidence was returned anonymously to the police and Swanson's notes on Anderson's suspect were found. The FBI's Behavioral Science Unit did a criminal profile of the Ripper and aspects of the murders were discussed in various professional journals. During the 1990s, two new books have appeared that are musts for people who are interested in the Ripper murders. The Jack the Ripper A to Z by Paul Begg, Martin Fido, and Keith Skinner is indispensable for doing research and Sugden's The Complete History of Jack the Ripper has replaced Rumbelow's worthy tome as the authoritative source for information. An interesting phony diary supposedly written by the Ripper was published and the authentic letter revealing the suspect Dr. Francis Tumblety has also been released to the public.

The Future

In the past ten years more evidence has been recovered, new information garnered through the young criminal sciences, and serious research conducted on the mystery of Jack the Ripper than at any other time since the case was officially closed in 1892. After more than a hundred years the case is still fascinating, and results are still being gotten through research. Nick Warren, a student of the crimes and a practicing surgeon, studied the second Kelly crime scene photograph that was recently recovered, and was able to establish that a hatchet was used by the Ripper to split one of his victim's legs! The likelihood of the case ever being solved is open to debate. If the police solved it but for some reason kept the Ripper's identity a secret, then I think that the odds are good that the answer will be rediscovered. Unfortunately, I and I think most serious students on the subject, do not think that the police did solve the case. Individual officers had strong opinions on who Jack the Ripper was, but not the Forces as a whole. This makes the challenge much more difficult as today's researchers must find new evidence rather than unearth that which has been lost. The evidence lost is considerable. Virtually all of the City of London Police files were lost in the Blitz during the last world war. What remains of the Metropolitan Police files are available to the public but the files are sparse. Some have claimed that the files were purposefully destroyed to keep the Murderer's identity a secret. The truth is more pedestrian and unromantic. Almost from the beginning items were removed for souvenirs. Often in those olden days when they ran out of room, the clerks would go to the end of the shelve and simply dump out the old files by the armful. When Abberline was interviewed in 1903, the journalist noted that the retired Scotland yard Inspector was surrounded by official files. Once, upon the death of a retired officer, a trunk full of files concerning his old cases was found in his possession. Modern day "Ripperologists" were not above souvenir hunting themselves. A number of documents were taken in the late 1970s/early 1980s and as a result the remaining material was put on microfilm. It seems perfectly possible that Jack the Ripper's identity may one day be discovered; it may be one of the serious suspects mentioned in this report, or one that the police dismissed too cavalierly all those years ago, or it may be someone completely unknown at this time. The future may or may not reveal the Ripper's name.



Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        June 11th, 2007 09:26 PM        

Casebook: Jacke The Ripper

Mary Ann "Polly" Nichols

Born Mary Ann Walker on August 26, 1845 in Shoe Lane off Fleet Street. She was christened in or some years before 1851. At the time of her death the East London Observer guessed her age at 30-35. At the inquest her father said "she was nearly 44 years of age, but it must be owned that she looked ten years younger."


5'2" tall; brown eyes; dark complexion; brown hair turning grey; five front teeth missing (Rumbelow); two bottom-one top front (Fido), her teeth are slightly discoloured. She is described as having small, delicate features with high cheekbones and grey eyes. She has a small scar on her forehead from a childhood injury.

She is described by Emily Holland as "a very clean woman who always seemed to keep to herself." The doctor at the post mortem remarked on the cleanliness of her thighs. She is also an alcoholic.


Father: Edward Walker (Blacksmith, formerly a locksmith). He has gray hair and beard and, as a smithy, was probably powerfully built. At the time of Polly's death he is living at 16 Maidswood Rd., Camberwell.

Mother: Caroline.

Polly married William Nichols on January 16, 1864. She would have been about 22 years old. The marriage is performed by Charles Marshall, Vicar of Saint Brides Parrish Church and witnessed by Seth George Havelly and Sarah Good.

William Nichols is in the employ of Messrs. Perkins, Bacon & Co., Whitefriars Rd. and living at Cogburg Rd. off Old Kent Road at the time of his wife's death.

The couple have five children. Edward John, born 1866; Percy George, 1868; Alice Esther, 1870; Eliza Sarah, 1877 and Henry Alfred born in 1879. The oldest, 21 in 1888, is living with his grandfather (Polly's father) at the time of her death. He had left home in 1880 according to his father, on his own accord. The other children continued to live with Nichols.

William and Polly briefly lodged in Bouverie Street then moved in with her father at 131 Trafalgar Street for about ten years. They spend six years, (no dates) at No. 6 D block, Peabody Buildings, Stamford Street, Blackfriars Rd. There they are paying a rent of 5 shillings, 6 pence per week. If Peabody Buildings is their last address then they would have lived there from 1875-1881, with her father from 1865 to 1875.

Polly separated from Nichols for the final time in 1881. It was the last of many separations during 24 years of marriage.

In 1882, William found out that his wife was living as a prostitute and discontinued support payments to her. (Sugden: she is living with another man, probably Thomas Dew). Parrish authorities tried to collect maintenance money from him. He countered that she had deserted him leaving him with the children. He won his case after establishing that she was living as a common prostitute. At the time of her death, he had not seen his wife in three years.

Polly's father spread the story that the separation had come about due to William having an affair with the nurse who took care of Polly during her last confinement. William does not deny that he had an affair but states that it was not the cause of her leaving. "The woman left me four or five times, if not six." He claims that the affair took place after Polly left. There is obvious disharmony in the family as the eldest son would have nothing to due with his father at his mother's funeral.

After the separation, Polly begins a sad litany of moving from workhouse to workhouse.

4/24/82-1/18/83 -- Lambeth Workhouse

1/18/83-1/20/83 -- Lambeth Infirmary

1/20/83-3/24/83 -- Lambeth Workhouse

3/24/83-5/21/83 -- She is living with her father in Camberwell. He testifies at the inquest into her death that she was "a dissolute character and drunkard whom he knew would come to a bad end." He found her not a sober person but not in the habit of staying out late at night. Her drinking caused friction and they argued. He claims that he had not thrown her out but she left the next morning.

5/21/83-6/2/83 -- Lambeth Workhouse

6/2/83-10/26/87 -- She is said to have been living with a man named Thomas Dew, a blacksmith, with a shop in York Mews, 15 York St., Walworth. In June 1886 she had attended the funeral of her brother who had been burned to death by the explosion of a paraffin lamp. It was remarked by the family that she was respectably dressed.

10/25/87 -- She spends one day in St. Giles Workhouse, Endell Street.

10/26/87-12/2/87 -- Strand Workhouse, Edmonton

12/2/87-12/19/87 -- Lambeth Workhouse

On 12/2/87 It is said that she was caught "sleeping rough (in the open)" in Trafalgar Square. She was found to be destitute and with no means of sustenance and was sent on to Lambeth Workhouse.

12/19/87-12/29/87 -- Lambeth Workhouse

12/29/87-1/4/88 -- No record

1/4/88-4/16/88 -- Mitcham Workhouse, Holborn and Holborn Infirmary.

4/16/88-5/12/88 -- Lambeth Workhouse. It is in Lambeth Workhouse that she meets Mary Ann Monk who will eventually identify Polly's body for the police. Monk is described as a young woman with a "Haughty air and flushed face."

Polly has another friend in the Lambeth Workhouse, a Mrs. Scorer. She had been separated from her husband James Scorer, an assistant salesman in Spitalfields Market, for eleven years. He claimed that he knew Polly by sight but was unable to identify the body at the mortuary.

On 12 May she left Lambeth to take a position as a domestic servant in the home of Samuel and Sarah Cowdry. This was common practice at the time for Workhouses to find domestic employment for female inmates.

The Cowdry's live at "Ingleside", Rose Hill Rd, Wandsworth. Samuel (b. 1827)is the Clerk of Works in the Police Department. Sarah is one year younger than her husband. They are described as upright people. Both are religious and both are teetotalers.

Polly writes her father:

"I just right to say you will be glad to know that I am settled in my new place, and going all right up to now. My people went out yesterday and have not returned, so I am left in charge. It is a grand place inside, with trees and gardens back and front. All has been newly done up. They are teetotalers and religious so I ought to get on. They are very nice people, and I have not too much to do. I hope you are all right and the boy has work. So good bye for the present.

from yours truly,

Answer soon, please, and let me know how you are."

Walker replies to the letter but does not hear back.

She works for two months and then left while stealing clothing worth three pounds, ten shillings.

8/1/88-8/2/88 -- Grays Inn Temporary Workhouse

Last Addresses

Common lodging house at 18 Thrawl Street, Spitalfields. Thrawl Street is south of and parallel to Flower and Dean Street. There she shares a room with four women including Emily (or Ellen) Holland. The room is described as being surprisingly neat. The price of the room is 4d per night.

Emily Holland is 50 years old. In October 1888 she has two convictions in Thames Magistrate Court for being drunk and disorderly.

On 8/24/88 Polly moves to a lodging house known as the White House at 56 Flower and Dean Street. In this doss house men are allowed to share a bed with a woman.

Flower and Dean Street held lodging houses in which Nichols, Stride and Eddowes lived at one time or another. Most of these common lodging houses catered to prostitutes. Flower and Dean is described in 1883 as "perhaps the foulest and most dangerous street in the whole metropolis." It and Thrawl Street are part of the area if Spitalfields known as the "evil quarter mile."

Thursday, August 30 through Friday, August 31, 1888.

Heavy rains have ushered out one of the coldest and wettest summers on record. On the night of August 30, the rain was sharp and frequent and was accompanied by peals of thunder and flashes of lightning. the sky on that night was turned red by the occasion of two dock fires.

11:00 PM -- Polly is seen walking down Whitechapel Road, she is probably soliciting trade.

12:30 AM -- She is seen leaving the Frying Pan Public House at the corner of Brick Lane and Thrawl Street. She returns to the lodging house at 18 Thrawl Street.

1:20 or 1:40 AM -- She is told by the deputy to leave the kitchen of the lodging house because she could not produce her doss money. Polly, on leaving, asks him to save a bed for her. " Never Mind!" She says, "I'll soon get my doss money. See what a jolly bonnet I've got now." She indicates a little black bonnet which no one had seen before.

2:30 AM -- She meets Emily Holland, who was returning from watching the Shadwell Dry Dock fire, outside of a grocer's shop on the corner of Whitechapel Road and Osborn Street. Polly had come down Osborn Street. Holland describes her as "very drunk and staggered against the wall." Holland calls attention to the church clock striking 2:30. Polly tells Emily that she had had her doss money three times that day and had drunk it away. She says she will return to Flower and Dean Street where she could share a bed with a man after one more attempt to find trade. "I've had my doss money three times today and spent it." She says, "It won't be long before I'm back." The two women talk for seven or eight minutes. Polly leaves walking east down Whitechapel Road.

At the time, the services of a destitute prostitute like Polly Nichols could be had for 2 or 3 pence or a stale loaf of bread. 3 pence was the going rate as that was the price of a large glass of gin.

3:15 AM -- P.C. John Thain, 96J, passes down Buck's Row on his beat. He sees nothing unusual. At approximately the same time Sgt. Kerby passes down Bucks Row and reports the same.

3:40 or 3:45 AM -- Polly Nichols' body is discovered in Buck's Row by Charles Cross, a carman, on his way to work at Pickfords in the City Road., and Robert Paul who joins him at his request. "Come and look over here, there's a woman." Cross calls to Paul. Cross believes she is dead. Her hands and face are cold but the arms above the elbow and legs are still warm. Paul believes he feels a faint heartbeat. "I think she's breathing," he says "but it is little if she is."

P.C. Neil is called by the two men and rushes over to the scene of the crime. Neil, in turn, calls for Dr. Llewellyn, who resides nearby. The two return a few minutes later (around 3:50 A.M.) and Dr. Llewellyn pronounces life to have been extinct "but a few minutes."

Bucks Row is ten minutes walk from Osborn Street. The only illumination is from a single gas lamp at the far end of the street.

Buck's Row:

Description by Leonard Matters in 1929

"...Buck's Row can not have changed much in character since its name was altered. It is a narrow, cobbled, mean street, having on one side the same houses-possibly tenanted by the same people -- which stood there in 1888. They are shabby, dirty little houses of two stories, and only a three foot pavement separates them from the road, which is no more than twenty feet from wall to wall.

On the opposite sides are the high walls of warehouses which at night would shadow the dirty street in a far deeper gloom than its own character would in broad day light suggests.

All Durward Street is not so drab and mean, for by some accident in the planning of the locality -- if ever it was planned -- quite two thirds of the thoroughfare is very wide and open.

