Primeira Vítima de Jack, o Estripador

Primeira Vítima de Jack, o Estripador


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Pouco depois das 3h30, Charles Cross caminhou pelas abundantes favelas do bairro de Whitechapel, em Londres, a caminho do trabalho. Enquanto caminhava pela Buck's Row - um atalho tranquilo flanqueado por armazéns e cabanas velhas de dois andares - Cross espiou na escuridão e viu algo incomum caído contra a entrada do estábulo fechado do outro lado da rua. Enquanto Cross avançava mais perto dos paralelepípedos, ele fez uma descoberta terrível. “Não consegui dizer no escuro o que era no começo”, disse ele. “Parecia-me um lençol de lona, ​​mas, entrando na estrada, vi que era o corpo de uma mulher.”

A saia da vítima tinha sido levantada quase até o estômago, e sangue empoçava de um ferimento em sua garganta. O exame post-mortem detalhou a matança horrível. O assassino havia cortado sua garganta duas vezes da esquerda para a direita, deixando um corte de dez centímetros e dezoito centímetros. A vítima mutilada tinha feridas denteadas no abdômen.

“As feridas devem ter sido infligidas com uma faca de lâmina forte, moderadamente afiada, e usadas com grande violência”, relatou o médico legista, que estimou que a vítima já estava morta há cerca de meia hora quando Cross descobriu seu corpo . Embora hematomas manchavam o rosto e o pescoço da vítima e um anel estava faltando em seu dedo, não houve nenhum sinal de luta na cena do crime e os residentes de Buck's Row não ouviram gritos durante a noite.

As autoridades identificaram a vítima como Mary Ann Nichols, de 43 anos, uma das centenas de prostitutas que perambulavam pelas ruas de Whitechapel. Apelidada de “Polly”, a oprimida Nichols bebeu tanto que isso destruiu seu casamento, custou-lhe a custódia de seus cinco filhos e a deixou na miséria. Ela se mudou de uma oficina para outra no decadente East End e até dormiu à noite em Trafalgar Square. Quando Nichols finalmente encontrou um trabalho respeitável como criada, ela perdeu o emprego depois de roubar roupas de seu empregador.

Uma amiga, Emily Holland, avistou Nichols do lado de fora de uma mercearia em frente à Igreja de Whitechapel por volta das 2h30 da manhã de 31 de agosto. Enquanto o embriagado Nichols se encostava na parede para se equilibrar, Holland pediu que ela fosse com ela a um alojamento próximo casa. Nichols recusou e cambaleou noite adentro. Uma hora depois, seu corpo foi descoberto. Ela estava usando roupas fornecidas pela casa de trabalho e carregando todos os seus pertences mundanos - um lenço branco, um pente e um pedaço de espelho quebrado.

A selvageria do crime chocou as sensibilidades vitorianas. “A brutalidade do assassinato está além da concepção e além da descrição”, relatou The Star. Apenas dois dias depois do sepultamento de Nichols, Londres levantou-se em 8 de setembro para descobrir que o corpo mutilado de outra prostituta de Whitechapel, Annie Chapman, havia sido descoberto a poucos quarteirões de distância do local de Buck's Row. Os detalhes do cruel assassinato refletiram os do esfaqueamento de Nichols, e começou a caça ao homem por um assassino em série.

Um frenesi da mídia estourou. Uma carta enviada às autoridades contendo fatos que só seriam do conhecimento da polícia e do assassino estava assinada, "Jack, o Estripador". O “Outono do Terror” consumiu Londres quando mais duas prostitutas - Elizabeth Stride e Catherine Eddowes - foram encontradas mortas em 30 de setembro. O corpo abatido da quinta e última vítima, Mary Kelly, foi descoberto em 9 de novembro. Apesar da incrível atenção devotada Para o caso, todas as trilhas para a identidade de Jack, o Estripador, chegaram a um beco sem saída.

Mesmo mais de 125 anos depois, Jack, o Estripador, continua sendo um dos assassinos em série mais famosos da história e um assunto de intenso fascínio que gerou livros, filmes e até passeios populares pelas cenas do crime. Gerações de "estripadores" especularam que Nichols pode não ter sido a primeira vítima de Jack, o Estripador, e que o assassino pode ter sido responsável por até 11 assassinatos não resolvidos em Whitechapel.

Inúmeras teorias foram levantadas sobre a verdadeira identidade do assassino, e dedos foram apontados até mesmo para figuras famosas, incluindo o autor de "As Aventuras de Alice no País das Maravilhas" Lewis Carroll, o pai de Winston Churchill e um membro da família real, o mais velho da Rainha Vitória neto e herdeiro do trono, o duque de Clarence. Oficialmente, no entanto, as autoridades fecharam o arquivo de Jack, o Estripador em 1892, e os cinco assassinatos de Whitechapel permanecem entre os casos arquivados mais notáveis ​​da história.


Carta de Caro Chefe

o Carta "Caro chefe" foi uma mensagem supostamente escrita pelo notório assassino em série vitoriano não identificado conhecido como Jack, o Estripador. Dirigida à Agência Central de Notícias de Londres e datada de 25 de setembro de 1888, a carta foi postada e recebida pela Agência Central de Notícias em 27 de setembro. A carta em si foi encaminhada à Scotland Yard em 29 de setembro. [1]

Embora muitos questionem sua autenticidade, [2] a carta "Dear Boss" é considerada a primeira correspondência assinada por um tal Jack, o Estripador, resultando em um assassino não identificado conhecido por este nome. [3]


A primeira vítima de Jack, o Estripador - HISTÓRIA

Arquivo MP3
Hoje, em 1888, o assassino que se tornaria conhecido como Jack, o Estripador, assassinou sua primeira vítima na área de Whitechapel, em Londres. Possivelmente o mais famoso assassino em série de todos os tempos, a lenda de Jack, o Estripador, cresceu nos últimos 118 anos a ponto de agora ser difícil separar a ficção dos fatos do caso.

Whitechapel é uma seção do East End de Londres, uma parte da cidade então conhecida por sua pobreza e aspereza. Whitechapel consistia em muitas ruas estreitas e escuras onde as prostitutas praticavam seu comércio com pouca preocupação com a prisão ou assédio da polícia local. Com essa frouxidão, veio também o conhecimento de que essas damas da noite tinham pouco em que contar para se protegerem de abusos, assassinatos e estupros. Ao discutir sobre Jack, o Estripador, é importante lembrar que seus crimes não se tornaram famosos estritamente por serem assassinatos em série; eles se tornaram infames por causa de sua brutalidade. Violência contra prostitutas e até assassinato não eram incomuns no East End durante o século 19, então, não fossem por algumas distinções importantes, é possível que os crimes de Jack, o Estripador, teriam sido considerados crimes passionais comuns.

Embora nunca saberemos com certeza, teoriza-se que Jack, o Estripador, matou cinco mulheres, todas elas prostitutas ou supostamente. No entanto, existem pelo menos 12 mulheres adicionais que podem ter sido vítimas de sua brutalidade. Pouco se sabia sobre os hábitos dos serial killers no século 19 e muitas técnicas forenses que são comuns hoje eram desconhecidas na época. Os métodos de Jack, o Estripador, embora perversos o suficiente para não serem descritos em detalhes aqui, exigiam a habilidade de alguém que tivesse pelo menos um treinamento cirúrgico básico ou que tivesse trabalhado como açougueiro.

Em setembro de 1888, a polícia estava revistando a área de um assassinato recente quando encontrou uma peça de roupa manchada de sangue em um beco. Escrita ali perto, com giz branco, estava uma mensagem que parecia ter vindo de alguém que era apenas semi-analfabeto. A mensagem parecia ser de natureza anti-semita, embora não esteja claro como isso afetou as vítimas. Jack, o Estripador, deixou uma pista? Jamais saberemos, embora seja possível que o pedaço de pano e o grafite não tenham outra conexão além da colocação coincidente.

