ByTara Mulcahy, writer at

A Brief History

We all know the history of the Whitechapel Murders; the murders plagued the impoverished area of the East End of London from the third of April 1888 to the thirteenth of February 1891.

A shocking time frame when considering during that time Jack the Ripper claimed the lives of five known Women between the 31st of August and the 9th of November.

Five women considered his Canonical Victims and then there were Six murders of women that were possibly linked to the Serial Killer but were also debunked at the same time.

The Canonical Victims.

Mortuary Photograph of Mary Ann Nichols
Mortuary Photograph of Mary Ann Nichols

Mary Ann Nichols was found dead on Friday the thirty first of August 1888 in Bucks Row, a back street in Whitechapel, discovered by an unsuspecting cart driver Charles Cross at 03:45 in the morning outside of a gated stable entrance.

Her throat had been slit twice from the left to the right, her abdomen was mutilated by a deep jagged wound. Several other incisions across the abdomen were shallow, and three or four somewhat similar cuts were found on the right side were caused by the same knife used, the knife was used violently and in a downwards direction.

Mary Ann Nichols was a 43 year old Alcoholic who was in the Prostitution profession, a mother of five children, three boys and two girls, she had been estranged from their father for up to seven years and is believed to have not had much contact with her children in the years leading up to her death.

Nichols was at that time the third Prostitute to have been murdered in Whitechapel, but believed the first victim of Jack the Ripper.

The night Nichols died it is claimed that she had earned her nights rent three times but had spent it each time on alcohol, though because of a new bonnet she had acquired she was quite certain she would make her rent again.

She was last seen alive at approximately 02:30 standing at the corner of Osborn Street and Whitechapel Road by her roommate Emily Holland.

Mortuary Photograph of Annie Chapman
Mortuary Photograph of Annie Chapman

Annie Chapman was discovered Mutilated at around 06:00 in the morning on Saturday the 8th of September 1888 on the ground near a doorway in the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields.

Her throat had been cut from left to right, like Nichols. She had been disemboweled, her intestines had been thrown out of her abdomen over each of her shoulders. It was revealed after the Post Mortem that part of her Uterus had been removed.

At the Age of 47 when she died, Chapman like Nichols was an Alcoholic who had turned to prostitution, a woman who birthed three children, two girls and a boy, her eldest died at the age of 12 from Meningitis and her youngest was born disabled, she and her husband began drinking heavily after their daughters death and soon became separated.

More is known about the night Annie Chapman died, as their was a witness to what the killer looked like, at about 05:30, Mrs Elizabeth Long witnessed Chapman speaking to a man just beyond 29 Hanbury Street, she described hims as over forty, and being a little taller than Chapman, with dark hair, and of what she claimed a foreign, "shabby-genteel" appearance, she also said that He was wearing a deer-stalker hat and dark overcoat.

The view of 29 Hanbury Street as it is today.
The view of 29 Hanbury Street as it is today.

It was after Chapman's killing that the first suspect was arrested, On 10 September, the police had arrested a notorious local called John Pizer, dubbed "Leather Apron", he was a butcher and was known to wear a leather apron, he had a reputation for terrorizing the local prostitutes. He was made a suspect primarily because a clean leather apron had been found around the area of the body, but His alibis for the two most recent murders were corroborated, and he was released without charge.

Mortuary Photograph of Elizabeth Stride.
Mortuary Photograph of Elizabeth Stride.

Elizabeth Stride was the first victims of the so named double event, it is believed that Jack was disturbed as her body wasn't mutilated.

Stride was discovered at around 01:00 in the morning ofSunday 30 September in Dutfields Yard, inside the gateway of 40 Berner Street. Her throat had been slit from left to right like the others, though unlike the others, her murder had happened just mere moments before her body was found, her body was left un-mutilated leaving Jack hungry for his next kill.

But Elizabeth Stride though being named a Canonical victim of Jack was also disputed largely, first because she was not mutilated, second because she was the only one to be killed south of Whitechapel street and last because the believed murder weapon was shorter and of a different model.

Stride was a 45 year Old Prostitute, long separated from her husband she had no children, it is not believed that she was an alcoholic.

On the 29th of September 1888, the night before her murder, Stride was wearing a black jacket and skirt, with a posy of a red rose in a spray of maidenhair fern or asparagus leaves, and a black crêpe bonnet.

She may or may not have been seen with a client, a man described as a short man with a dark mustache, wearing a morning suit and bowler hat, at around 11:00 at night near Berner Street, and then again at about 11:45 with a man wearing a peaked cap.

At 12:35 in the morning, PC William Smith had seen her with a man wearing a hard felt hat opposite the International Working Men's Educational Club, at 40 Berner Street in Whitechapel. The man was carrying a package about 18 inches (45 cm) in length.

Mortuary Photograph of Catherine Eddowes
Mortuary Photograph of Catherine Eddowes

On Sunday 30 September Catherine Eddowes was discovered at 01:45 by PC Edward Watkins at the south-west corner of Mitre Square, in the City of London, about 12 minutes walk from Berner Street. She had been killed less than 10 minutes earlier by a slash to the throat that again moved from from left to right with a sharp, pointed knife at least 6 inches (15 cm) long.