The street lies east and west along the London and Northern Railway Line. It is approached from the west by Vallance Street, formerly Baker's Row. On the left are fine modern tall warehouses. I was interested to note that one of them belongs to Messrs. Kearly and Tongue, LTD. in front of whose premises in Mitre Square another murder was committed on September 30th. On the left side of the street is a small wall guarding the railway line, which lies at a depth of some twenty feet below ground level. Two narrow bridge roads lead across the railway to Whitechapel Road. The first was called Thomas Street in 1888, but now is Fullbourne Street. The other is Court Street. By either of these two lanes, no more that two hundred fifty yards long, the busy main artery of the Whitechapel area can be reached from the relatively secluded Buck's Row.

Going still further east, an abandoned London County Council School building breaks the wide and open Durward Street into narrow lanes or alleys. The left hand land retains the name of Durward Street 'late Buck's Row', and the other is Winthrop Street. Both are equally dirty and seemingly disreputable..."

Soon after the murder, to avoid continued notoriety, the name is changed from Buck's Row to Durward Street.

Polly's body is found across from Essex Wharf (warehouse) and Brown and Eagle Wool Warehouse and Schneiders Cap Factory in a gateway entrance to an old stableyard between a board school (to the west) and terrace houses (cottages) belonging to better class tradesmen. She is almost underneath the window of Mrs. Green, a light sleeper, who lives in the first house next to the stable gates. Her house is called the 'New Cottage'. She is a widower with two sons and a daughter living with her. That night, one son goes to bed at 9:00 PM, the other follows at 9:45. Mrs. Green and her daughter shared a first floor room at the front of the house. They went to bed at appoximately 11:00 PM. She claims she slept undisturbed by any unusual sound until she was awakened by the police.

Opposite New Cottage lives Walter Purkiss, the manager of Essek Wharf with his wife, children and a servant. He and his wife went to bed at 11:00 and 11:15 respectively. Both claimed to have been awake at various times in the night and heard nothing.

Polly Nichols' body is identified by Lambeth Workhouse inmate Mary Ann Monk and the identification confirmed by William Nichols.

The discovery of the body.

Illustration from the Illustrated Police News

She was wearing: (overall impression -- shabby and stained)

Black Straw bonnet trimmed with black velvet
Reddish brown ulster with seven large brass buttons bearing the pattern of a woman on horseback accompanied by a man.
Brown linsey frock (apparently new according to Sugden. Could this be a dress she stole from the Cowdrys?)
White flannel chest cloth
Black ribbed wool stockings
Two petticoats, one gray wool, one flannel. Both stenciled on bands "Lambeth Workhouse"
Brown stays (short)
Flannel drawers
Men's elastic (spring) sided boots with the uppers cut and steel tips on the heels


White pocket handkerchief
Broken piece of mirror (a prized possession in a lodging house)
Observations of Dr. Rees Ralph LLewellyn upon arrival at Bucks row at 4:00 AM on the morning of August 31st. After only a brief examination of the body he pronounced Polly Nichols dead. He noted that there was a wine glass and a half of blood in the gutter at her side but claimed that he had no doubt that she had been killed where she lay.

Inquest testimony as reported in The Times:

"Five teeth were missing, and there was a slight laceration of the tongue. There was a bruise running along the lower part of the jaw on the right side of the face. That might have been caused by a blow from a fist or pressure from a thumb. There was a circular bruise on the left side of the face which also might have been inflicted by the pressure of the fingers. On the left side of the neck, about 1 in. below the jaw, there was an incision about 4 in. in length, and ran from a point immediately below the ear. On the same side, but an inch below, and commencing about 1 in. in front of it, was a circular incision, which terminated at a point about 3 in. below the right jaw. That incision completely severed all the tissues down to the vertebrae. The large vessels of the neck on both sides were severed. The incision was about 8 in. in length. the cuts must have been caused by a long-bladed knife, moderately sharp, and used with great violence. No blood was found on the breast, either of the body or the clothes. There were no injuries about the body until just about the lower part of the abdomen. Two or three inches from the left side was a wound running in a jagged manner. The wound was a very deep one, and the tissues were cut through. There were several incisions running across the abdomen. There were three or four similar cuts running downwards, on the right side, all of which had been caused by a knife which had been used violently and downwards. the injuries were form left to right and might have been done by a left handed person. All the injuries had been caused by the same instrument."

With all of her faults she seems to have been well liked by all who knew her. At the inquest her father says, "I don't think she had any enemies, she was too good for that."

Mortuary photograph of Polly Nichols


Mary Ann "Polly" Nichols was buried on Thursday, 6 September, 1888.

That afternoon, Polly was transported in a polished elm coffin to Mr Henry Smith, Hanbury Street undertaker. The cortege consisted of the hearse and two mourning coaches, which carried Edward Walker, William Nichols, and Edward John Nichols. Polly was buried at City of London Cemetery (Little Ilford) at Manor Park Cemetery, Sebert Road, Forest Gate, London, E12, (public) grave 210752 (on the edge of the current Memorial Garden).

The funeral expenses were paid for by Edaward Walker (Polly's father), William Nichols (Polly's ex-husband), and Edward John Nichols (Polly's son).

In late 1996, the cemetery authorities decided to mark Polly's grave with a plaque.

Mary Ann Nichols´ Death Certificate
Death Certificate: No. 370, registered 25 September, 1888



Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        June 11th, 2007 09:56 PM        

Annie Chapman

Casebook: Jack The Ripper

Annie Chapman aka Dark Annie, Annie Siffey, Sievey or Sivvey

Born: Eliza Anne Smith in September 1841.

Father: George Smith of Harrow Road. Described on the marriage certificate as a Private, 2nd Battalion of Lifeguards. At the time of his death he is listed as a servant.

Mother: Ruth Chapman of Market Street.

Annie's parents are married on February 22, 1842, 6 months after Annie was born. The marriage takes place in Paddington.

She has two brothers, one of whom is named Fontain Smith, born February 25, 1861. He is employed as a printer's warehouseman. He is a tall man with dark hair and a heavy brown mustache. One or two sisters. One lives with her mother in Brompton. They do not get along with Annie.


5' tall
45 years old at time of death
Pallid complexion
Blue eyes
Dark brown wavy hair
Excellent teeth (possibly two missing in lower jaw)
Strongly built (stout)
Thick nose
She is under nourished and suffering from a chronic disease of the lungs (tuberculosis) and brain tissue. It is said that she is dying. These could also be symptoms of syphilis.
Although she has a drinking problem she is not described as an alcoholic.

Her friend, Amelia Palmer describes her as "sober, steady going woman who seldom took any drink." She was, however, known to have a taste for rum.

Amelia Palmer is the wife of a dock laborer, Henry Palmer. He is an ex-soldier. She is a charwoman who works for local Jewish residents following an accident which left her husband unable to work. She is described as pale faced and dark haired. She has lived at the common lodging house at 30 Dorset Street for four years.

Annie Chapman (Illustrated Police News)


Annie marries John Chapman, a coachman in the service of a gentleman in Clewer, near Windsor. John is a relative of Annie's mother. They are married on May 1, 1869. Annie is 28 at the time of her marriage.

Their residence on the marriage certificate is listed as 29 Montpelier Place, Brompton. This is also where her mother lived until her (mother's) death in 1893. In 1870 they move to 1 Brook Mews in Bayswater and then in 1873 to 17 South Bruton Mews, Berkeley Square. In 1881 they move to Windsor where John takes a job as a domestic coachman. He is in the employ of Josiah Weeks, a farm bailiff at St. Leonard's Mill Farm Cottage.

Annie and John Chapman, 1869
Credit: Annie Chapman's family
and Neal Stubbings

Mrs. Pearcer tells Timothy Donovan, deputy at Crossingham's lodging house that John Chapman had been a valet in the employ of a nobleman who lived in Bond Street but that he was fired because of his wife's dishonesty.

The couple have three children. Emily Ruth, born 1870, Annie Georgina, born 1873 and John, born in 1881. John is a cripple and sent to a home. Emily Ruth dies of meningitis at the age of twelve. Some reports have Annie Georgina traveling with a circus in France at the time of her mother's death.

Annie and John separate by mutual consent in 1884 or 1885. The reason is uncertain. A police report says it was because of her "drunken and immoral ways." She has been arrested several times in Windsor for drunkenness. Her husband was also a heavy drinker.

John Chapman semi-regularly paid his wife 10 shillings per week by Post Office order until his death on Christmas day in 1886. At the time of his death he is living at Grove Road, Windsor. He dies of cirrhosis of the liver and dropsy. Annie finds out about his death through her brother-in-law who lives in Oxford Street, Whitechapel. On telling Amelia Palmer about it she cried. Palmer says that even two years later she seemed downcast when speaking of her children and how "since the death of her husband she seemed to have given away all together."

Sometime during 1886 she is living with a sieve maker named John Sivvey (unknown whether this is a nickname or not) at the common lodging house at 30 Dorset Street, Spitalfileds. He leaves her soon after her husband's death. Probably when the money stopped coming. He moves to Notting Hill.

From May or June 1888, Annie is living consistently at the lodging house at 35 Dorset Street, Spitalfields. This lodging house is known as Crossingham's and caters to approximately 300 people. The deputy is Timothy Donovan.

This may be the Timothy Donovan aged 29 of Russell Court, St. George's in the East who died of Cirrhosis of the liver, Phthisis and exhaustion at London Hospital on November 1, 1888. It may also be the Timothy Donovan, aged 30, who appeared repeatedly in Thames Magistrate Court through 1887-88 on charges of assualt. This same Timothy Donovan is almost certainly the same one who was indicted for murdering his wife, Mary, in Stepney in 1904.

Dorset Street:

An infamous road in Spitalfields running east-west between Commercial Street and Chrispin Street. The Commercial Street (east) end faces Christ's Church burial grounds, the other end faces the Providence Road Night refuge and Convent on Chrispin Street. There are three public houses on Dorset Street. At the corner of Commercial is the Britannia, also known as the Ringer's after the husband and wife proprietors. The Horn of Plenty is at the corner of Chrispin and in the center is the Blue Coat Boy. Directly across the street from Crossingham's lodging house, about one third of the way down Dorset from Commercial, is the narrow brick archway entrance to Miller's Court. To the left of the entrance at number 27 in McCarthy's chandler shop. Dorset Street is known locally as "Dosset" street due to the number of common lodging houses located along it's length.

More recently, Annie has been having a relationship with Edward Stanley, a bricklayer's mate, known as the Pensioner. At the time of Annie's death he is living at 1 Osborne Street, Whitechapel. He claims to be a member of the military but later admits that he is not and is not drawing a pension from any military unit.

Stanley and Annie spend weekends together at Crossingham's. Stanley instructs Donovan to turn Annie away if she tries to enter with another man. He often pays for Annie's bed as well as that of Eliza Cooper. They spend Saturdays and Sundays together, parting between 1:00 and 3:00 AM on Sundays. Stanley says that he had known Annie in Windsor.

Annie didn't take to prostitution until after her husbands death. Prior to that she lived off the allowance he sent her and worked doing crochet work and selling flowers.

In mid to late August of 1888 she runs into her brother Fontain on Commercial Road. She says she is hard up but will not tell him where she is living. He gives her 2 shillings.

Saturday, September 1, 1888

Edward Stanley returns after having been away since August 6. He meets Annie at the corner of Brushfield Street.

Sometime close to this date, Annie has a fight with Eliza Cooper. The fight has several different tellings but all revolve around Edward Stanley.

An argument breaks out in the Britannia Public House between Eliza Cooper and Annie. Also present are Stanley and Harry the Hawker. Cooper is Annie's rival for the affections of Stanley. Cooper struck her, giving her a black eye and bruising her breast.

The cause is alternately given as:

Chapman noticed Cooper palming a florin belonging to Harry, who was drunk, and replacing it with a penny. Chapman mentions this to Harry and otherwise calls attention to Cooper's deceit. Cooper says she struck Annie in the pub on September 2nd.

Amelia Palmer says that Annie told her the argument took place at the pub but the fisticuffs took place at the lodging house, later.

John Evans, night watchman at the lodging house says the fight broke out in the lodging house on September 6th. Cooper also says that the fight was not over Harry but over soap which Annie had borrowed for the Pensioner and not returned. In one version of the story, Annie is to have thrown a half penny at Cooper and slapped her in the face saying "Think yourself lucky I did not do more."

Donovan states that on August 30th he noticed she had a black eye. "Tim, this is lovely, aint it." She is to have said to him. Stanley noticed that she had a black eye on the evening of September 2nd and on the 3rd Annie showed her bruises to Amelia Palmer.

Donovan will tell the inquest into her death that she was not at the lodging house during the week prior to her death. So it appears from the bulk of the evidence that the fight took place in the last few days of August and probably in the lodging house.