Durante a onda de assassinatos de Jack, o Estripador, os jornais locais e a polícia receberam uma enxurrada de cartas de pessoas que tinham pistas ou que afirmavam ser o assassino. Três cartas receberam muita atenção, embora a primeira seja a mais verossímil. Foi enviado à Agência Central de Notícias em 25 de setembro de 1888 e apresentou o nome "Jack, o Estripador" ao mundo. A polícia publicou a carta em 1º de outubro na esperança de que alguém reconhecesse o estilo de escrita ou caligrafia. Embora nada de substancial tenha sido descoberto, as cartas subsequentes copiaram o estilo e a caligrafia do original, tornando difícil saber se cartas mais autênticas foram recebidas.

Os assassinatos ao estilo de Jack, o Estripador, tornaram-se raros depois de 1889, então presume-se que naquela época o assassino mudou-se, morreu ou desistiu antes que a investigação apontasse em sua direção. Vários homens que viviam ou frequentavam a área de Whitechapel foram levados para interrogatório, mas todos tinham álibis para sua localização durante os primeiros cinco assassinatos. Os investigadores modernos geraram mais suspeitos, mas como todos eles (e quaisquer testemunhas em potencial) estão mortos há muitos anos, é impossível encontrar provas conclusivas.

Uma indústria surgiu em torno de várias teorias da conspiração envolvendo a família real britânica, incluindo uma de que o príncipe Albert Victor, neto da Rainha Vitória, era Jack, o Estripador. Todas essas teorias sofrem de lapsos de natureza factual. Por mais intrigante que este caso permaneça, é bastante certo que a identidade de Jack, o Estripador, nunca será conhecida.


PC NEIL CHEGA À CENA

Essa descoberta foi feita pelo policial policial John Neil, que entrou na Buck & # 39s Row e passou pela Board School logo depois que Cross e Paul deixaram o local.

"Não havia ninguém por perto", disse ele mais tarde no inquérito sobre a morte da mulher. & # 8220Eu estava ali meia hora antes e não vi ninguém. Eu estava do lado direito & # 8230 quando notei uma figura deitada na rua. Estava escuro na hora & # 8230. Eu examinei o corpo com a ajuda de minha lâmpada e notei sangue escorrendo de um ferimento na garganta. Ela estava deitada de costas, com as roupas desarrumadas. Senti seu braço, que estava bem quente das juntas para cima. Seus olhos estavam bem abertos. Seu boné estava fora e deitado ao seu lado. & # 8221

Quando Neil se abaixou sobre o corpo, ele notou o policial John Thain passando no final da rua e acendeu sua lanterna para atrair sua atenção. "Aqui está uma mulher com a garganta cortada", ele chamou o colega que se aproximava, "corre imediatamente para o Dr. Llewellyn."


Conteúdo

Em meados do século 19, a Grã-Bretanha experimentou um influxo de imigrantes irlandeses que aumentou a população das principais cidades, incluindo o East End de Londres. A partir de 1882, refugiados judeus que fugiam de pogroms na Rússia czarista e em outras áreas da Europa Oriental emigraram para a mesma área. [2] A paróquia de Whitechapel no East End de Londres tornou-se cada vez mais superlotada, com a população aumentando para aproximadamente 80.000 habitantes em 1888. [3] As condições de trabalho e moradia pioraram e uma significativa subclasse econômica se desenvolveu. [4] Cinquenta e cinco por cento das crianças nascidas no East End morreram antes dos cinco anos. [5] Roubo, violência e dependência de álcool eram comuns, [3] e a pobreza endêmica levou muitas mulheres à prostituição para sobreviver diariamente. [6]

Em outubro de 1888, o Serviço de Polícia Metropolitana de Londres estimou que havia 62 bordéis e 1.200 mulheres trabalhando como prostitutas em Whitechapel, [7] com aproximadamente 8.500 pessoas residindo nas 233 pensões comuns em Whitechapel todas as noites, [3] com o preço noturno para uma cama de solteiro sendo quatro pence [8] e o custo de dormir em uma corda "inclinada" ("Hang-over") esticada pelo dormitório sendo dois pence por pessoa. [9]

Os problemas econômicos em Whitechapel foram acompanhados por um aumento constante das tensões sociais. Entre 1886 e 1889, manifestações frequentes levaram à intervenção policial e agitação pública, como o Domingo Sangrento (1887). [10] Anti-semitismo, crime, nativismo, racismo, distúrbios sociais e privação severa influenciaram a percepção pública de que Whitechapel era um notório antro de imoralidade. [11] Essas percepções foram fortalecidas no outono de 1888, quando a série de assassinatos cruéis e grotescos atribuídos a "Jack, o Estripador" recebeu cobertura sem precedentes na mídia. [12]

O grande número de ataques contra mulheres no East End durante esse tempo aumenta a incerteza sobre quantas vítimas foram assassinadas pelo mesmo indivíduo. [13] Onze assassinatos separados, estendendo-se de 3 de abril de 1888 a 13 de fevereiro de 1891, foram incluídos em uma investigação do Serviço de Polícia Metropolitana de Londres e foram conhecidos coletivamente no registro da polícia como os "assassinatos de Whitechapel". [14] [15] As opiniões variam quanto a se esses assassinatos devem estar ligados ao mesmo culpado, mas cinco dos onze assassinatos de Whitechapel, conhecidos como os "cinco canônicos", são amplamente considerados como obra do Estripador. [16] A maioria dos especialistas aponta ferimentos profundos na garganta, seguidos por extensas mutilações abdominais e genitais, remoção de órgãos internos e mutilações faciais progressivas como as características distintivas do estripador modo de operação. [17] Os dois primeiros casos no arquivo de assassinatos de Whitechapel, os de Emma Elizabeth Smith e Martha Tabram, não estão incluídos nos cinco canônicos. [18]

Smith foi roubado e agredido sexualmente em Osborn Street, Whitechapel, aproximadamente à 1h30 da manhã de 3 de abril de 1888. Ela foi espancada no rosto e recebeu um corte na orelha. [19] Um objeto rombudo também foi inserido em sua vagina, rompendo seu peritônio. Ela desenvolveu peritonite e morreu no dia seguinte no Hospital de Londres. [20] Smith afirmou que ela havia sido atacada por dois ou três homens, um dos quais ela descreveu como um adolescente. [21] Este ataque foi relacionado aos assassinatos posteriores pela imprensa, [22] mas a maioria dos autores atribuem o assassinato de Smith à violência geral de gangues de East End não relacionada ao caso do Estripador. [14] [23] [24]

Tabram foi assassinada em uma escada em George Yard, Whitechapel, em 7 de agosto de 1888 [25]. Ela sofreu 39 facadas na garganta, pulmões, coração, fígado, baço, estômago e abdômen, com ferimentos de faca adicionais infligidos a ela seios e vagina. [26] Todas as feridas de Tabram, exceto uma, foram infligidas com um instrumento de lâmina, como um canivete, e com uma possível exceção, todas as feridas foram infligidas por um indivíduo destro. [25] Tabram não foi estuprado. [27]

A selvageria desse assassinato, a falta de um motivo óbvio e a proximidade do local e data dos assassinatos canônicos posteriores do Estripador levaram a polícia a vincular esse assassinato aos cometidos posteriormente por Jack, o Estripador. [28] No entanto, este assassinato difere dos assassinatos canônicos posteriores porque, embora Tabram tenha sido esfaqueada várias vezes, ela não sofreu nenhum corte na garganta ou abdômen. Muitos especialistas não associam o assassinato de Tabram aos assassinatos posteriores por causa dessa diferença no padrão dos ferimentos. [29]