Her face and her abdomen were mutilated, her intestines were drawn out over her right shoulder with a detached length between her torso and left arm. Her left kidney and most of her uterus had been removed.

At 3 am a blood-stained fragment of Eddowes' apron was found lying in the passage of the doorway leading to 108 to 119 Goulston Street, Whitechapel, about a third of a mile (500 m) from the murder scene. There was chalk writing on the wall of the doorway, which read;

"The Juwes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing"

Catherine Eddowes mortuary photograph 2
Catherine Eddowes mortuary photograph 2

The Middlesex coroner, Wynne Baxter, believed that Stride had been attacked with a swift, sudden action.She was still holding a packet of cachous in her left hand when discovered, meaning that she had not had time to defend herself.

Eddowes was a 46 year old Prostitute, mother of a daughter and two sons, she took to drink in 1880, at the time of her death she was living with her common law husband John Kelly.

Mary Jane Kelly.
Mary Jane Kelly.

Mary Jane Kelly was different than the other four victims, sure she was a prostitute, it is not known if she had a problem with Alcohol, but unlike the others she was only 25 years of age, a baby in comparison to those who went before her.

Another difference is where she was killed, as the others were all killed out in the open streets of Whitechapel, Kelly was killed in her own lodgings, giving Jack more privacy and time to do with her what he wished.

On Friday 9 November, prostitute Mary Jane Kelly was murdered in the single room where she lived at 13 Miller's Court, behind 26 Dorset Street, Spitalfields.

Kelly's severely mutilated body was discovered shortly after 10:45 am lying on the bed. The first doctor at the scene, believed that Kelly was killed by a slash to the throat then after her death, her abdominal cavity was sliced open and all her viscera removed and spread around the room, her breasts had been cut off, her face mutilated beyond recognition, and her thighs partially cut through to the bone, with some of the muscles removed.

Unlike the other victims, she was undressed and wore only a light chemise. Her clothes were folded neatly on a chair, with the exception of some found burnt in the grate.

Kelly was believed to be Jacks last victim, did he stop killing because he had sated his blood lust and curiosity with his last vicious kill, did he leave the country and take up his killings somewhere else, or did he as some believe kill himself?

Non Canonical.

Emma Smith was attacked on the third of April 1888, at 45 she was a prostitute, she told the police she was attacked and mugged by a group of men at the junction of Osborn Street and Brick Lane, Whitechapel.

She had been brought to the hospital where it was discovered a blunt object had been inserted into her vagina, rupturing her peritoneum. She developed peritonitis and died at 9 am on 4 April 1888.

She had been ruled out as a Jack the Ripper Victim but Walter Dew, a detective constable stationed with H Division, later wrote that he believed that Smith was the first victim of Jack the Ripper, but his colleagues suspected it was the work of a criminal gang.

Martha Tabram
Martha Tabram

Martha Tabram a prostitute was discovered on Tuesday 7 August, at George Yard Buildings, George Yard, Whitechapel. She had been stabbed 39 times with a short blade, though it is mostly believed today that she was killed by a squaddie who worked at the tower of London Wellington Barracks, because she was not mutilated.

But as proven, Serial killers start out small and learn their trade, could she have been the first Victim of Jack?

On Thursday 20 December 1888, a patrolling constable found prostitute Rose Mylett, 29, strangled in Clarke's Yard, off Poplar High Street, most believed her to have been murdered but Robert Anderson thought she had accidentally caused her own death by hanging herself on the collar of her dress while in a drunken stupor.

Alice McKenzie was possibly a prostitute, who was murdered at about 12:40 am on Wednesday 17 July 1889 in Castle Alley, Whitechapel. Like most of the Jacks murders, her neck was cut from left to right, there were also wounds on her abdomen.

However, her wounds were not as deep as in previous murders, and a shorter blade was used. Commissioner Monro and one of the pathologists examining the body, believed that she was a Ripper murder, though another of the pathologist and Robert Anderson disagreed, as did Inspector Abberline.

Was she a victim of Jack, or was this some sick Copycat trying to emulate Jacks legend.

The torso of a was found at 5:15 a.m. on Tuesday 10 September 1889 under a railway arch in Pinchin Street, Whitechapel.

No other body parts were found, even with an extensive search of the area, the owner was never identified nor was their any suspect, Chief Inspector Swanson and Commissioner Monro had noted that there was a presence of blood within the torso that indicated that death was not from haemorrhage or from the cutting of the throat.

With no identification it is impossible to claim the woman was a prostitute, or a victim of Jack.

And last but not least for the murders in the Whitechapel file, was the murder of Prostitute Frances Coles which was committed on Friday 13 February 1891, Her body was found by PC Ernest Thompson only moments after the attack at 02:15 at Swallow Gardens, a passageway under a railway arch between Chamber Street and Royal Mint Street, Whitechapel.

Wounds on the back of her head suggest that she was thrown to the ground before her throat was cut twice, from left to right and then back again.

Again with the cutting from Left to right?

Is it Possible that Jack was the cause for a few more of the deaths on this list, are there more murders out there that we have no reason to link to Jack, was Jack the blame for other notorious Murders around the world during his life time, we will never know, but it makes you wonder, what else has Jack hidden from this world?


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