Chapman says that she may have to go to the infirmary but there is no record of any woman being admitted to either Whitechapel or Spitalfields workhouse infirmaries. She may have picked up medication though.

Monday, September 3:

She meets Amelia Palmer in Dorset Street. "How did you get that?" asks Palmer, noticing the bruise on her right temple. By way of answer, Annie opened her dress. "Yes," Annie said "look at my chest." Annie complains of feeling unwell and says she may go see her sister. "If I can get a pair of boots from my sister," she says "I may go hop picking."

Tuesday, September 4:

Amelia Palmer again sees Annie near Spitalfields Church. Chapman again complains she is feeling ill and says she may go the casual ward for a day or two. She says she has had nothing to eat or drink all day. Palmer gives her 2d for tea and warns her not to spend it on rum.

Wednesday-Thursday, September 5-6:

Possibly she is in the casual ward although there are no records to support the assumption. However, following her death, Donovan finds a bottle of medicine in her room.

Friday, September 7, Saturday, September 8th:

5:00 PM: Amelia Palmer again sees Annie in Dorset Street. Chapman is sober and Palmer asks her if she is going to Stratford (believed to be the territory where Annie plied her trade). Annie says she is too ill to do anything. Farmer left but returned a few minutes later only to find Chapman not having moved. It's no use my giving way," Annie says "I must pull myself together and go out and get some money or I shall have no lodgings."

11:30 PM: Annie returns to the lodging house and asks permission to go into the kitchen.

12:10 AM: Frederick Stevens, also a lodger at Crossingham's says he drank a pint of beer with Annie who was already slightly the worse for drink. He states that she did not leave the lodging house until 1:00 AM.

12:12 AM: William Stevens (a printer), another lodger, enters the kitchen and sees Chapman. She says that she has been to Vauxhall to see her sister, that she went to get some money and that her family had given her 5 pence. (If this is so, she spent it on drink.) Stevens sees her take a broken box of pills from her pocket. The box breaks and she takes a torn piece of envelope from the mantelpiece and places the pills in it. Chapman leaves the kitchen. Stevens thinks she has gone to bed.

It appears obvious that she did pick up medication at the casual ward. The lotion found in her room may have brought up there at this time. This would re-enforce Stevens' impression that she had gone to bed. She certainly shows every sign of intending to return to Crossingham's.

1:35 AM: Annie returns to the lodging house again. She is eating a baked potato. John Evans, an elderly man who is night watchman has been sent to collect her bed money. She goes upstairs to see Donovan in his office. "I haven't sufficient money for my bed," she tells him, "but don't let it. I shall not be long before I'm in." Donovan chastises her, "You can find money for your beer and you can't find money for your bed." Annie is not dismayed. She steps out of the office and stands in the doorway for two or three minutes. "Never mind, Tim." she states, "I'll soon be back." And to Evans she says, "I won't be long, Brummy (his nickname). See that Tim keeps the bed for me." Her regular bed in the lodging house is number 29. Evans sees her leave and enter Little Paternoster Row going in the direction of Brushfield Street and then turn towards Spitalfields Market.

4:45 AM: Mr. John Richardson enters the backyard of 29 Hanbury St. on his way to work, and sits down on the steps to remove a piece of leather which was protruding from his boot. Although it was quite dark at the time, he was sitting no more than a yard away from where the head of Annie Chapman would have been had she already been killed. He later testified to have seen nothing of extraordinary nature.

5:30 AM: Elizabeth Long sees Chapman with a man, hard against the shutters of 29 Hanbury Street. they are talking. Long hears the man say "Will you?" and Annie replies "Yes." Long is certain of the time as she had heard the clock on the Black Eagle Brewery, Brick Lane, strike the half hour just as she had turned onto the street. The woman (Chapman) had her back towards Spitalfields Market and, thus, her face towards Long. The man had his back towards Long. She describes the man at the inquest.

Long: "...dark complexion, and was wearing a brown deerstalker hat. I think he was wearing a dark over coat but cannot be sure."
Baxter: "Was he a man or a boy?"
Long: "Oh he was a man over forty, as far as I can tell. He seemed a little taller than the deceased. He looked to me like a foreigner, as well as I could make out."
Baxter: "Was he a laborer or what?"
Long: "He looked what I should call shabby genteel."

A few moments after the Long sighting, Albert Cadoch, a young carpenter living at 27 Hanbury Street walks into his back yard probably to use the outhouse. Passing the five foot tall wooden fence which separates his yard from that of number 29, he hears voices quite close. The only word he can make out is a woman saying "No!" He then heard something falling against the fence.

Annie's Clothes and Possessions:

Long black figured coat that came down to her knees.
Black skirt
Brown bodice
Another bodice
2 petticoats
A large pocket worn under the skirt and tied about the waist with strings (empty when found)
Lace up boots
Red and white striped woolen stockings
Neckerchief, white with a wide red border (folded tri-corner and knotted at the front of her neck. she is wearing the scarf in this manner when she leaves Crossingham's)
Had three recently acquired brass rings on her middle finger (missing after the murder)
Scrap of muslin
One small tooth comb
One comb in a paper case
Scrap of envelope she had taken form the mantelpiece of the kitchen containing two pills. It bears the seal of the Sussex Regiment. It is postal stamped "London, 28,Aug., 1888" inscribed is a partial address consisting of the letter M, the number 2 as if the beginning of an address and an S.

Dr. George Bagster Phillips describes the body of Annie Chapman as he saw it at 6:30 AM in the back yard of the house at 29 Hanbury Street. This is inquest testimony.

"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 incision 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.

He should say that the instrument used at the throat and abdomen was the same. It must have been a very sharp knife with a thin narrow blade, and must have been at least 6 in. to 8 in. in length, probably longer. He should say that the injuries could not have been inflicted by a bayonet or a sword bayonet. They could have been done by such an instrument as a medical man used for post-mortem purposes, but the ordinary surgical cases might not contain such an instrument. Those used by the slaughtermen, well ground down, might have caused them. He thought the knives used by those in the leather trade would not be long enough in the blade. There were indications of anatomical knowledge...he should say that the deceased had been dead at least two hours, and probably more, when he first saw her; but it was right to mention that it was a fairly cool morning, and that the body would be more apt to cool rapidly from its having lost a great quantity of blood. There was no evidence...of a struggle having taken place. He was positive the deceased entered the yard alive...

A handkerchief was round the throat of the deceased when he saw it early in the morning. He should say it was not tied on after the throat was cut."

Report following the post mortem examination:

"He noticed the same protrusion of the tongue. There was a bruise over the right temple. On the upper eyelid there was a bruise, and there were two distinct bruises, each the size of a man's thumb, on the forepart of the top of the chest. The stiffness of the limbs was now well marked. There was a bruise over the middle part of the bone of the right hand. There was an old scar on the left of the frontal bone. The stiffness was more noticeable on the left side, especially in the fingers, which were partly closed. There was an abrasion over the ring finger, with distinct markings of a ring or rings. The throat had been severed as before described. the incisions into the skin indicated that they had been made from the left side of the neck. There were two distinct clean cuts on the left side of the spine. They were parallel with each other and separated by about half an inch. The muscular structures appeared as though an attempt had made to separate the bones of the neck. There were various other mutilations to the body, but he was of the opinion that they occurred subsequent to the death of the woman, and to the large escape of blood from the division of the neck.

The deceased was far advanced in disease of the lungs and membranes of the brain, but they had nothing to do with the cause of death. The stomach contained little food, but there was not any sign of fluid. There was no appearance of the deceased having taken alcohol, but there were signs of great deprivation and he should say she had been badly fed. He was convinced she had not taken any strong alcohol for some hours before her death. The injuries were certainly not self-inflicted. The bruises on the face were evidently recent, especially about the chin and side of the jaw, but the bruises in front of the chest and temple were of longer standing - probably of days. He was of the opinion that the person who cut the deceased throat took hold of her by the chin, and then commenced the incision from left to right. He thought it was highly probable that a person could call out, but with regard to an idea that she might have been gagged he could only point to the swollen face and the protruding tongue, both of which were signs of suffocation.

The abdomen had been entirely laid open: the intestines, severed from their mesenteric attachments, had been lifted out of the body and placed on the shoulder of the corpse; whilst from the pelvis, the uterus and its appendages with the upper portion of the vagina and the posterior two thirds of the bladder, had been entirely removed. No trace of these parts could be found and the incisions were cleanly cut, avoiding the rectum, and dividing the vagina low enough to avoid injury to the cervix uteri. Obviously the work was that of an expert- of one, at least, who had such knowledge of anatomical or pathological examinations as to be enabled to secure the pelvic organs with one sweep of the knife, which must therefore must have at least 5 or 6 inches in length, probably more. The appearance of the cuts confirmed him in the opinion that the instrument, like the one which divided the neck, had been of a very sharp character. The mode in which the knife had been used seemed to indicate great anatomical knowledge.

He thought he himself could not have performed all the injuries he described, even without a struggle, under a quarter of an hour. If he had down it in a deliberate way such as would fall to the duties of a surgeon it probably would have taken him the best part of an hour."

Mortuary photograph of Annie Chapman.

29 Hanbury Street:

The backyard of 29 Hanbury Street.

Just three or four hundred yards from Chapman's lodging house, 29 Hanbury Street is a largely wooden structure consisting of eight rooms. Seventeen people lived inside.

There are two front doors, one leading into a shop and the other, on the left, into a passageway which goes through the building and opens into the back yard. The door to the back yard swings to the outside from right to left and, when open, covers a small recess of the yard. It is a self closing door. Baxter refers to it as a swinging door. The back yard is separated from the adjoining yards by a five foot high wooden fence. There are three stone steps leading down to yard level. Looking from the top of the steps there is a small wood shed to the left, Annie's feet pointed directly at it. To the right is the Privy. The yard itself is a patch work of stone, grass and dirt.

The ground floor of Number 29 was occupied by Mrs. Annie (Harriet) Hardyman and her 16 year old son. Both of them slept in the front room which doubled as a shop where they sold cat meat. The rear room was used as a kitchen.

The first floor front room belongs to Mrs. Amelia Richardson and her 14 year old grandson. She has lived here for 15 years. Her business is making packing cases, employing her son, John, who does not live on the premises. She also rents the cellar, which is used in manufacturing, and the yard. The first floor back room is shared by a Mr. Waker, a maker of tennis boots, and his retarded adult son.

The second floor front room contains a family consisting of a carman named Thompson who works at Goodson's in Brick Lane, his wife and adopted daughter. The back room is shared by two unmarried sisters named Copsey who work in a cigar factory.

The third floor attic front room is occupied by an elderly man, John Davis who is also a carman and his wife and three sons. the attic rear belongs to Sarah Cox, an elderly woman whom Mrs. Richardson keeps out of charity.

In 1967, a film entitled The London Nobody Knows was filmed, with James Mason as narrator. One of the many sights covered in the film was 29 Hanbury Street. This was quite fortunate as that entire side of the street was demolished soon afterwards.


Annie Chapman was buried on Friday, 14 September, 1888.

At 7:00am, a hearse, supplied by a Hanbury Street Undertaker, H. Smith, went to the Whitechapel Mortuary. Annie's body was placed in a black-draped elm coffin and was then driven to Harry Hawes, a Spitalfields Undertaker who arranged the funeral, at 19 Hunt Street.

At 9:00am, the hearse (without mourning coaches) took Annie's body to City of London Cemetery (Little Ilford) at Manor Park Cemetery, Sebert Road, Forest Gate, London, E12, where she was buried at (public) grave 78, square 148.

Annie's relatives, who paid for for the funeral, met the hearse at the cemetery, and, by request, kept the funeral a secret and were the only ones to attend.

The funeral of Annie Chapman took place early yesterday morning [14 Sep], the utmost secrecy having been observed, and none but the undertaker, police, and relatives of the deceased knew anything about the arrangements. Shortly after seven o'clock a hearse drew up outside the mortuary in Montague-street, and the body was quickly removed. At nine o'clock a start was made for Manor Park Cemetery. No coaches followed, as it was desired that public attention should not be attracted. Mr. Smith and other relatives met the body at the cemetery. The black-covered elm coffin bore the words "Annie Chapman, died Sept. 8, 1888, aged 48 years." (The Daily Telegraph, September 15 1888, page 3)

Chapman's grave no longer exists; it has since been buried over.

Annie Chapman´s Death Certificate
Death Certificate: No. 281, registered 20 September, 1888 (HC 084466). The certificate does not list the inquest from 13 September.



Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        June 11th, 2007 10:32 PM        

Casebook: Jack The Ripper

Elizabeth Stride

Elizabeth Stride aka Long Liz

Elizabeth Stride was born Elisabeth Gustafsdotter on November 27, 1843 on a farm called Stora Tumlehed in Torslanda parrish, north of Gothenburg, Sweden. She was baptized on December 5 of that year and confirmed in a church in Torslanda.