Cinco canônicos

O corpo de Mary Ann Nichols foi descoberto por volta das 3:40 da manhã na sexta-feira, 31 de agosto de 1888, em Buck's Row (agora Durward Street), Whitechapel. Nichols fora visto vivo pela última vez cerca de uma hora antes da descoberta de seu corpo por uma Sra. Emily Holland, com quem ela havia compartilhado uma cama em uma pensão comum em Thrawl Street, Spitalfields, caminhando na direção de Whitechapel Road. [31] Sua garganta foi cortada por dois cortes profundos, um dos quais cortou completamente todo o tecido até as vértebras. [32] Sua vagina foi apunhalada duas vezes, [33] e a parte inferior de seu abdômen foi parcialmente aberta por uma ferida profunda e irregular, fazendo com que seus intestinos se projetassem. [34] Várias outras incisões infligidas em ambos os lados de seu abdômen também foram causadas pela mesma faca em que cada um desses ferimentos havia sido infligido de forma inclinada para baixo. [35]

Uma semana depois, no sábado, 8 de setembro de 1888, o corpo de Annie Chapman foi descoberto aproximadamente às 6 horas da manhã, perto dos degraus da entrada do quintal dos fundos da rua Hanbury 29, Spitalfields. Como no caso de Mary Ann Nichols, a garganta foi cortada por dois cortes profundos. [36] Seu abdômen foi totalmente aberto, com uma seção da carne de seu estômago colocada sobre o ombro esquerdo e outra seção de pele e carne - além do intestino delgado - sendo removida e colocada acima do ombro direito. [37] A autópsia de Chapman também revelou que seu útero e seções de sua bexiga e vagina [38] foram removidas. [39]

No inquérito sobre o assassinato de Chapman, Elizabeth Long descreveu ter visto Chapman parado do lado de fora da Rua Hanbury 29 por volta das 5h30 [40] na companhia de um homem de cabelos escuros usando um chapéu marrom de espreitador e sobretudo escuro, e de um aparência "pobre-gentil". [41] De acordo com esta testemunha ocular, o homem fez a Chapman a pergunta: "Você vai?" ao que Chapman respondeu: "Sim". [42]

Elizabeth Stride e Catherine Eddowes foram mortas nas primeiras horas da manhã de domingo, 30 de setembro de 1888. O corpo de Stride foi descoberto aproximadamente à 1h em Dutfield's Yard, perto da Berner Street (agora Henriques Street) em Whitechapel. [43] A causa da morte foi uma única incisão bem definida, medindo 15 centímetros em seu pescoço, que cortou a artéria carótida esquerda e a traqueia antes de terminar abaixo da mandíbula direita. [44] A ausência de mais mutilações em seu corpo levou à incerteza se o assassinato de Stride foi cometido pelo Estripador ou se ele foi interrompido durante o ataque. [45] Mais tarde, várias testemunhas informaram à polícia que viram Stride na companhia de um homem na Rua Berner ou próximo a ela na noite de 29 de setembro e nas primeiras horas de 30 de setembro, [46] mas cada uma deu descrições diferentes: alguns disseram que seu companheiro era louro, outros morenos, alguns diziam que ele estava malvestido, outros bem vestido. [47]

O corpo de Eddowes foi encontrado na Mitre Square, na cidade de Londres, três quartos de hora após a descoberta do corpo de Elizabeth Stride. Sua garganta foi cortada e seu abdômen aberto por uma ferida longa, profunda e irregular antes que seus intestinos fossem colocados sobre seu ombro direito. O rim esquerdo e a maior parte do útero foram removidos, e seu rosto foi desfigurado, com o nariz decepado, a bochecha cortada e cortes medindo um quarto de polegada e meia polegada, respectivamente, incisos verticalmente em cada um de seus pálpebras. [48] ​​Uma incisão triangular - cujo ápice apontava para o olho de Eddowes - também foi esculpida em cada uma de suas bochechas, [49] e uma seção da aurícula e lóbulo de sua orelha direita foi posteriormente recuperada de sua roupa. [50] O cirurgião policial que conduziu a autópsia do corpo de Eddowes declarou sua opinião que essas mutilações teriam levado "pelo menos cinco minutos" para serem concluídas. [51]

Um vendedor de cigarros local chamado Joseph Lawende havia passado pela praça com dois amigos pouco antes do assassinato e descreveu ter visto um homem louro de aparência miserável com uma mulher que pode ter sido Eddowes. [52] Os companheiros de Lawende não foram capazes de confirmar sua descrição. [52] Os assassinatos de Stride e Eddowes tornaram-se conhecidos como o "evento duplo". [53] [54]

Uma seção do avental ensanguentado de Eddowes foi encontrada na entrada de um cortiço na Goulston Street, Whitechapel, às 2h55. [55] Uma inscrição em giz na parede diretamente acima deste avental dizia: "Os Juwes são os homens que querem não ser culpado por nada. " [56] Este graffito ficou conhecido como o graffito da Goulston Street. A mensagem parecia implicar que um judeu ou judeus em geral eram responsáveis ​​pela série de assassinatos, mas não está claro se o grafite foi escrito pelo assassino ao soltar o pedaço do avental ou foi meramente acidental e nada a ver com o caso . [57] Esse tipo de graffiti era comum em Whitechapel. O comissário de polícia Charles Warren temeu que o grafite pudesse desencadear motins anti-semitas e ordenou que a escrita fosse apagada antes do amanhecer. [58]

O corpo amplamente mutilado e estripado de Mary Jane Kelly foi encontrado deitado na cama no quarto de solteiro onde ela morava em 13 Miller's Court, perto da Dorset Street, Spitalfields, às 10h45 da sexta-feira, 9 de novembro de 1888. Seu rosto estava " cortado além de todo o reconhecimento ", [59] com a garganta cortada até a coluna e o abdômen quase vazio de seus órgãos. [60] Seu útero, rins e um seio foram colocados sob sua cabeça, e outras vísceras de seu corpo colocadas ao lado de seu pé, [61] sobre a cama e seções de seu abdômen e coxas em uma mesa de cabeceira. O coração estava faltando na cena do crime. [62]

Várias cinzas encontradas dentro da lareira em 13 Miller's Court sugeriram que o assassino de Kelly havia queimado vários itens combustíveis para iluminar a sala enquanto mutilava seu corpo. Um incêndio recente tinha sido forte o suficiente para derreter a solda entre uma chaleira e seu bico, que havia caído na grade da lareira. [63]

Cada um dos cinco assassinatos canônicos foi perpetrado à noite, em ou perto de um fim de semana, no final de um mês ou uma semana (ou mais) depois. [64] As mutilações tornaram-se cada vez mais graves à medida que a série de assassinatos prosseguia, exceto por Stride, cujo atacante pode ter sido interrompido. [65] Nichols não estava faltando nenhum órgão O útero de Chapman e seções de sua bexiga e vagina foram retiradas Eddowes teve seu útero e rim esquerdo removidos e seu rosto mutilado e o corpo de Kelly foi eviscerado extensivamente, com seu rosto "cortado em todas as direções" e o tecido do pescoço sendo cortado até o osso, embora o coração fosse o único órgão do corpo ausente na cena do crime. [66]

Historicamente, a crença de que esses cinco assassinatos canônicos foram cometidos pelo mesmo perpetrador deriva de documentos contemporâneos que os ligam e excluem outros. [67] Em 1894, Sir Melville Macnaghten, chefe adjunto da polícia metropolitana e chefe do Departamento de Investigação Criminal (CID), escreveu um relatório que afirmava: "o assassino de Whitechapel teve 5 vítimas - e 5 vítimas apenas". [68] Da mesma forma, as cinco vítimas canônicas foram vinculadas em uma carta escrita pelo cirurgião policial Thomas Bond a Robert Anderson, chefe do CID de Londres, em 10 de novembro de 1888. [69]