At the time of her death she was 45 years old. She had a pale complexion, light gray eyes and had curly dark brown hair. All the teeth in her lower left jaw were missing and she stood five foot five inches tall.

She was described by Elizabeth Tanner as a very quiet woman who sometimes stayed out late at night and did cleaning for Jews. She says that Stride spoke without any trace of an accent. Mrs. Ann Miller, a bed maker at the lodging house says that Stride would work when she could find work and that a "better hearted, more good natured cleaner woman never lived."

On a Certificate of Change notice filed in Sweden at the time that Liz moved to London it is stated that she could read tolerably well but had little understanding of the Bible or catechism.

Lodgers described her as a quiet woman who would do a "good turn for anyone." However she had frequently appeared before the Thames Magistrate Court on charges of being drunk and disorderly, sometimes with obscene language.

Thomas Bates, watchman at the lodging house at 32 Flower and Dean Street is quoted as saying "Lor' bless you, when she could get no work she had to do the best she could for her living, but a neater, cleaner woman never lived."

She made money by sewing and charring, received money from Michael Kidney and was an occasional prostitute.


Her father was Gustaf Ericsson and her mother Beatta Carlsdotter. On October 14, 1860 she moved to the parrish of Carl Johan in Gothenburg. While there she worked as a domestic for Lars Frederick Olofsson, a workman with 4 children.

February 2nd of 1862 finds her moving to Cathedral parrish in Gothenburg.

In March 1865 she is registered by police as a prostitute and on April 21 of that year she gives birth to a stillborn baby girl.

According to the official ledger wherein she is entry number 97, she is living in Philgaten in Ostra Haga, a suburb of Gothenburg in October 1865.

During October and November she is treated at the special hospital Kurhuset for venereal disease. The October 17 entry states that she is treated for a venereal chancre. She is reported as healthy in the November 3, 7, 10, 14 entries and after the last entry she is told she will no longer have to report to the police.

On February 7th of 1866 she applies to move to the Swedish parrish in London, England. She enters the London register as an unmarried woman on July 10, 1866.

According to testimony by Charles Preston, who lived at the same lodging house, she came to London in the service of a "foreign gentleman."

Michael Kidney, with whom she lived on and off prior to her death, says she told him that she worked for a family in Hyde Park and that she "came to see the country." He also believes that she had family in London.

July 10, 1886 -- she is registered as an unmarried woman at the Swedish Church in Prince's Square, St. George in the East.

On March 7, 1869 she marries John Thomas Stride at the parrish church, St. Giles in the Fields. The Service is conducted by Rev. Will Powell and witnessed by Daniel H. Wyatt and N. Taylor. Stride gives her address as 67 Gower Street.

John Thomas Stride is a carpenter, living at 21 Munster Street, Regent Park. He is the son of William Stride, a shipwright. John Thomas was born in 1821 at the Sick Asylum, Bromley. He died at age 63 on October 24, 1884 at the Poplar Union Workhouse.

John Thomas Stride has a nephew, born 1858, who at the time of the murders is a member of the Metropolitan Police Force. Walter Frederick Stride identified Liz's body from mortuary photographs. He retires from the police force in 1902.

Soon after the marriage John and Liz are living in East India Dock road in Poplar. They keep a coffee shop at Chrisp Street, Poplar and in 1870 in Upper North Street, Poplar. They move themselves and the business to 178 Poplar High Street and remain there until the business is taken over by John Dale in 1875.

In 1878 the Princess Alice, a saloon steam ship collides with the steamer Bywell Castle in the Thames. There is a loss of 600-700 lives. Liz will claim that her husband and children were killed in this disaster and that her palate was injured by being kicked in the mouth while climbing the mast to escape. No cooberative evidence exists for this statement and we know that her husband actually died in 1884. The post mortem report on her specifically states that there was no damage to either her hard or soft palate. This story may have been told by her to elicit sympathy when asking for financial aid from the Swedish Church.

On December 28, 1881 through January 4, 1882 she is treated at the Whitechapel Infirmary for bronchitis. From the Infirmary she moves directly into the Whitechapel Workhouse.

From 1882 onwards she lodges on and off at the common lodging house at 32 Flower and Dean Street. As her husband is still alive at this time it is reasonable to assume that the marriage has irrevocably fallen apart.

On October 24, 1884, John Thomas Stride dies of heart disease.

In 1885 she is living with Michael Kidney. They live together for three years although she often leaves him for periods of time to go off on the town. All told they are apart for 5 months.

Michael Kidney is a waterside laborer. He is born in 1852 and is 7 years younger than Liz. they live at 35 Devonshire Street, moving to 36 Devonshire five months prior to her murder. At the time of the murder Kidney is living at 33 Dorset Street. In June 1889 Kidney is treated for syphilis in the Whitechapel Infirmary and again in September for Lumbago and dyspepsia.

Their relationship is best described as stormy. He says that she was frequently absent when she was drinking and he even tried, unsuccessfully, to padlock her in (see list of possession at time of death).

On May 20 and again on the 23rd of 1886 She receives alms from the Swedish Church. Sven Olsson, Clerk of the Church remembers her as "very poor." She gives her address as Devonshire Street off Commercial Street.

On March 21, 1887 she is registered as an inmate at the Poplar Workhouse.

In April of 1887 she charges Kidney with assault but then fails to appear at Thames Magistrate Court.

In July of 1888 Kidney is sent down for three days charges with being drunk and disorderly and using obscene language.

On September 15 and 20 of 1888 she again receives financial assistance from the Swedish Church.

Charles Preston, a barber, had lived at 32 Flower and Dean Street for 18 months says that Liz Stride had been arrested one Saturday night for being drunk and disorderly at the Queen's Head Public House on Commercial Street. She was released on bail the following day. During the 20 months prior to her death she appeared 8 times before the Magistrate on similar charges.

On Tuesday, September 25, 1888, Michael Kidney sees her for the last time. He expects her to be home when he arrives from work but she is not. Kidney is unconcerned as she has done this often. "It was drink that made her go away," he said. "She always returned without me going after her. I think she liked me better than any other man."

Wednesday, September 26 finds her at the lodging house at 32 Flower and Dean Street. She had not been there in the last three months. She tells Catherine Lane that she had words with the man she was living with. Her being at the lodging house is confirmed by none other than Dr. Thomas Barnardo, a doctor who had taken to street preaching and then opened a famous home for destitute boys.

Dr. Barnardo had visited the lodging house to get opinions on his scheme 'by which children at all events could be saved at least from the contamination of the common lodging houses and the street.' On entering the kitchen at 32 Flower and Dean he found the women and girls there "...thoroughly frightened." They were discussing the murders. One woman, probably drunk cried bitterly "We're all up to no good, no one cares what becomes of us! Perhaps some of us will be killed next!"

On viewing the body, Barnardo will recognize Liz instantly as one of the women in the kitchen.

Thursday-Friday, September 27-28. Liz continues to lodge at 32 Flower and Dean. According to Elizabeth Tanner, the lodging house deputy, she arrived at the house after a quarrel with Kidney. Kidney will deny this.

Saturday-Sunday, September 29-30, 1888. The weather this evening is showery and windy. Elizabeth spends the afternoon cleaning two rooms at the lodging house. For her services she is paid 6d by Elizabeth Tanner.

September 30th, 1888

6:30 PM: Tanner sees her again at the Queen's Head Public House. They drank together and then walked back to the lodging house.

7:00-8:00 PM: She is seen leaving the lodging house by Charles Preston and Catherine Lane. She gives Lane a large piece of green velvet and asks her to hold it for her until she returns. She ask Preston to borrow his clothes brush but he has mislaid it. She then leaves passing by Thomas Bates, watchman at the lodging house who says she looked quite cheerful. Lane will later state that "I know the deceased had 6d when she left, she showed it to me, stating that the deputy had given it to her."

11:00 PM: Two laborers, J. Best of 82 Lower Chapham Street and John Gardner of 11 Chapham Street were going into the Bricklayer's Arms Public House on Settles street, north of Commercial and almost opposite Berner Street. As they went in Stride was leaving with a short man with a dark mustache and sandy eyelashes. The man was wearing a billycock hat, mourning suit and coat. Best says "They had been served in the public house and went out when me and my friends came in. It was raining very fast and they did not appear willing to go out. He was hugging and kissing her, and as he seemed a respectably dressed man, we were rather astonished at the way he was going on at the woman." Stride and her man stood in the doorway for some time hugging and kissing. The workmen tried to get the man to come in for a drink but he refused. They then called to Stride. "That's Leather Apron getting 'round you." The man and Stride moved off towards Commercial Road and Berner Street. "He and the woman went off like a shot soon after eleven."

11:45 PM: William Marshall, a laborer, sees her on Berner Street. He is standing in the doorway of 64 Berner Street on the west side of the street between Fairclough and Boyd Streets. He notices her talking to a man in a short black cutaway coat and sailor's hat outside number 63. They are kissing and carrying on. He hears the man say "You would say anything but your prayers."

12:00 AM: Matthew Packer claims to sell Stride and a man grapes. This is a very dubious piece of evidence. See Sugden's The Complete History of Jack the Ripper for the pros and cons of this story.

12:35 AM: Police Constable William Smith sees Stride with a young man on Berner Street opposite the International Worker's Club.The man is described as 28 years old, dark coat and hard deerstalker hat. He is carrying a parcel approximately 6 inches high and 18 inches in length. the package is wrapped in newspaper.

12:40 AM (approximately): Quoting Home Office File:

"Israel Schwartz of 22 Helen Street, Backchurch Lane, stated that at this hour, turning into Berner Street from Commercial Road, and having gotten as far as the gateway where the murder was committed, he saw a man stop and speak to a woman, who was standing in the gateway. He tried to pull the woman into the street, but he turned her round and threw her down on the footway and the woman screamed three times, but not very loudly. On crossing to the opposite side of the street, he saw a second man lighting his pipe. The man who threw the woman down called out, apparently to the man on the opposite side of the road, "Lipski", and then Schwartz walked away, but finding that he was followed by the second man, he ran as far as the railway arch, but the man did not follow so far.

Schwartz cannot say whether the two men were together or known to each other. Upon being taken to the mortuary Schwartz identified the body as that of the woman he had seen."

Later in the deposition:

"It will be observed that allowing for differences of opinion between PC Smith and Schwartz as to the apparent age and height of the man each saw with the woman whose body they both identified, there are serious differences in the description of the dress...so at least it is rendered doubtful that they are describing the same man.

If Schwartz is to be believed, and the police report of his statement casts no doubt upon it, it follows that if they are describing different men that the man Schwartz saw is the more probable of the two to be the murderer..."

Schwartz describes the man as about 30 years old, 5' 5" tall with a fresh complexion, dark hair and small brown mustache. He is dressed in an overcoat and an old black felt hat with a wide brim.

At the same time, James Brown says he sees Stride with a man as he was going home with his supper down Fairclough Street. She was leaning against the wall talking to a stoutish man about 5' 7" tall in a long black coat that reached to his heels. He has his arm against the wall. Stride is saying "No, not tonight, some other night."

1:00 AM: Louis Diemschutz, a salesman of jewelry, entered Dutfield's Yard driving his cart and pony. Immediately at the entrace, his pony shied and refused to proceed -- Diemschutz suspected something was in the way but could not see since the yard was utterly pitch black. He probed forward with his whip and came into contact with a body, whom he initially believed to be either drunk or asleep.

He entered the Workingman's Club to get some help in rousing the woman, and upon returning to the yard with Isaac Kozebrodsky and Morris Eagle, the three discover that she was dead, her throat cut.

It was believed that Diemschutz's arrival frightened the Ripper, causing him to flee before he performed the mutilations. Diemschutz himself stated that he believed the Ripper was still in the yard when he had entered, due to the warm temperature of the body and the continuingly odd behavior of his pony.

Berner Street (Henriques Street today):

Slopes south off Commercial Road to a point two blocks further south than Boyd Street. It terminates at the London, Tilbury and Southend railway. It is crossed by Fairclough Street at its midpoint. It is a residential street at the northern end of St. Georges in the East parrish abutting on Whitechapel. It runs north-south off Commercial Road as far as Ellen Street. Beyond Ellen Street lay the Swedish Church.

To the east is Batty Street. It is on Batty Street that the Lipski murder takes place in 1887. This is a notorious crime in which Isreal Lipski forcibly poisoned a pretty young girl named Miriam Angel who lived below him. Following the murder he swallowed acid. This murder set off a wave of antisemitism and the name 'Lipski' became a antisemetic slur throughout the east end.