Alguns pesquisadores postularam que alguns dos assassinatos foram, sem dúvida, o trabalho de um único assassino, mas um número desconhecido maior de assassinos agindo de forma independente foram os responsáveis ​​pelos outros crimes. [70] Os autores Stewart P. Evans e Donald Rumbelow argumentam que o cinco canônico é um "mito do Estripador" e que três casos (Nichols, Chapman e Eddowes) podem ser definitivamente ligados ao mesmo perpetrador, mas que existe menos certeza quanto a se Stride e Kelly também foram assassinados pelo mesmo indivíduo. [71] Por outro lado, outros supõem que os seis assassinatos entre Tabram e Kelly foram obra de um único assassino. [17] O Dr. Percy Clark, assistente do patologista George Bagster Phillips, relacionou apenas três dos assassinatos e pensou que os outros foram perpetrados por "indivíduos de mente fraca induzidos a emular o crime". [72] Macnaghten não entrou para a força policial até um ano após os assassinatos, e seu memorando contém sérios erros factuais sobre possíveis suspeitos. [73]

Assassinatos posteriores de Whitechapel

Mary Jane Kelly é geralmente considerada a última vítima do Estripador e presume-se que os crimes terminaram por causa da morte, prisão, institucionalização ou emigração do culpado. [23] O arquivo de assassinatos de Whitechapel detalha outros quatro assassinatos que ocorreram após os cinco canônicos: os de Rose Mylett, Alice McKenzie, o torso da Pinchin Street e Frances Coles. [25] [74]

O corpo estrangulado de Rose Mylett, de 26 anos, [75] foi encontrado em Clarke's Yard, High Street, Poplar em 20 de dezembro de 1888. [76] Não havia sinal de luta e a polícia acreditou que ela havia enforcado acidentalmente ela mesma com o colarinho enquanto em um estado de estupor bêbado ou cometeu suicídio. [77] No entanto, marcas fracas deixadas por uma corda em um lado do pescoço sugeriam que Mylett havia sido estrangulada. [78] [79] No inquérito sobre a morte de Mylett, o júri retornou um veredicto de assassinato. [77]

Alice McKenzie foi assassinada pouco depois da meia-noite de 17 de julho de 1889 em Castle Alley, Whitechapel. Ela havia sofrido duas facadas no pescoço e sua artéria carótida esquerda havia sido cortada. Vários hematomas e cortes menores foram encontrados em seu corpo, que também apresentava um longo ferimento superficial de dezoito centímetros que se estendia do seio esquerdo até o umbigo. [80] Um dos patologistas examinadores, Thomas Bond, acreditava ser o assassinato do Estripador, embora seu colega George Bagster Phillips, que examinou os corpos de três vítimas anteriores, discordasse. [81] As opiniões entre os escritores também estão divididas entre aqueles que suspeitam que o assassino de McKenzie copiou o modo de operação de Jack, o Estripador, para desviar as suspeitas de si mesmo, [82] e daqueles que atribuem esse assassinato a Jack, o Estripador. [83]

"O torso da Pinchin Street" era um torso sem cabeça e sem pernas em decomposição de uma mulher não identificada com idade entre 30 e 40 anos, descoberta sob um arco ferroviário em Pinchin Street, Whitechapel, em 10 de setembro de 1889. [84] Hematomas nas costas da vítima, quadril e braço indicava que a falecida havia sido espancada extensivamente pouco antes de sua morte. O abdômen da vítima também foi amplamente mutilado, embora seus órgãos genitais não tivessem sido feridos. [85] Ela parecia ter sido morta aproximadamente um dia antes da descoberta de seu torso. [86] Acredita-se que as seções desmembradas do corpo tenham sido transportadas para o arco da ferrovia, escondido sob uma velha camisa. [87]

Às 2:15 da manhã de 13 de fevereiro de 1891, o policial Ernest Thompson descobriu uma prostituta de 25 anos chamada Frances Coles deitada sob um arco ferroviário em Swallow Gardens, Whitechapel. Sua garganta foi profundamente cortada, mas seu corpo não foi mutilado, levando alguns a acreditar que Thompson havia perturbado seu agressor. Coles ainda estava viva, embora ela tenha morrido antes que a ajuda médica pudesse chegar. [89] Um foguista de 53 anos, James Thomas Sadler, havia sido visto bebendo com Coles, e os dois discutiram aproximadamente três horas antes de sua morte. Sadler foi preso pela polícia e acusado de seu assassinato. Ele foi brevemente considerado o Estripador, [90] mas mais tarde foi dispensado do tribunal por falta de evidências em 3 de março de 1891. [90]

Outras supostas vítimas

Além dos onze assassinatos em Whitechapel, os comentaristas relacionaram outros ataques ao Estripador. No caso de "Fairy Fay", não está claro se esse ataque foi real ou fabricado como parte da tradição do Estripador. [91] "Fairy Fay" foi um apelido dado a uma mulher não identificada [92] cujo corpo foi supostamente encontrado em uma porta perto da Commercial Road em 26 de dezembro de 1887 [93] "após uma estaca ter sido enfiada em seu abdômen", [ 94] [95] mas não houve assassinatos registrados em Whitechapel por volta do Natal de 1887. [96] objeto contundente enfiado em sua vagina. [97] A maioria dos autores concorda que a vítima "Fairy Fay" nunca existiu. [91] [92]

Uma viúva de 38 anos chamada Annie Millwood foi internada na enfermaria de Whitechapel Workhouse com numerosos ferimentos de faca nas pernas e na parte inferior do torso em 25 de fevereiro de 1888, [98] informando aos funcionários que ela havia sido atacada com uma faca por um homem desconhecido. [99] Ela teve alta posteriormente, mas morreu de causas aparentemente naturais em 31 de março. [92] Posteriormente, foi postulado que Millwood foi a primeira vítima do Estripador, embora este ataque não possa ser definitivamente vinculado ao autor do crime. [100]

Outra suposta vítima pré-canônica foi uma jovem costureira chamada Ada Wilson, [101] que teria sobrevivido sendo esfaqueada duas vezes no pescoço com uma faca de fivela [102] na porta de sua casa em Bow em 28 de março de 1888. [103] a vítima, Annie Farmer, de 40 anos, residia na mesma pensão que Martha Tabram [104] e relatou um ataque em 21 de novembro de 1888. Ela havia recebido um corte superficial na garganta. Embora um homem desconhecido com sangue na boca e nas mãos tenha saído correndo desta pensão, gritando: "Veja o que ela fez!" antes que duas testemunhas ouvissem Farmer gritar, [105] seu ferimento era leve e possivelmente autoinfligido. [106] [107]

"O mistério de Whitehall" foi um termo cunhado para a descoberta do torso sem cabeça de uma mulher em 2 de outubro de 1888 no porão da nova sede da Polícia Metropolitana que estava sendo construída em Whitehall. Um braço e um ombro pertencentes ao corpo foram descobertos flutuando no rio Tamisa perto de Pimlico em 11 de setembro, e a perna esquerda foi posteriormente descoberta enterrada perto de onde o torso foi encontrado em 17 de outubro. [108] Os outros membros e a cabeça nunca foram recuperados e o corpo nunca foi identificado. As mutilações foram semelhantes às do caso do torso da Pinchin Street, onde as pernas e a cabeça foram cortadas, mas não os braços. [109]

Tanto o Whitehall Mystery quanto o caso da Pinchin Street podem ter feito parte de uma série de assassinatos conhecidos como "Thames Mysteries", cometidos por um único serial killer apelidado de "Torso killer". [110] É discutível se Jack, o Estripador e o "assassino do torso" eram a mesma pessoa ou se eram assassinos em série ativos na mesma área. [110] O modo de operação do assassino do Torso era diferente do assassino do Estripador, e a polícia na época descartou qualquer conexão entre os dois. [111] Apenas uma das quatro vítimas ligadas ao assassino do Torso foi identificada, Elizabeth Jackson. Ela era uma prostituta de 24 anos de Chelsea, cujas várias partes do corpo foram coletadas no rio Tamisa durante um período de três semanas entre 31 de maio e 25 de junho de 1889. [112] [113]

Em 29 de dezembro de 1888, o corpo de um menino de sete anos chamado John Gill foi encontrado em um estábulo em Manningham, Bradford. [114] Gill estava desaparecido desde 27 de dezembro. Suas pernas foram cortadas, seu abdômen aberto, seus intestinos parcialmente puxados para fora e seu coração e uma orelha removidos. Semelhanças com os assassinatos do Estripador levaram à especulação da imprensa de que o Estripador o havia matado. [115] O empregador do menino, o leiteiro William Barrett, de 23 anos, foi preso duas vezes pelo assassinato, mas foi libertado devido a evidências insuficientes. [115] Ninguém foi processado. [115]

Carrie Brown (apelidada de "Shakespeare", supostamente por seu hábito de citar os sonetos de Shakespeare) foi estrangulada com roupas e depois mutilada com uma faca em 24 de abril de 1891 na cidade de Nova York. [116] Seu corpo foi encontrado com um grande rasgo na região da virilha e cortes superficiais nas pernas e nas costas. Nenhum órgão foi removido da cena, embora um ovário tenha sido encontrado na cama, removido propositalmente ou desalojado involuntariamente. [116] Na época, o assassinato foi comparado aos de Whitechapel, embora a Polícia Metropolitana tenha descartado qualquer conexão. [116]

A grande maioria dos arquivos da polícia da cidade de Londres relacionados à investigação dos assassinatos de Whitechapel foram destruídos na Blitz. [117] Os arquivos sobreviventes da Polícia Metropolitana permitem uma visão detalhada dos procedimentos investigativos na era vitoriana. [118] Uma grande equipe de policiais conduziu investigações de casa em casa em Whitechapel. O material forense foi coletado e examinado. Os suspeitos foram identificados, rastreados e examinados mais de perto ou eliminados do inquérito. O trabalho policial moderno segue o mesmo padrão. [118] Mais de 2.000 pessoas foram entrevistadas, "mais de 300" pessoas foram investigadas e 80 pessoas foram detidas. [119] Following the murders of Stride and Eddowes, the Commissioner of the City Police, Sir James Fraser, offered a reward of £500 for the arrest of the Ripper. [120]

The investigation was initially conducted by the Metropolitan Police Whitechapel (H) Division Criminal Investigation Department (CID) headed by Detective Inspector Edmund Reid. After the murder of Nichols, Detective Inspectors Frederick Abberline, Henry Moore, and Walter Andrews were sent from Central Office at Scotland Yard to assist. The City of London Police were involved under Detective Inspector James McWilliam after the Eddowes murder, which occurred within the City of London. [121] The overall direction of the murder enquiries was hampered by the fact that the newly appointed head of the CID Robert Anderson was on leave in Switzerland between 7 September and 6 October , during the time when Chapman, Stride, and Eddowes were killed. [122] This prompted Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Charles Warren to appoint Chief Inspector Donald Swanson to coordinate the enquiry from Scotland Yard. [123]

Butchers, slaughterers, surgeons, and physicians were suspected because of the manner of the mutilations. A surviving note from Major Henry Smith, Acting Commissioner of the City Police, indicates that the alibis of local butchers and slaughterers were investigated, with the result that they were eliminated from the inquiry. [124] A report from Inspector Swanson to the Home Office confirms that 76 butchers and slaughterers were visited, and that the inquiry encompassed all their employees for the previous six months. [125] Some contemporary figures, including Queen Victoria, thought the pattern of the murders indicated that the culprit was a butcher or cattle drover on one of the cattle boats that plied between London and mainland Europe. Whitechapel was close to the London Docks, [126] and usually such boats docked on Thursday or Friday and departed on Saturday or Sunday. [127] The cattle boats were examined but the dates of the murders did not coincide with a single boat's movements and the transfer of a crewman between boats was also ruled out. [128]

Whitechapel Vigilance Committee

In September 1888, a group of volunteer citizens in London's East End formed the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. They patrolled the streets looking for suspicious characters, partly because of dissatisfaction with the failure of police to apprehend the perpetrator, and also because some members were concerned that the murders were affecting businesses in the area. [130] The Committee petitioned the government to raise a reward for information leading to the arrest of the killer, offered their own reward of £50 for information leading to his capture, [131] and hired private detectives to question witnesses independently. [132]

Criminal profiling

At the end of October, Robert Anderson asked police surgeon Thomas Bond to give his opinion on the extent of the murderer's surgical skill and knowledge. [133] The opinion offered by Bond on the character of the "Whitechapel murderer" is the earliest surviving offender profile. [134] Bond's assessment was based on his own examination of the most extensively mutilated victim and the post mortem notes from the four previous canonical murders. [69] He wrote:

All five murders no doubt were committed by the same hand. In the first four the throats appear to have been cut from left to right, in the last case owing to the extensive mutilation it is impossible to say in what direction the fatal cut was made, but arterial blood was found on the wall in splashes close to where the woman's head must have been lying.

All the circumstances surrounding the murders lead me to form the opinion that the women must have been lying down when murdered and in every case the throat was first cut. [69]

Bond was strongly opposed to the idea that the murderer possessed any kind of scientific or anatomical knowledge, or even "the technical knowledge of a butcher or horse slaughterer". [69] In his opinion, the killer must have been a man of solitary habits, subject to "periodical attacks of homicidal and erotic mania", with the character of the mutilations possibly indicating "satyriasis". [69] Bond also stated that "the homicidal impulse may have developed from a revengeful or brooding condition of the mind, or that religious mania may have been the original disease but I do not think either hypothesis is likely". [69]

There is no evidence the perpetrator engaged in sexual activity with any of the victims, [17] [135] yet psychologists suppose that the penetration of the victims with a knife and "leaving them on display in sexually degrading positions with the wounds exposed" indicates that the perpetrator derived sexual pleasure from the attacks. [17] [136] This view is challenged by others, who dismiss such hypotheses as insupportable supposition. [137]

In addition to the contradictions and unreliability of contemporary accounts, attempts to identify the murderer are hampered by the lack of any surviving forensic evidence. [138] DNA analysis on extant letters is inconclusive [139] the available material has been handled many times and is too contaminated to provide meaningful results. [140] There have been mutually incompatible claims that DNA evidence points conclusively to two different suspects, and the methodology of both has also been criticised. [141]

The concentration of the killings around weekends and public holidays and within a short distance of each other has indicated to many that the Ripper was in regular employment and lived locally. [142] Others have thought that the killer was an educated upper-class man, possibly a doctor or an aristocrat who ventured into Whitechapel from a more well-to-do area. [143] Such theories draw on cultural perceptions such as fear of the medical profession, mistrust of modern science, or the exploitation of the poor by the rich. [144] Suspects proposed years after the murders include virtually anyone remotely connected to the case by contemporary documents, as well as many famous names who were never considered in the police investigation, including a member of the British royal family, [145] an artist, and a physician. [146] Everyone alive at the time is now long dead, and modern authors are free to accuse anyone "without any need for any supporting historical evidence". [147] Suspects named in contemporary police documents include three in Sir Melville Macnaghten's 1894 memorandum, but the evidence against these individuals is, at best, circumstantial. [148]

There are many, varied theories about the identity and profession of Jack the Ripper, but authorities are not agreed upon any of them, and the number of named suspects reaches over one hundred. [149] [150] Despite continued interest in the case, the Ripper's identity remains unknown. [151] The term "ripperology" was coined to describe the study and analysis of the Ripper cases, and the murders have inspired numerous works of fiction.