Dutfield's Yard:

On the left of Berner Street, directly opposite the new London School Board building (and below the cartwheel in the photograph) is Dutfield's yard. Four houses north of Fairclough, to the left of the International Worker's Educational Club, is a pair of wooden gates which provide access to the yard. The left gate was fitted with a wicker gate to be used when the gate's proper were closed. Lettered in white paint on the gates is "W. Hindley, Sack Manufacturer" and "A. Dutfield, Van and Cart Builder". Dutfield had actually moved his business to Pinchin Street prior to the murder. The cart making business was located next to an unused stable on the west side if the yard. Also on the west side is the sack manufacturer. On the north side, on your right as you enter the gates, is the Worker's Club. On the south side are three artisan's dwellings converted from older buildings. On the left of the entrance are terraced cottages occupied by cigarette makers and tailors.

For a distance of 18' from the street to the side door of the Worker's Club you walk between the blind walls of buildings. It is impenetrably dark.

International Worker's Educational Club:

A two story wooden building, barn like. The club was spacious with a capacity of over two hundred people and contained a stage. Here amateurs performed, mostly in the Russian language, plays by well-known Russian revolutionists. On Saturday and Sunday evenings there would be an international gathering of Russian, Jewish, British, French, Italian, Czech, and Polish radicals. Members thought of the club as the "cradle of Liberty' for the worker's manumission.

At the time of her death Elizabeth Stride was wearing:

Long black cloth jacket, fur trimmed around the bottom with a red rose and white maiden hair fern pinned to it. (She was not wearing the flowers when she left the lodging house.)
Black skirt
Black crepe bonnet
Checked neck scarf knotted on left side
Dark brown velveteen bodice
2 light serge petticoats
1 white chemise
White stockings
Spring sided boots
2 handkerchiefs (one, the larger, is noticed at the post-mortem to have fruit stains on it.)
A thimble
A piece of wool wound around a card

In the pocket in her underskirt:

A key (as of a padlock)
A small piece of lead pencil
Six large and one small button
A comb
A broken piece of comb
A metal spoon
A hook (as from a dress)
A piece of muslin
One or two small pieces of paper

She is found clutching a packet of Cachous in her hand. Cachous is a pill used by smokers to sweeten their breath.


Dr. George Baxter Phillips, who also handled the Chapman and Kelly murders, performed the post mortem on Stride. He was also present at the scene and, after examining the body, asserts the deceased had not eaten any grapes. His report is as follows:

"The body was lying on the near side, with the face turned toward the wall, the head up the yard and the feet toward the street. The left arm was extended and there was a packet of cachous in the left hand.

The right arm was over the belly, the back of the hand and wrist had on it clotted blood. The legs were drawn up with the feet close to the wall. The body and face were warm and the hand cold. The legs were quite warm.

Deceased had a silk handkerchief round her neck, and it appeared to be slightly torn. I have since ascertained it was cut. This corresponded with the right angle of the jaw. The throat was deeply gashed and there was an abrasion of the skin about one and a half inches in diameter, apparently stained with blood, under her right arm.

At three o'clock p.m. on Monday at St. George's Mortuary, Dr. Blackwell and I made a post mortem examination. Rigor mortis was still thoroughly marked. There was mud on the left side of the face and it was matted in the head.;

The Body was fairly nourished. Over both shoulders, especially the right, and under the collarbone and in front of the chest there was a bluish discoloration, which I have watched and have seen on two occasions since.

There was a clear-cut incision on the neck. It was six inches in length and commenced two and a half inches in a straight line below the angle of the jaw, one half inch in over an undivided muscle, and then becoming deeper, dividing the sheath. The cut was very clean and deviated a little downwards. The arteries and other vessels contained in the sheath were all cut through.

The cut through the tissues on the right side was more superficial, and tailed off to about two inches below the right angle of the jaw. The deep vessels on that side were uninjured. From this is was evident that the hemorrhage was caused through the partial severance of the left cartoid artery.

Decomposition had commenced in the skin. Dark brown spots were on the anterior surface of the left chin. There was a deformity in the bones of the right leg, which was not straight, but bowed forwards. There was no recent external injury save to the neck.

Mortuary photograph of Elizabeth Stride

The body being washed more thoroughly I could see some healing sores. The lobe of the left ear was torn as if from the removal or wearing through of an earring, but it was thoroughly healed. On removing the scalp there was no sign of extravasation of blood.

The heart was small, the left ventricle firmly contracted, and the right slightly so. There was no clot in the pulmonary artery, but the right ventricle was full of dark clot. The left was firmly contracted as to be absolutely empty.

The stomach was large and the mucous membrane only congested. It contained partly digested food, apparently consisting of cheese, potato, and farinaceous powder. All the teeth on the lower left jaw were absent."

The day after the murder, a citizen mob formed outside of Berner Street protesting the continuation of the murders and the seemingly slipshod work of the police to catch the Ripper. From here on in, the Ripper is public enemy number one, and Home Office begins to consider offering awards for his capture and arrest.


Elizabeth stride was buried on Saturday, 6 October, 1888.

Elizabeth was buried at East London Cemetery Co. Ltd., Plaistow, London, E13. Grave 15509, square 37. The sparse Funeral was paid at the expense of the parish by undertaker, Mr Hawkes.

Elizabeth Stride´s Death Certificate
Death Certificate: No. 479, registered 24 October, 1888 (HC 084467)



Courthouse Steps Maven
Oct 2006
        June 11th, 2007 10:56 PM        

Casebook: Jack The Ripper

Catherine Eddowes

Catherine Eddowes a.k.a. Kate Kelly

Catherine Eddowes is born on April 14, 1842 in Graisley Green, Wolverhampton. At the time of her death she is 5 feet tall, has hazel eyes and dark auburn hair. She has a tattoo in blue ink on her left forearm "TC."

At the time of her death, Catherine Eddowes is suffering from Bright's Disease, a form of Uremia. Friends spoke of Catherine as an intelligent, scholarly woman but one who was possessed of a fierce temper.

Wearing at the time of her murder:

Black straw bonnet trimmed in green and black velvet with black beads. Black strings, worn tied to the head.
Black cloth jacket trimmed around the collar and cuffs with imitation fur and around the pockets in black silk braid and fur. Large metal buttons.
Dark green chintz skirt, 3 flounces, brown button on waistband. The skirt is patterned with Michaelmas daisies and golden lilies.
Man's white vest, matching buttons down front.
Brown linsey bodice, black velvet collar with brown buttons down front
Gray stuffed petticoat with white waistband
Very old green alpaca skirt (worn as undergarment)
Very old ragged blue skirt with red flounces, light twill lining (worn as undergarment)
White calico chemise
No drawers or stays
Pair of men's lace up boots, mohair laces. Right boot repaired with red thread
1 piece of red gauze silk worn as a neckerchief
1 large white pocket handkerchief
1 large white cotton handkerchief with red and white bird's eye border
2 unbleached calico pockets, tape strings
1 blue stripe bed ticking pocket
Brown ribbed knee stockings, darned with white cotton


2 small blue bags made of bed ticking
2 short black clay pipes
1 tin box containing tea
1 tin box containing sugar
1 tin matchbox, empty
12 pieces white rag
1 piece course linen, white
1 piece of blue and white shirting, 3 cornered
1 piece red flannel with pins and needles
6 pieces soap
1 small tooth comb
1 white handle table knife
1 metal spoon
1 red leather cigarette case with white metal fittings
1 ball hemp
1 piece of old white apron with repair
Several buttons and a thimble
Mustard tin containing two pawn tickets, One in the name of Emily Burrell, 52 White's Row, dated August 31, 9d for a man's flannel shirt. The other is in the name of Jane Kelly of 6 Dorset Street and dated September 28, 2S for a pair of men's boots. Both addresses are false.
Printed handbill
Portion of a pair of spectacles
1 red mitten

Mortuary photograph of Catherine Eddowes.


Her father was George Eddowes, a tin plate worker working or apprenticed at the Old Hall Works in Wolverhampton. Her mother is Catherine (nee Evans). She has two sisters, Elizabeth (Eddowes) Fisher and Eliza (Eddowes) Gold. She also has an uncle named William Eddowes.

One contemporary newspaper report gives her history as follows:

"Her father and his brother William left their jobs as tinplate workers in Wolverhampton during the tinmen's strike, about 1848. They and their families walked to London. In London they eventually found employment. George and his family stayed, while William took his family back to Wolverhampton and resumed work at Old Hall Works. In the early 1860s Catherine returned to Wolverhampton to visit her family. Her relatives recalled the visit and described her "as very good looking and jolly sort of girl."

Catherine is educated at St. John's Charity School, Potter's Field, Tooley Street until her mother dies in 1855, when most of her siblings entered Bermondsey Workhouse and Industrial School.

Her education continues when she returns to the care of her aunt in Bison Street, Wolverhampton. She attends Dowgate Charity School. By 1861-1863 she leaves home with Thomas Conway.

The Wolverhampton paper summarizes her history somewhat differently:

George Eddowes completes his apprenticeship at Old Hall Works and marries Catherine Evans, a cook at the local hostelry. The two go to London in search of their fortunes. While there, George fathers 12 children. His wife, Catherine, dies in 1851 and George a few months later. Catherine is returned to Wolverhampton into the care of an aunt who lived in Bison Street. This may be the aunt who, according to an article in the January 1995 Black Country Bugle, made a gift of a miniature portrait to Catherine which became the basis for the portrait which appears in the Penny Illustrated Paper at the time of her death.

At the age of 21, Catherine is still living with her aunt but becomes involved with Thomas Conway, an older pensioner from the 18the Royal Irish. Conway enlisted and drew his pension under the name Thomas Quinn. The couple went to Birmingham and other towns making a living selling cheap books of lives written by the pensioner. Again, according to the article in the January 1995 Black Country Bugle, they also specialized in the production of gallows ballads. On one occasion she hawked such a ballad at the execution of her cousin, Christopher Robinson, hanged at Strafford in January 1866.

In the course of their travels they returned to Wolverhampton where Catherine gave birth to a child. They return to London but Kate tries to return to her aunt's house after "running away from the pensioner." Her aunt refused her admittance and Kate took refuge in a lodging house on Bison Street.

There is no evidence to suggest that she and Conway were ever married. As a couple they had three children. Annie, born 1865, George, born around 1868 and another son born around 1875.

Annie married a lampblack packer named Louis Phillips. At the time of her mother's death she was living at 12 Dilston Grove, Southwark Park Road. Two years earlier Kate had nursed her daughter through her confinement, but Kate's over drinking and appeals for money had forced mother and daughter to part on bad terms. At that time Annie had been living on King Street but soon moved and left her mother no forwarding address. Annie says at the inquest into Kate's death that she hadn't seen her mother in 25 months when she had paid her to act as her nurse. She had not seen her father and brothers for 18 months previously since they had stopped living with her.

The entire family withheld their address from Kate. Annie says that her parents had parted on bad terms due to Kate's drinking seven or eight years ago. She says that her father was a teetotaler but that he was on bad terms with the family when he moved out of Annie's. Annie also states that Conway knew about the next man Kate takes up with, John Kelly.

Kate's sister, Elizabeth Fisher, gives an entirely different story. "My sister left Conway because he treated her badly. He did not drink regularly, but when he drew his pension they went out together, and it generally ended with his beating her."

Whichever is the case, Conway and Eddowes split in 1880 with Kate taking Annie and Conway the boys.

In 1881 Catherine moved to Cooney's lodging house, 55 Flower and Dean Street and met John Kelly. Kelly jobbed around the markets but had been more or less regularly employed by a fruit salesman named Lander. He is described as quiet and inoffensive with fine features and sharp and intelligent eyes. He was also a sick man suffering from a kidney complaint and a bad cough.

Somewhere in this period Catherine's daughter Annie marries Louis Phillips and begins to move around Bermondsey and Southwark to avoid her mother's scrounging.

Frederick William Wilkinson, deputy at Cooney's lodging house says Catherine "was not often in drink and was a very jolly woman, often singing." She was generally in the lodging house for the night between 9 and 10 PM. He says she wasn't in the habit of walking the streets and he had never heard of or seen her being intimate with anyone other than Kelly. Kelly himself claimed no knowledge of her ever walking the streets. He says that she sometimes drank to excess but wasn't in the habit. Another sister, Eliza Gold, said that Catherine was of sober habits.

Every year, during the season, Kelly and Eddowes went hop picking. In 1888 they went to Hunton near Maidstone in Kent. "We didn't get along too well and started to hoof it home," Kelly says, "We came along in company with another man and woman who had worked in the same fields, but who parted from us to go to Cheltenham when we turned off towards London. The woman said to Kate, 'I've got a pawn ticket for a flannel shirt. I wish you'd take it since you're going up to town. It is only for 2d, and it may fit your old man.' So Kate took it and we trudged along... We did not have money enough to keep us going till we got to town, but we did get there, and came straight to this house (55 Flower and Dean). Luck was dead against us... we were both done up for cash."

They reached London on Friday, September 28. John managed to earn 6d. Kate took 2d and told Kelly to take the 4d and get a bed at Cooney's. She said she would get a bed at the casual ward in Shoe Lane.

The superintendent of the casual ward said that Kate was well known there, but that this was the first time she had been there for a long time. Eddowes explained that she had been hopping in the country but "I have come back to earn the reward offered for the apprehension of the Whitechapel murderer. I think I know him." The superintendent warned her to be careful he didn't murder her. "Oh, no fear of that." she replied. (There is no cooberative evidence for this story and it should be treated with a great deal of skepticism.)

Saturday and Sunday, September 29-30:

At 8:00 AM on September 29 she returns to Cooney's lodging house and sees Kelly. She has been turned out of the casual ward for some unspecified trouble. Kelly decided to pawn a pair of boots he had. He does this with a pawnbroker named Smith in Church Street. It was Kate who took them into the shop and pledged them under the name Jane Kelly. She receives 2/6 for the boots and she and Kelly take the money and buy some food, tea and sugar. Between 10 and 11 AM they were seen by Wilkinson eating breakfast in the lodging house kitchen.

By afternoon they were again without money. Eddowes says she is going to see if she can get some money from her daughter in Bermondsey. She parts with Kelly in Houndsditch at 2:00 PM, promising to be back no later than 4:00 PM. "I never knew if she went to her daughter's at all," Kelly says at the inquest. "I only wish she had, for we had lived together for some time and never had a quarrel." Kate could not have seen her daughter who had moved since the last time Kate saw her.

8:00 PM: Catherine Eddowes is drunk and attracting a crowd by doing imitations of a fire engine in Aldgate High Street. After the fire engine imitations she lays down on the street to sleep. She is arrested by PC Louis Robinson outside 29 Aldgate High Street. She is very drunk and laying in a heap on the pavement. Robinson was told by the crowd that no one knew her. He pulled her up to her feet and leaned her against the building's shutters but she slipped sideways. With the aid of PC George Simmons they brought her to Bishopsgate Police Station.

Arriving at the station she was asked her name and replied "Nothing." At 8:50 PM PC Robinson looked in on her in her cell. She was asleep and smelled of drink. At 9:45 PM PC George Hutt took charge of the prisoners. He visited the cell every half hour during the night.

12:15 AM: Kate is heard singing softly to herself in the cell. 12:30 AM: She calls out to ask when she will be released."When you are capable of taking care of yourself." Hutt replies. "I can do that now." Kate informs him.

12:55 AM: Sergeant Byfield instructs PC Hutt to see if any prisoners were fit to be released. Kate was found to be sober. She gives her name as Mary Ann Kelly, and her address as 6 Fashion Street. Kate is released.

She leaves the station at 1:00 AM.
"What time is it?" she asks Hutt.
"Too late for you to get anything to drink." he replies.
"I shall get a damn fine hiding when I get home." She tells him.
Hutt replies, " And serve you right, you had no right to get drunk."
Hutt pushes open the swinging door of that station.
"This was missus," he says, "please pull it to."
"All right'" Kate replies, "Goodnight, old cock."

She turned left out the doorway which took her in the opposite direction of what would have been the fastest way back to Flower and Dean Street. She appears to be heading back toward Aldgate High Street where she had gotten drunk. On going down Houndsditch she would have passed the entrance to Duke Street, at the end of which was Church Passage which led into Mitre Square.

It is estimated that it would have taken less than ten minutes to reach Mitre Square. This leaves a thirty minute gap from the time she leaves the police station to the time she is seen outside Mitre Square.

1:35 AM: Joseph Lawende, a commercial traveler in the cigarette trade, Joseph Hyam Levy, a butcher and Henry Harris, a furniture dealer leave the Imperial Club at 16-17 Duke Street. At the corner of Duke Street and Church Passage they see Eddowes and a man talking. She is standing facing the man with her hand on his chest, but not in a manner to suggest that she is resisting him. Lawende describes the man as 30 years old, 5 foot 7 inches tall, fair complexion and mustache with a medium build. He is wearing a pepper and salt colored jacket which fits loosely, gray cloth cap with a peak of the same color. He has a reddish handkerchief knotted around his neck. Over all he gives the appearance of being a sailor. Lawende will later identify Catherine Eddowes clothes as the same as those worn by the woman he saw that night.

1:45 PM: PC Watkins discovers Eddowes body in Mitre Square.

Mitre Square is a small enclosed Square on the edge of the City. It is defined by Mitre Street, King Street (Creechurch Lane, today), Duke Street (Duke's Place, Today), and Aldgate. Between King Street and Mitre Square lies St. James Place known then as the Orange Market. Between Duke Street and the Square was the Great Synagogue and Kearly and Tonge's Warehouse. Another warehouse belonging to Kearly and Tonge formed the northwest side of the square along with Police Constable Pearse's house. Between Aldgate and the Square stands the Sir John Cass School.

Access to Mitre Square was by a broad, lighted opening from Mitre Street, Church Passage, a narrow, covered opening from Duke Street, south of the Synagogue or another narrow covered entry from St. James Place. On the right of the broad entry coming of Mitre Street are three unoccupied cottages forming a blind corner with a high fence sealing off the yard between the school and the square. The body lay in the square in front of the empty cottages.


Dr. Frederick Gordon Brown, London police surgeon called in at the murder, arrived at Mitre Square around 2:00 AM. His report is as follows.

"The body was on its back, the head turned to left shoulder. The arms by the side of the body as if they had fallen there. Both palms upwards, the fingers slightly bent. The left leg extended in a line with the body. The abdomen was exposed. Right leg bent at the thigh and knee. The throat cut across.

The intestines were drawn out to a large extent and placed over the right shoulder -- they were smeared 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 side of the neck round the shoulder and upper part of arm, and fluid blood-coloured 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 have been dead most likely within the half hour. We looked for superficial bruises and saw none. No blood on the skin of the abdomen or secretion of any kind on the thighs. No spurting of blood on the bricks or pavement around. No marks of blood below the middle of the body. Several buttons were found in the clotted blood after the body was removed. There was no blood on the front of the clothes. There were no traces of recent connexion.

When the body arrived at Golden Lane, some of the blood was dispersed through the removal of the body to the mortuary. The clothes were taken off carefully from the body. A piece of deceased's ear dropped from the clothing.

I made a post mortem examination at half past two on Sunday afternoon. Rigor mortis was well marked; body not quite cold. Green discoloration over the abdomen.

After washing the left hand carefully, a bruise the size of a sixpence, recent and red, was discovered on the back of the left hand between the thumb and first finger. A few small bruises on right shin of older date. The hands and arms were bronzed. No bruises on the scalp, the back of the body, or the elbows.

Mortuary photograph of Catherine Eddowes.

The face was very much mutilated. There was a cut about a quarter of an inch through the lower left eyelid, dividing the structures completely through. The upper eyelid on that side, there was a scratch through the skin on the left upper eyelid, near to the angle of the nose. The right eyelid was cut through to about half an inch.

There was a deep cut over the bridge of the nose, extending from the left border of the nasal bone down near the angle of the jaw on the right side of the cheek. This cut went into the bone and divided all the structures of the cheek except the mucuous membrane of the mouth.

The tip of the nose was quite detached by an oblique cut from the bottom of the nasal bone to where the wings of the nose join on to the face. A cut from this divided the upper lip and extended through the substance of the gum over the right upper lateral incisor tooth.

About half an inch from the top of the nose was another oblique cut. There was a cut on the right angle of the mouth as if the cut of a point of a knife. The cut extended an inch and a half, parallel with the lower lip.

There was on each side of cheek a cut which peeled up the skin, forming a triangular flap about an inch and a half. On the left cheek there were two abrasions of the epithelium under the left ear.

The throat was cut across to the extent of about six or seven inches. A superficial cut commenced about an inch and a half below the lobe below, and about two and a half inches behind the left ear, and extended across the throat to about three inches below the lobe of the right ear.

The big muscle across the throat was divided through on the left side. The large vessels on the left side of the neck were severed. The larynx was severed below the vocal chord. All the deep structures were severed to the bone, the knife marking intervertebral cartilages. The sheath of the vessels on the right side was just opened.

The cartoid artery had a fine hole opening, the internal jugular vein was opened about an inch and a half -- not divided. The blood vessels contained clot. All these injuries were performed by a sharp instrument like a knife, and pointed.

The cause of death was hemorrhage from the left common cartoid artery. The death was immediate and the mutilations were inflicted after death.

Mortuary photograph of Catherine Eddowes

We examined the abdomen. The front walls were laid open from the breast bones to the pubes. The cut commenced opposite the enciform cartilage. The incision went upwards, not penetrating the skin that was over the sternum. It then divided the enciform cartilage. The knife must have cut obliquely at the expense of that cartilage.

Behind this, the liver was stabbed as if by the point of a sharp instrument. Below this was another incision into the liver of about two and a half inches, and below this the left lobe of the liver was slit through by a vertical cut. Two cuts were shewn by a jagging of the skin on the left side.

The abdominal walls were divided in the middle line to within a quarter of an inch of the navel. The cut then took a horizontal course for two inches and a half towards the right side. It then divided round the navel on the left side, and made a parallel incision to the former horizontal incision, leaving the navel on a tongue of skin. Attached to the navel was two and a half inches of the lower part of the rectus muscle on the left side of the abdomen. The incision then took an oblique direction to the right and was shelving. The incision went down the right side of the vagina and rectum for half an inch behind the rectum.

There was a stab of about an inch on the left groin. This was done by a pointed instrument. Below this was a cut of three inches going through all tissues making a wound of the peritoneum about the same extent.

An inch below the crease of the thigh was a cut extending from the anterior spine of the ilium obliquely down the inner side of the left thigh and separating the left labium, forming a flap of skin up to the groin. The left rectus muscle was not detached.

There was a flap of skin formed by the right thigh, attaching the right labium, and extending up to the spine of the ilium. The muscles on the right side inserted into the frontal ligaments were cut through.

The skin was retracted through the whole of the cut through the abdomen, but the vessels were not clotted. Nor had there been any appreciable bleeding from the vessels. I draw the conclusion that the act was made after death, and there would not have been much blood on the murderer. The cut was made by someone on the right side of the body, kneeling below the middle of the body.

I removed the content of the stomach and placed it in a jar for further examination. There seemed very little in it in the way of food or fluid, but from the cut end partly digested farinaceous food escaped.

The intestines had been detached to a large extent from the mesentery. About two feet of the colon was cut away. The signoid flexure was invaginated into the rectum very tightly.

Right kidney was pale, bloodless with slight congestion of the base of the pyramids.

Police sketch showing the wounds of Catherine Eddowes.

There was a cut from the upper part of the slit on the under surface of the liver to the left side, and another cut at right angles to this, which were about an inch and a half deep and two and a half inches long. Liver itself was healthy.

The gall bladder contained bile. The pancreas was cut, but not through, on the left side of the spinal column. Three and a half inches of the lower border of the spleen by half an inch was attached only to the peritoneum.

The peritoneal lining was cut through on the left side and the left kidney carefully taken out and removed. The left renal artery was cut through. I would say that someone who knew the position of the kidney must have done it.

The lining membrane over the uterus was cut through. The womb was cut through horizontally, leaving a stump of three quarters of an inch. The rest of the womb had been taken away with some of the ligaments. The vagina and cervix of the womb was uninjured.

The bladder was healthy and uninjured, and contained three or four ounces of water. There was a tongue-like cut through the anterior wall of the abdominal aorta. The other organs were healthy. There were no indications of connexion.

I believe the wound in the throat was first inflicted. I believe she must have been lying on the ground.

The wounds on the face and abdomen prove that they were inflicted by a sharp, pointed knife, and that in the abdomen by one six inches or longer.

I believe the perpetrator of the act must have had considerable knowledge of the position of the organs in the abdominal cavity and the way of removing them. It required a great deal of medical knowledge to have removed the kidney and to know where it was placed. The parts removed would be of no use for any professional purpose.

I think the perpetrator of this act had sufficient time, or he would not have nicked the lower eyelids. It would take at least five minutes.

I cannot assign any reason for the parts being taken away. I feel sure that there was no struggle, and believe it was the act of one person.

The throat had been so instantly severed that no noise could have been emitted. I should not expect much blood to have been found on the person who had inflicted these wounds. The wounds could not have been self-inflicted.