Over the course of the Whitechapel murders, the police, newspapers, and other individuals received hundreds of letters regarding the case. [152] Some letters were well-intentioned offers of advice as to how to catch the killer, but the vast majority were either hoaxes or generally useless. [153]

Hundreds of letters claimed to have been written by the killer himself, [154] and three of these in particular are prominent: the "Dear Boss" letter, the "Saucy Jacky" postcard and the "From Hell" letter. [155]

The "Dear Boss" letter, dated 25 September and postmarked 27 September 1888, was received that day by the Central News Agency, and was forwarded to Scotland Yard on 29 September . [156] Initially, it was considered a hoax, but when Eddowes was found three days after the letter's postmark with a section of one ear obliquely cut from her body, the promise of the author to "clip the ladys (sic) ears off" gained attention. [157] Eddowes's ear appears to have been nicked by the killer incidentally during his attack, and the letter writer's threat to send the ears to the police was never carried out. [158] The name "Jack the Ripper" was first used in this letter by the signatory and gained worldwide notoriety after its publication. [159] Most of the letters that followed copied this letter's tone. [160] Some sources claim that another letter dated 17 September 1888 was the first to use the name "Jack the Ripper", [161] but most experts believe that this was a fake inserted into police records in the 20th century. [162]

The "Saucy Jacky" postcard was postmarked 1 October 1888 and was received the same day by the Central News Agency. The handwriting was similar to the "Dear Boss" letter, [163] and mentioned the canonical murders committed on 30 September, which the author refers to by writing "double event this time". [164] It has been argued that the postcard was posted before the murders were publicised, making it unlikely that a crank would hold such knowledge of the crime. [165] However, it was postmarked more than 24 hours after the killings occurred, long after details of the murders were known and publicised by journalists, and had become general community gossip by the residents of Whitechapel. [164] [166]

The "From Hell" letter was received by George Lusk, leader of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, on 16 October 1888. The handwriting and style is unlike that of the "Dear Boss" letter and "Saucy Jacky" postcard. [167] The letter came with a small box in which Lusk discovered half of a human kidney, preserved in "spirits of wine" (ethanol). [167] Eddowes's left kidney had been removed by the killer. The writer claimed that he "fried and ate" the missing kidney half. There is disagreement over the kidney some contend that it belonged to Eddowes, while others argue that it was a macabre practical joke. [168] [169] The kidney was examined by Dr Thomas Openshaw of the London Hospital, who determined that it was human and from the left side, but (contrary to false newspaper reports) he could not determine any other biological characteristics. [170] Openshaw subsequently also received a letter signed "Jack the Ripper". [171]

Scotland Yard published facsimiles of the "Dear Boss" letter and the postcard on 3 October , in the ultimately vain hope that a member of the public would recognise the handwriting. [172] Charles Warren explained in a letter to Godfrey Lushington, Permanent Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department: "I think the whole thing a hoax but of course we are bound to try & ascertain the writer in any case." [173] On 7 October 1888, George R. Sims in the Sunday newspaper Juiz implied scathingly that the letter was written by a journalist "to hurl the circulation of a newspaper sky high". [174] Police officials later claimed to have identified a specific journalist as the author of both the "Dear Boss" letter and the postcard. [175] The journalist was identified as Tom Bullen in a letter from Chief Inspector John Littlechild to George R. Sims dated 23 September 1913. [176] A journalist named Fred Best reportedly confessed in 1931 that he and a colleague at A estrela had written the letters signed "Jack the Ripper" to heighten interest in the murders and "keep the business alive". [177]

The Ripper murders mark an important watershed in the treatment of crime by journalists. [23] [178] Jack the Ripper was not the first serial killer, but his case was the first to create a worldwide media frenzy. [23] [178] The Elementary Education Act 1880 (which had extended upon a previous Act) made school attendance compulsory regardless of class. As such, by 1888, more working-class people in England and Wales were literate. [179]

Tax reforms in the 1850s had enabled the publication of inexpensive newspapers with a wider circulation. [180] These mushroomed in the later Victorian era to include mass-circulation newspapers costing as little as a halfpenny, along with popular magazines such as The Illustrated Police News which made the Ripper the beneficiary of previously unparalleled publicity. [181] Consequently, at the height of the investigation, over one million copies [182] of newspapers with extensive coverage devoted to the Whitechapel murders were sold each day. [183] However, many of the articles were sensationalistic and speculative, and false information was regularly printed as fact. [184] In addition, several articles speculating as to the identity of the Ripper alluded to local xenophobic rumours that the perpetrator was either Jewish or foreign. [185] [186]

In early September, six days after the murder of Mary Ann Nichols, The Manchester Guardian reported: "Whatever information may be in the possession of the police they deem it necessary to keep secret . It is believed their attention is particularly directed to . a notorious character known as 'Leather Apron'." [187] Journalists were frustrated by the unwillingness of the CID to reveal details of their investigation to the public, and so resorted to writing reports of questionable veracity. [23] [188] Imaginative descriptions of "Leather Apron" appeared in the press, [189] but rival journalists dismissed these as "a mythical outgrowth of the reporter's fancy". [190] John Pizer, a local Jew who made footwear from leather, was known by the name "Leather Apron" [191] and was arrested, even though the investigating inspector reported that "at present there is no evidence whatsoever against him". [192] He was soon released after the confirmation of his alibis. [191]

After the publication of the "Dear Boss" letter, "Jack the Ripper" supplanted "Leather Apron" as the name adopted by the press and public to describe the killer. [193] The name "Jack" was already used to describe another fabled London attacker: "Spring-heeled Jack", who supposedly leapt over walls to strike at his victims and escape as quickly as he came. [194] The invention and adoption of a nickname for a particular killer became standard media practice with examples such as the Axeman of New Orleans, the Boston Strangler, and the Beltway Sniper. Examples derived from Jack the Ripper include the French Ripper, the Düsseldorf Ripper, the Camden Ripper, the Blackout Ripper, Jack the Stripper, the Yorkshire Ripper, and the Rostov Ripper. Sensational press reports combined with the fact that no one was ever convicted of the murders have confused scholarly analysis and created a legend that casts a shadow over later serial killers. [195]

The nature of the Ripper murders and the impoverished lifestyle of the victims [196] drew attention to the poor living conditions in the East End [197] and galvanised public opinion against the overcrowded, insanitary slums. [198] In the two decades after the murders, the worst of the slums were cleared and demolished, [199] but the streets and some buildings survive and the legend of the Ripper is still promoted by various guided tours of the murder sites and other locations pertaining to the case. [200] For many years, the Ten Bells public house in Commercial Street (which had been frequented by at least one of the canonical Ripper victims) was the focus of such tours. [201]

In the immediate aftermath of the murders and later, "Jack the Ripper became the children's bogey man." [202] Depictions were often phantasmic or monstrous. In the 1920s and 1930s, he was depicted in film dressed in everyday clothes as a man with a hidden secret, preying on his unsuspecting victims atmosphere and evil were suggested through lighting effects and shadowplay. [203] By the 1960s, the Ripper had become "the symbol of a predatory aristocracy", [203] and was more often portrayed in a top hat dressed as a gentleman. The Establishment as a whole became the villain, with the Ripper acting as a manifestation of upper-class exploitation. [204] The image of the Ripper merged with or borrowed symbols from horror stories, such as Dracula's cloak or Victor Frankenstein's organ harvest. [205] The fictional world of the Ripper can fuse with multiple genres, ranging from Sherlock Holmes to Japanese erotic horror. [206]

Jack the Ripper features in hundreds of works of fiction and works which straddle the boundaries between fact and fiction, including the Ripper letters and a hoax diary: The Diary of Jack the Ripper. [207] The Ripper appears in novels, short stories, poems, comic books, games, songs, plays, operas, television programmes, and films. More than 100 non-fiction works deal exclusively with the Jack the Ripper murders, making it one of the most written-about true-crime subjects. [149] The term "ripperology" was coined by Colin Wilson in the 1970s to describe the study of the case by professionals and amateurs. [208] [209] The periodicals Ripperana, Ripperologist, e Ripper Notes publish their research. [210]

In 2015, the Jack the Ripper Museum opened in east London, to minor protests. [211] There is no waxwork figure of Jack the Ripper at Madame Tussauds' Chamber of Horrors, unlike numerous murderers of lesser fame, in accordance with their policy of not modelling persons whose likeness is unknown. [212] He is instead depicted as a shadow. [213] In 2006, a BBC History magazine poll selected Jack the Ripper as the worst Briton in history. [214] [215]


A big day in history: Mary Ann Nichols becomes the first victim of ‘Jack the Ripper’ (31 August 1888)

On 31 August 1888, the body of a homeless women, brutally murdered and mutilated, was found in a Whitechapel backstreet. Here, as part of our 'big day in history' series, Dominic Sandbrook explores the discovery of Jack the Ripper's first victim, Mary Ann Nichols

Esta competição está encerrada

Published: August 31, 2018 at 5:00 am

As London’s bells rang in the last day of August 1888, rain was falling. It had been one of the wettest summers in living memory, and there was thunder in the air. On the horizon a fierce red glow seared the sky above Shadwell, where a huge fire had broken out in the dry dock.

Some time between one and two o’clock that morning, a woman called Mary Ann Nichols, known to her friends as ‘Polly’, was thrown out of the kitchen of the shabby lodging house at 18 Thrawl Street, Spitalfields. Fate had dealt Polly a rough hand. A 43-year-old mother of five children, she was separated from her husband and now drifted from one workhouse to another, scratching a meagre existence from handouts and casual prostitution.

Short of the four pence she needed to pay for a bed in the lodging house, Polly once more found herself on the street. “Never mind,” she said, gesturing at the velvet-trimmed straw bonnet she was wearing. “I’ll soon get my doss money. See what a jolly bonnet I’ve got now.” The implication was clear: she was heading back out to find a punter.

An hour or so later, Polly was seen by one of her roommates on the corner of Whitechapel Road, clearly drunk. She had made her doss money three times over, she boasted, but had already spent it on gin and was off to make some more.

That was the last time Mary Ann Nichols was seen alive. At 3.40am, a carter found her lying in the darkened doorway of a stable. Her throat had been slit and her body horribly mutilated. The murderer who would later be dubbed ‘Jack the Ripper’ had claimed his first victim.

Dominic Sandbrook is a historian and presenter.

This article was first published on History Extra in August 2016


Becoming Jack the Ripper’s First Victim

At 3.40am, a cart driver, named Charles Cross, was making his way along Bucks Row, a narrow street which ran parallel to Whitechapel road, when he noticed something lying on the ground by a yard gateway. At first, he thought it might be a discarded piece of canvas and, being a market man, decided to go and have a closer look. The bundle turned out to be the body of Mary Ann Nichols, lying flat on her back.

A second man arrived on the scene and Charles Cross called him over to look at the woman, but it was far too dark and neither man could see what was wrong with her. They decided, as they were both late for work, to leave her there and agreed to inform a policeman if they saw one. A few minutes later, PC John Neil entered Bucks Row and discovered the body himself and, with a lantern to aid his vision, he could see right away the woman was dead. Her throat had been cut from left to right, twice back to the spine.

Soon, other officers arrived on the scene and eventually a doctor was called to certify death before the body was taken to the nearby mortuary. It wouldn’t be until the next morning when the body was stripped down for examination that the full extent of Nichols injured became apparent. Not only had her throat been cut open twice, but a great gash had run down her abdomen, along with two jagged incisions, a couple of stab wounds in the vagina and her intestines protruding out of the wounds.

Mary Ann Nichols had been disembowelled, and one of the darkest chapters in East End criminal history had begun.


On this day in 1888: Jack the Ripper claims his first victim in the world's most infamous unsolved murder spree

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O n Friday August 31 1888, the mutilated body of a 43-year-old woman was found in the slums of Buck’s Row, Whitechapel. Her name was Mary Anne Nichols, and she was the first known victim of Jack the Ripper.

Nine days later, on Saturday September 8, the body of Annie Chapman was found at 29 Hanbury Street with her uterus cut out. Three weeks and a day later, the killer struck again, this time killing two women on Sunday September 30 1888: Elizabeth “Long Liz” Stride, who was found at Dutfield’s Yard, and Catherine Eddowes, who was discovered at Mitre Square missing her uterus and left kidney. Finally, 10 days later, on Friday 9 November, the body of Mary Jane Kelly was discovered at 13 Miller’s Court.

A ll the victims except Stride had been horrifically mutilated, but the viciousness and extensiveness of the damage and organ removal to Kelly was of a wholly different order, and was estimated to have taken around two hours to perform. The first four victims were in their 40s. Mary Jane Kelly was probably in her mid-20s. All were prostitutes.

The killer was first named Jack the Ripper in a letter written in red ink and dated 25 September after the second murder. It is known as the “Dear Boss” letter, and was sent to the Central News Agency. In it, the author bragged about the murders: “I am down on whores and I shant quit ripping them till I do get buckled”. The writer signed himself off as Jack the Ripper.

O n 1 October, after the double murder of Stride and Eddowes, the same writer sent a postcard in which he called himself both Saucy Jacky and Jack the Ripper. It has never been proved whether or not the author was the killer.

A fter the murders on 30 September, a piece of Eddowes’s bloodied apron was found in a doorway in Goulston Street, quarter of a mile from where she had been killed. Scrawled in chalk on the brickwork above it were the words, “The Juwes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing”. It is not known whether or not this was a message from the killer, or even what it actually means. The police rubbed it out immediately fearing anti-Jewish violence.

The British and international press became transfixed by the story, leading to the police receiving hundreds of copycat letters, most of which they dismissed as hoaxes.

S ome, however, were more concerning. On 16 October, George Lusk, the Chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, was sent a cardboard box. On opening it, he found half a human kidney and a letter addressed “from Hell” in a handwriting different to the earlier letter and postcard. The message informed Lusk that “tother piece I fried and ate it was very nise”. Lusk took the package to the police, but they were unable to determine whether it was genuine or a sick prank.

These killings were not the only murders of women in London’s rundown East End at the time. From April 1888 to February 1891 there were another six. Together with the Ripper’s victims, these 11 homicides are all known as the Whitechapel Murders. Of them, the Ripper is traditionally assumed to be responsible for Nichols, Chapman, Stride, Eddowes, and Kelly, known to Ripperologists as the "Canonical Five".

O ne of the complexities of disentangling the Ripper’s killings from the other Whitechapel Murders is that many of them share aspects of modo de operação. For instance, all five Ripper victims had their throats cut, and so did two of the others. Four Ripper victims had severe mutilation to their abdomens, and so did four of the others. The Police had individual theories for the other Whitechapel Murders, but it is quite possible the Ripper was responsible for more than the Canonical Five.

T he police built up files on a number of suspects. Assistant Chief Constable Sir Melville Macnaghten of Scotland Yard’s CID wrote a memo on February 23 1894 which summarised the evidence. By modern standards, it did not come to a lot. Although he had not worked on the murders at the time, he named the three men he took seriously as suspects:

  • Kosminski (no known first name): a Polish Jewish barber with “a great hatred of women, specially of the prostitute class” and “strong homicidal tendencies”, who was committed to an asylum in 1891. Chief Inspector Donald Swanson, the officer in charge of the case, strongly suspected Kosminski, as did Dr Robert Anderson, head of the CID.
  • Montague Druitt: a Wykehamist and Oxford graduate, who became a teacher and barrister, and committed suicide by drowning himself in the Thames in December 1888. He was Macnaghten’s favoured suspect on the basis of “private information” and the timing of his suicide.
  • Michael Ostrog: a Russian conman and criminal who spent multiple periods in and out of prison and asylums. Macnaghten described him as “a homicidal maniac”, but the records seem to disclose merely a petty criminal.