My attention was called to the apron, particularly the corner of the apron with a string attached. The blood spots were of recent origin. I have seen the portion of an apron produced by Dr. Phillips and stated to have been found in Goulston Street. It is impossible to say that it is human blood on the apron. I fitted the piece of apron, which had a new piece of material on it (which had evidently been sewn on to the piece I have), the seams of the borders of the two actually corresponding. Some blood and apparently faecal matter was found on the portion that was found in Goulston Street.


Catherine Eddowes was buried on Monday, 8 October, 1888

Kate was buried in an elm coffin in City of London Cemetery, (Little Ilford) at Manor Park Cemetery, Sebert Road, Forest Gate, London, E12, unmarked (public) grave 49336, square 318.

The body of the Mitre-square victim - Catherine Eddowes, alias Conway, alias Kelly - still lies in the City Mortuary, Golden-lane. At half-past one o'clock to-day [8 Oct] it will be removed for burial in the Ilford Cemetery.

The funeral of the victim of the Mitre-square tragedy took place yesterday afternoon. In the vicinity of the City mortuary in Golden-lane quite a multitude of persons assembled to witness the departure of the cortége for the Ilford cemetery. Not only was the thoroughfare itself thronged with people, but the windows and roofs of adjoining buildings were occupied by groups of spectators. The procession left the mortuary shortly after half-past one o.clock. It consisted of a hearse of improved description, a mourning coach, containing relatives and friends of the deceased, and a brougham conveying representatives of the press. The coffin was of polished elm, with oak mouldings, and bore a plate with the inscription, in gold letters, "Catherine Eddowes, died Sept. 30, 1888, aged 43 years." One of the sisters of the deceased laid a beautiful wreath on the coffin as it was placed in the hearse, and at the graveside a wreath of marguerites was added by a sympathetic kinswoman. The mourners were the four sisters of the murdered woman, Harriet Jones, Emma Eddowes, Eliza Gold, and Elizabeth Fisher, her two nieces Emma and Harriet Jones, and John Kelly, the man with whom she had lived. As the funeral procession passed through Golden-lane and Old-street the thousands of persons who followed it nearly into Whitechapel rendered locomotion extremely difficult. Order was, however, admirably maintained by a body of police under Superintendent Foster and Inspector Woollett of the City force, and beyond the boundaries of the City by a further contingent under Superintendent Hunt and Inspector Burnham of the G Division. The route taken after leaving Old-street was by way of Great Eastern-street, Commercial-street, Whitechapel-road, Mile-end-road, through Stratford to the City cemetery at Ilford. A large crowd had collected opposite the parish church of St. Mary.s, Whitechapel, to see the procession pass, and at the cemetery it was awaited by several hundreds, most of whom had apparently made their way thither from the East-end. Men and women of all ages, many of the latter carrying infants in their arms, gathered round the grave. The remains were interred in the Church of England portion of the cemetery, the service being conducted by the chaplain, the Rev. Mr. Dunscombe. Mr. G. C. Hawkes, a vestryman of St. Luke.s, undertook the responsibility of carrying out the funeral at his own expense, and the City authorities, to whom the burial ground belongs, remitted the usual fees. (The Daily Telegraph, October 8 1888, page 3, October 9 1888, page 3)

Today, square 318 has been re-used for part of the Memorial Gardens for cremated remains. Kate lies beside the Garden Way in front of Memorial Bed 1849. In late 1996, the cemetery authorities decided to mark Kate's grave with a plaque.

Catherine Eddowes´ Death Certificate
Death Certificate: No. 258, registered 13 October, 1888 (DA 818098). Certificate lists name as "Catherine Eddowes," otherwise "Conway," otherwise "Kelly."



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Casebook: Jack The Ripper

Mary Jane Kelly

Contemporary illustration of Mary Kelly outside 13 Miller's Court.

Mary Jane Kelly A.K.A.. Marie Jeanette Kelly, Mary Ann Kelly, Ginger

Mary Jane Kelly was approximately 25 years old at the time of her death which would place her birth around 1863. She was 5' 7" tall and stout. She had blonde hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. "Said to have been possessed of considerable personal attractions." (McNaughten)

She was last seen wearing a linsey frock and a red shawl pulled around her shoulders. She was bare headed. Detective Constable Walter Dew claimed to know Kelly well by sight and says that she was attractive and paraded around, usually in the company of two or three friends. He says she always wore a spotlessly clean white apron.

Maria Harvey, a friend, says that she was "much superior to that of most persons in her position in life."

It is also said that she spoke fluent Welsh.

Joseph Barnett says that he "always found her of sober habits."

Landlord John McCarthy says "When in liquor she was very noisy; otherwise she was a very quiet woman."

Caroline Maxwell says that she "was not a notorious character."

Catherine Pickett claims "She was a good, quiet, pleasant girl, and was well liked by all of us."


Almost everything that is known about Mary Jane Kelly comes from Joseph Barnett, who lived with her just prior to the murder. He, of course, had all this information from Kelly herself. Some is conflicting and it may be suspected that some, or perhaps much of it, is embellished.

She was born in Limerick, Ireland but we do not know if that refers to the county or the town. As a young child she moved with her family to Wales.

Her father was John Kelly who worked in an iron works in either Carnarvonshire or Carmarthenshire. Mary Jane claims to have 6 or 7 brothers and one sister. She says that one brother, Henry, whose nickname is Johnto is a member of the 2nd Battalion Scots Guards. As a member of this battalion he would have been stationed in Dublin, Ireland. She also claims to Lizzie Albrook that she had a relative on the London stage.

John McCarthy, landlord at Miller's Court, states that she received a letter from her mother in Ireland. Barnett says that she never corresponded with her family.

John McCarthy was born in Dieppe and is married with four children. He owns a chandler's shop at 27 Dorset Street on one side of the entrance to Miller's Court. He is described as a gentlemanly looking fellow.

Joseph Barnett and Mrs. Carthy, a woman with whom she lived at one time, say that she came from a family that was "fairly well off" (Barnett) and "well to do people" (Carthy). Mrs. Carthy also states that Kelly was "an excellent scholar and an artist of no mean degree."

Mrs. Carthy is the landlady from Breezer's Hill, Ratcliffe Highway. Barnett refers to her house as "a bad house."

c. 1879: At the age of 16 she marries a collier named Davies. He is killed in an explosion two or three years later. There is a suggestion that there might have been a child in this marriage.

Kelly moves to Cardiff and lives with a cousin and works as a prostitute. The Cardiff police have no record of her. She says she was ill and spent the best part of the time in an infirmary.

She arrives in London in 1884.

She may have stayed with the nuns at the Providence Row Convent on Chrisp Street. According to one tradition she scrubbed floors and charred here and was eventually placed into domestic service in a shop in Cleveland Street.

According to Joseph Barnett, on arriving in London, Kelly went to work in a high class brothel in the West End. She says that during this time she frequently rode in a carriage and accompanied one gentleman to Paris, which she didn't like and she returned.

On November 10, one day after the murder, Mrs. Elizabeth Pheonix of 57 Bow Common Lane, Burdett Road, Bow, went to the Leman Street Police Station and said that a woman matching the description of Kelly used to live in her brother-in-law's house in Breezer's Hill, off Pennington Street.

Mrs. Pheonix says that "She was Welsh and that her parents, who had discarded her, still lived in Cardiff, from which place she came. But on occasions she declared that she was Irish." She added that Mary Jane was very abusive and quarrelsome when she was drunk but "one of the most decent and nice girls you could meet when sober."

A Press Association reporter who looked into the Breezer's Hill District wrote:

"It would appear that on her arrival in London she made the acquaintance of a French woman residing in the neighborhood of Knightsbridge, who, she informed her friends, led her to pursue the degraded life which had now culminated in her untimely end. She made no secret of the fact that while she was with this woman she would drive about in a carriage and made several journeys to the French capital, and, in fact, led a life which is described as that "of a lady." By some means, however, at present, not exactly clear, she suddenly drifted into the East End. Here fortune failed her and a career that stands out in bold and sad contrast to her earlier experience was commenced. Her experiences with the East End appears to have begun with a woman (according to press reports a Mrs. Buki) who resided in one of the thoroughfares off Ratcliffe Highway, known as St. George's Street. This person appears to have received Kelly direct from the West End home, for she had not been there very long when, it is stated, both women went to the French lady's residence and demanded the box which contained numerous dresses of a costly description.

Kelly at last indulged in intoxicants, it is stated, to an extant which made her unwelcome. From St. George's Street she went to lodge with a Mrs. Carthy at Breezer's Hill (off Pennington Street). This place she left about 18 months or two years ago and from that time on appears to have left Ratcliffe all together.

Mrs. Carthy said that Kelly had left her house and gone to live with a man who was in the building trade and who Mrs. Carthy believed would have married Kelly."

c. 1886: Kelly leaves Carthy's house to live with a man in the building trades. Barnett says she lived with a man named Morganstone opposite or in the vicinity of Stepney Gasworks. She had then taken up with a man named Joseph Fleming and lived somewhere near Bethnal Green. Fleming was a stone mason or mason's plasterer. He used to visit Kelly and seemed quite fond of her. A neighbor at Miller's Court, Julia Van Turney says that Kelly was fond of a man other than Barnett and whose name was also Joe. She thought he was a costermonger and sometimes visited and gave money to Kelly.

By 1886 she is living in Colley's lodging house in Thrawl Street, Spitalfields and it is here that she meets Joe Barnett.

Joseph Barnett is London born of Irish heritage. He is a riverside laborer and market porter who is licensed to work at Billingsgate Fish Market. He comes from a family of three sisters and one brother who is named Daniel. Barnett was born in 1858 and dies in 1926.

Julia Van Turney says that Joe Barnett is of good character and was kind to Mary Jane, giving her money on occasion.

Barnett and Kelly are remembered as a friendly and pleasant couple who give little trouble unless they are drunk. She may be the Mary Jane Kelly who was fined 2/6 by the Thames Magistrate Court on September 19, 1888 for being drunk and disorderly.

Good Friday, April 8, 1887: Joseph Barnett meets Mary Jane Kelly for the first time in Commercial Street. He takes her for a drink and arranges to meet her the following day. At their second meeting they arrange to live together.

They take lodging at in George Street, off Commercial. Later they move to Paternoster Court off Dorset Street. They are evicted for not paying rent and for being drunk. Next they move to Brick Lane.

In February or March of 1888 they move from Brick Lane to Miller's Court off Dorset Street. Here they occupy a single room which is designated 13 Miller's Court.

Miller's Court:

Opposite Crossingham's lodging house oat 35 Dorset Street, where Annie Chapman lived, and between numbers 26 and 27 Dorset Street is a three foot wide opening that was the entrance to Miller's Court. It is the first archway on the right of Dorset Street coming from Commercial Street. There were six houses in the court, each whitewashed up to the first floor windows. The rooms were let by John McCarthy, who owned a chandler's shop at 27 Dorset Street.

Number 13 Miller's Court was the back parlor of 26 Dorset Street. Partitioned off from the rest of the building, it was entered from a door at the end of the arched passageway. It was the first door on the right in Miller's Court and anyone entering or leaving the court would have to pass it.

The room was approximately 12 feet square. Opposite the door was a fireplace. On the left of the door and at right angles to it were two windows, one of which was close enough to the door as to be able to reach through it and unbolt the door. To the right of the door was a bedside table so close that the door would hit it when opened. Next to the table was a bed with the head against the door wall, its side against the right wall. The room contained two tables and a chair and a cheap print entitled "The Fisherman's widow" hanging over the fireplace. Opposite the fireplace was a small cupboard which contained cheap crockery, empty ginger beer bottles and a little stale bread.

Contemporary photograph of the window at 13 Miller's Court.

The key to the door was missing. The window closest it was broken and stuffed with rags and you could reach the spring lock of the door through the window. A man's pilot coat hung over the window in place of a curtain. The window, according to Julia Van Turney, was broken several weeks before the murder by Kelly when she was drunk.

Also found in the room by the police was remnants of clothes in the grate of the fireplace. They had been burned in a fire so hot that it melted the spout off a nearby kettle. Mrs. Harvey believes the clothes are hers as she had left a hat, jacket, two men's shirts, a boy's shirt and a child's petticoat in Kelly's room. The pilot coat hanging over the window was also hers.

Kelly had taken the room under her own name and paid 4/6 per week rent. At the time of her death she was 30 shillings behind in rent.

August or early September, 1888: Barnett loses his job and Mary Jane returns to the streets. Barnett decides to leave her.

October 30, between 5 and 6 PM: Elizabeth Prater, who lives above Kelly reports that Barnett and Kelly have an argument and Barnett leaves her. He goes to live at Buller's boarding house at 24-25 New Street, Bishopsgate.

Barnett states at the inquest that he left her because she was allowing other prostitutes to stay in the room. "She would never have gone wrong again," he tells a newspaper, "and I shouldn't have left her if it had not been for the prostitutes stopping at the house. She only let them (stay there) because she was good hearted and did not like to refuse them shelter on cold bitter nights." He adds, "We lived comfortably until Marie allowed a prostitute named Julia to sleep in the same room; I objected: and as Mrs. Harvey afterwards came and stayed there, I left and took lodgings elsewhere."

Maria Harvey stayed with Kelly on the nights of November 5 and 6. She moved to new lodgings at 3 New Court, another alley of Dorset Street.

Wednesday, November 7: Mary Jane buys a half penny candle from McCarthy's shop. She is later seen in Miller's Court by Thomas Bowyer, a pensioned soldier whose nickname is "Indian Harry." He is employed by McCarthy and lives at 37 Dorset Street.

Bowyer states that on Wednesday night he saw a man speaking to Kelly who closely resembled the description of the man Matthew Packer claims to have seen with Elizabeth Stride. His appearance was smart and attention was drawn to him by his very white cuffs and rather long, white collar which came down over the front of his long black coat. He did not carry a bag.

Thursday-Friday, November 8-9: Almost every day after the split, Barnett would visit Mary Jane. On Friday the ninth he stops between 7:30 and 7:45 PM. He says she is in the company of another woman who lives in Miller's Court. This may have been Lizzie Albrook who lived at 2 Miller's Court.

Albrook says "About the last thing she said to me was 'Whatever you do don't you do wrong and turn out as I did.' She had often spoken to me in this way and warned me against going on the street as she had done. She told me, too, that she was heartily sick of the life she was leading and wished she had money enough to go back to Ireland where her people lived. I do not believe she would have gone out as she did if she had not been obliged to do so to keep herself from starvation."

Maria Harvey also says that she was woman that Barnett saw with Mary Jane and that she left at 6:55 PM.

8:00 PM: Barnett leaves and goes back to Buller's boarding house where he played whist until 12:30 AM and then went to bed.

8:00 PM: Julia Van Turney, who lives at 1 Miller's Court goes to bed.

There are no confirmed sightings of Mary Jane Kelly between 8:00 PM and 11:45 PM. there is an unconfirmed story that she is drinking with a woman named Elizabeth Foster at the Britannia Public House.

11:00 PM: It is said she is in the Britannia drinking with a young man with a dark mustache who appears respectable and well dressed. It is said she is very drunk.

11:45 PM: Mary Ann Cox, a 31 year old widower and prostitute, who lives at 5 Miller's Court (last house on the left) enters Dorset Street from Commercial Street. Cox is returning home to warm herself as the night had turned cold. She sees Kelly ahead of her, walking with a stout man. The man was aged around 35 or 36 and was about 5' 5" tall. He was shabbily dressed in a long overcoat and a billycock hat. He had a blotchy face and small side whiskers and a carrotty mustache. The man is carrying a pail of beer.

Mrs. Cox follows them into Miller's Court. they are standing outside Kelly's room as Mrs. Cox passed and said "Goodnight." Somewhat incoherently, Kelly replied "Goodnight, I am going to sing." A few minutes later Mrs. Cox hears Kelly singing "A Violet from Mother's Grave". Cox goes out again at midnight and hears Kelly singing the same song.

Somewhere in this time period, Mary Jane takes a meal of fish and potatoes.

12:30 AM: Catherine Picket, a flower seller who lives near Kelly, is disturbed by Kelly's singing. Picket's husband stops her from going down stairs to complain. "You leave the poor woman alone." he says.

1:00 AM: It is beginning to rain. Again, Mary Ann Cox returns home to warm herself. At that time Kelly is still singing or has begun to sing again. There was light coming from Kelly's room. Shortly after one, Cox goes out again.

Elizabeth Prater, the wife of William Prater, a boot finisher who had left her 5 years before, is standing at the entrance to Miller's Court waiting for a man. Prater lives in room number 20 of 26 Dorset Street. This is directly above Kelly. She stands there about a half hour and then goes into to McCarthy's to chat. She hears no singing and sees no one go in or out of the court. After a few minutes she goes back to her room, places two chairs in front of her door and goes to sleep without undressing. She is very drunk.

2:00 AM: George Hutchinson, a resident of the Victoria Home on Commercial Street has just returned to the area from Romford. He is walking on Commercial Street and passes a man at the corner of Thrawl Street but pays no attention to him. At Flower and Dean Street he meets Kelly who asks him for money. "Mr. Hutchinson, can you lend me sixpence?" "I can't," say Hutchinson, "I spent all my money going down to Romford." "Good morning," Kelly replies, "I must go and find some money." She then walks in the direction of Thrawl Street.

She meets the man Hutchinson had passed earlier. The man puts his hand on Kelly's should and says something at which Kelly and the man laugh. Hutchinson hears Kelly say "All right." and the man say "You will be all right for what I have told you." The man then puts his right hand on Kelly's shoulder and they begin to walk towards Dorset Street. Hutchinson notices that the man has a small parcel in his left hand.

While standing under a street light on outside the Queens Head Public House Hutchinson gets a good look at the man with Mary Jane Kelly. He has a dark complexion, a heavy dark mustache, turned up at the corners, dark eyes and bushy eyebrows. He is, according to Hutchinson, "Jewish looking." The man is wearing a soft felt hat pulled down over his eyes, a long dark coat trimmed in astrakhan, a white collar with a black necktie fixed with a horseshoe pin. He wears dark spats over light button over boots. A massive gold chain is in his waistcoat with a large seal with a red stone hanging from it. He carries kid gloves in his right hand and a small package in his left. He is 5' 6" or 5' 7" tall and about 35 or 36 years old.

Kelly and the man cross Commercial Street and turn down Dorset. Hutchinson follows them. Kelly and the man stop outside Miller's Court and talk for about 3 minutes. Kelly is heard to say "All right, my dear. Come along. You will be comfortable." The man puts his arm around Kelly who kisses him. "I've lost my handkerchief." she says. At this he hands her a red handkerchief. The couple then heads down Miller's Court. Hutchinson waits until the clock strikes 3:00 AM. leaving as the clock strikes the hour.

3:00 AM: Mrs. Cox returns home yet again. It is raining hard. There is no sound or light coming from Kelly's room. Cox does not go back out but does not go to sleep. Throughout the night she occasionally hears men going in and out of the court. She told the inquest "I heard someone go out at a quarter to six. I do not know what house he went out of (as) I heard no door shut."

4:00 AM: Elizabeth Prater is awakened by her pet kitten "Diddles" walking on her neck. She hears a faint cry of "Oh, murder!" but, as the cry of murder is common in the district, she pays no attention to it. Sarah Lewis, who is staying with friends in Miller's Court, also hears the cry.

8:30 AM: Caroline Maxwell, a witness at the inquest and acquaintance of Kelly's, claims to have seen the deceased at around 8:30 AM, several hours after the time given by Phillips as time of death. She described her clothing and appearance in depth, and adamantly stated that she was not mistaken about the date, although she admitted she did not know Kelly very well.

10:00 AM: Maurice Lewis, a tailor who resided in Dorset Street, told newspapers he had seen Kelly and Barnett in the Horn of Plenty public house on the night of the murder, but more importantly, that he saw her about 10:00 AM the next day. Like Maxwell, this time is several hours from the time of death, and because of this discrepancy, he was not called to the inquest and virtually ignored by police.

10:45 AM: John McCarthy, owner of "McCarthy's Rents," as Miller's Court was known, sends Thomas Bowyer to collect past due rent money from Mary Kelly. After Bowyer receives no response from knocking (and because the door was locked) he pushes aside the curtain and peers inside, seeing the body. He informs McCarthy, who, after seeing the mutilated remains of Kelly for himself, ran to Commercial Road Police Station, where he spoke with Inspector Walter Beck, who returned to the Court with McCarthy.

Several hours later, after waiting fruitlessly for the arrival of the bloodhounds "Barnaby" and "Burgho," McCarthy smashes in the door with an axe handle under orders from Superintendent Arnold.

When police enter the room they find Mary Jane Kelly's clothes neatly folded on a chair and she is wearing a chemise. Her boots are in front of the fireplace.


Dr. Thomas Bond, a distinguished police surgeon from A Division was called in on the Mary Kelly murder. His report is as follows:

"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 and lying across the abdomen.

The right arm was slightly abducted from the body and rested on the mattress. The elbow was bent, the forearm supine with the fingers clenched. The legs were wide apart, the left thigh at right angles to the trunk and the right forming an obtuse angle with the pubes.

The whole of the surface of the abdomen and thighs was removed and the abdominal cavity emptied of its viscera. The breasts were cut off, the arms mutilated by several jagged wounds and 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 and kidneys with one breast under the head, the other breast by the right foot, the liver between the feet, the intestines by the right side and 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, and on the floor beneath was a pool of blood covering about two feet square. The wall by the right side of the bed and in a line with the neck was marked by blood which had struck it in a number of separate splashes.

The face was gashed in all directions, the nose, cheeks, eyebrows, and ears being partly removed. The lips were blanched and cut by several incisions running obliquely down to the chin. There were also numerous cuts extending irregularly across all the features.

The neck was cut through the skin and other tissues right down to the vertebrae, the fifth and sixth being deeply notched. The skin cuts in the front of the neck showed distinct ecchymosis. The air passage was cut at the lower part of the larynx through the cricoid cartilage.

Both breasts were more or less removed by circular incisions, the muscle down to the ribs being attached to the breasts. The intercostals between the fourth, fifth, and sixth ribs were cut through and the contents of the thorax visible through the openings.

Mary Kelly as she was found in her bed at 13 Miller's Court.

The skin and tissues of the abdomen from the costal arch to the pubes were removed in three large flaps. The right thigh was denuded in front to the bone, the flap of skin, including the external organs of generation, and part of the right buttock. The left thigh was stripped of skin fascia, and muscles as far as the knee.

The left calf showed a long gash through skin and tissues to the deep muscles and reaching from the knee to five inches above the ankle. Both arms and forearms had extensive jagged wounds.

The right thumb showed a small superficial incision about one inch long, with extravasation of blood in the skin, and there were several abrasions on the back of the hand moreover showing the same condition.

On opening the thorax it was found that the right lung was minimally adherent by old firm adhesions. The lower part of the lung was broken and torn away. The left lung was intact. It was adherent at the apex and there were a few adhesions over the side. In the substances of the lung there were several nodules of consolidation.

The pericardium was open below and the heart absent. In the abdominal cavity there was some partly digested food of fish and potatoes, and similar food was found in the remains of the stomach attached to the intestines."

Dr. George Bagster Phillips was also present at the scene, and gave the following testimony at the inquest:

"The mutilated remains of a female were lying two-thirds over towards the edge of the bedstead nearest the door. She had only her chemise on, or some underlinen garment. I am sure that the body had been removed subsequent to the injury which caused her death from that side of the bedstead that was nearest the wooden partition, because of the large quantity of blood under the bedstead and the saturated condition of the sheet and the palliasse at the corner nearest the partition.

The blood was produced by the severance of the cartoid artery, which was the cause of death. The injury was inflicted while the deceased was lying at the right side of the bedstead."

Mary Kelly as she was found in her bed at 13 Miller's Court.


Buried: Monday, 19 November, 1888

Mary Jane was buried in a public grave at St Patrick's Roman Catholic Cemetery, Langthorne Road, Leytonstone E11. Her grave was no. 66 in row 66, plot 10.

The funeral of the murdered woman Kelly has once more been postponed. Deceased was a Catholic, and the man Barnett, with whom she lived, and her landlord, Mr. M.Carthy, desired to see her remains interred with the ritual of her Church. The funeral will, therefore, take place tomorrow [19 Nov] in the Roman Catholic Cemetery at Leytonstone. The hearse will leave the Shoreditch mortuary at half-past twelve.

The remains of Mary Janet Kelly, who was murdered on Nov. 9 in Miller.s-court, Dorset-street, Spitalfields, were brought yesterday morning from Shoreditch mortuary to the cemetery at Leytonstone, where they were interred.

No family member could be found to attend the funeral. (The Daily Telegraph, November 19 1888, page 3, November 20 1888, page 3)

Mary Jane's grave was reclaimed in the 1950s. John Morrison errected a large, white headstone in 1986, but marked the wrong grave. Morrison's headstone was later removed, and the superintendent re-marked Mary Jane's grave with a simple memorial in the 1990s.

Mary Kelly´s Death Certificate
Death Certificate: No. 326, registered 17 November, 1888 (HC 08437). Certificate lists name as "Marie Jeanette Kelly," aka "Davies." Certificate lists place of death as "1 Millers Court Christ Church."


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