Decades later, in 1913, former Detective Chief inspector John George Littlechild, who had headed Special Branch at the time of the murders, wrote in a letter that he also took seriously the possibility that the Ripper was Dr Francis J Tumblety, an Irish-American quack doctor arrested in London for gross indecency with men on 7 November 1888, who fled the country the following month.

A lthough these are the four men known to have been seriously considered by the police, there was no firm evidence for any of them at the murder scenes, or any blood-stained instruments or clothing, or any sensible motive. The police did not bring any charges, and the passage of 129 years has not thrown up any fresh evidence to incriminate them.

All the other theories – Prince Albert Victor, Sir William Gull, Lewis Carroll, Walter Sickert, Jill the Ripper, and the rest – are equally speculative. They were not part of the original police investigations.

S uspects continued to be arrested for several years after the last murder, but the affair had calmed down by the mid-1890s, and hope of catching the killer had receded.

The Ripper murders remain unsolved. They are the most gruesome and notorious violent crimes of the Victorian period, and continue to be the subject of media attention, books, and films.

The original police files – depleted by losses and thefts – are now freely accessible at the Public Record Office. Interestingly, the police ledgers containing records of Ripper-related interviews with informants remain classified and withheld, leading to speculation they may contain material that is still deemed sensitive.


Victim of Jack the Ripper: The Tortured Spirit of Mary Kelly

Jack the Ripper is probably the best known serial killer in history. He is sometimes called the first serial killer. Although this is not true, he certainly takes credit for being the first and the atrocities he committed shock us to this day.

One of his most gruesome murders, was the murder of Mary Kelly. Mary Kelly was 25 years old when the ripper killed her and was well liked by all that knew her. What he did to Ms. Kelly is so shocking it even bothers modern minds that have been desensitized by movies like Saw and Hostile and grown accustomed to the violence of serial killers.

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Photographs of Mary Kelly’s body can be found easily via google, but I’m not one for shockingly violent photographs so I will use words. Warning: The following description is disturbing. Here is the medical examiner’s description of Mary Kelly’s remains:

“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 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.

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 underline a 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 carotid artery, which was the cause of death. The injury was inflicted while the deceased was lying at the right side of the bedstead.”

It isn’t surprising that Mary Kelly’s spirit is restless. Her ghost is still said to haunt White Chapel to this day. Residents in the flat that occupied the space where Mary Kelly’s small room used to stand say that the room is haunted.

They say their pets won’t go near the space where her body was found. Kelly’s ghost has been seen throughout White Chapel and there are those that have even claimed to have captured her spirit in photographs and video, although these claims do seem somewhat dubious. Whatever the case, Mary Kelly was one of the most tragic of the ripper’s victims.


October 15, 1888 London, England The "From Hell" letter is postmarked and sent along with half a human kidney, apparently mailed by Jack the Ripper. The letter reads: From hell Mr Lusk Sor I send you half the Kidne I took from one women prasarved it for you tother pirce I fried and ate it&hellip

September 30, 1888 London, England Jack the Ripper victims numbers 3 and 4, Elizabeth "Long Liz" Stride and Catherine Eddowes are killed Stride was found with blood still flowing from her neck wound, and her attack may have been interrupted by the man who discovered her body. Stride was found at approximately 1 am between&hellip


Mary Ann Nichols

Conventionally understood to be the first of Jack the Ripper’s victims, Mary Ann Nichols was a native of London who had spent a good deal of the 1880s on the drift. Her marriage, to a man named William Nichols, had apparently foundered after the birth of their sixth child: William’s head had been irreversibly turned by a neighbour called Rosetta Mary Ann was laying the roots of an inescapable addiction to alcohol. She embarked on a dismal tour of the capital’s workhouses and infirmaries she surrendered herself to the elements, sleeping rough in Trafalgar Square and, finally, when she had squandered her last shot at rehabilitation, she gravitated, as so many unanchored people would, to the East End. Prostitution was her last recourse.

By 31 August 1888, she was homeless and without the money to pay for a bed in a lodging house – indeed, she claimed to have earned and then drunk away the fourpence fee several times over that day. At 2.30a.m., an acquaintance encountered her, drunk and staggering in the darkness at the junction of Osborn Street and Whitechapel Road. This would be the last time that Mary Ann was knowingly seen alive by anyone other than her killer.

At 3:45 am, two men, walking west along Buck’s Row, saw what they thought might have been an abandoned tarpaulin lying on the footpath. Closer inspection showed that it was the body of a woman, her throat cut, pooled in blood. Only when her body was stripped in the primitive local mortuary were the horrible incisions to Mary Ann’s abdomen discovered. Her intestines, uncontained by the abdominal wall, threatened to push through the gaps. This unusual degree of brutality rendered her murder notable, an abstract alternative to the city’s run-of-the-mill domestic homicides. But, in a pattern which would be repeated with unhappy frequency over the following two and a half months, no sign of the killer was to be found.

Annie Chapman

It was true to say that things had been better for Annie Chapman. Far from the rookeries of Whitechapel and Spitalfields, she had spent part of her adolescence – and, later, part of her married life – in Windsor, in the shadow of the royal castle. This may not have betokened real wealth, but it probably did go hand-in-hand with a certain level of economic comfort. Annie and her husband, John, even had their photograph taken in about 1869 – the image, originally identified by the researcher Neal Stubbings Shelden in 2001, is the only one we have of any of Jack the Ripper’s canonical victims in life. A photograph was not a typically working-class accoutrement clearly, the Chapmans were destined for better things – or, at least, little luxuries along the way.

Annie, however, soon embarked on a familiar path, becoming estranged from her family and increasingly intimate with drink as the 1880s wore on. By 1888, she was isolated, malnourished, suffering from chronic illnesses. She was also to be found, on 5 September 1888, brawling with another woman, Eliza Cooper, over a disputed piece of soap. Annie’s face was marked in the fight perhaps this was a sign that her ability to defend herself was diminishing.

And then, on 8 September, in the early dawn, Annie’s body was discovered in the unsecured yard behind 29 Hanbury Street and, as before, no sign of the perpetrator.

Elizabeth Stride

The boat sank rapidly, gurgling into the filthy Thames, and Elizabeth struggled madly for safety and, in the crush, she stumbled, and fell, and the heel of the person in front of her brought the taste of iron to her mouth.

Or so she said. o Princess Alice disaster, in 1878, was genuine enough but Elizabeth Stride’s presence on board was a figment of her imagination. Sympathy? Perhaps. She claimed to have lost a husband and an indeterminate number of children to the dark river. The truth was less dramatic, but no more happy.

Elizabeth Stride had graduated from Gothenburg’s streets to their less-regulated equivalents in London, leaving behind a rather unfortunate early background, and exchanging it for an uncertain future. After marriage in the West End, she arrived, inevitably, in the less-salubrious east. Early attempts to prosper in its hostile commercial environment as the proprietor of a coffee shop gradually lapsed, and, following her husband’s death, Elizabeth was thrown back on her resourcefulness, and her untrustworthy recall.

So it was that she found herself in Berner Street in the first minutes of 30 September 1888, spotted here and there by a clutch of generally well-meaning witnesses, dodging the autumn showers. But then she vanished into the shadows of Dutfield’s Yard, later to be detected there by a hawker whose horse had shied away from something lying perfectly still before it, and to the right. He descended from his cart to investigate. By matchlight, the face appeared by lantern-light, the wound to the throat. Then the familiar hue and cry: the police the doctor. The madman remained invisible, nowhere to be found.

Elizabeth’s abdomen had not been defiled in the manner of her predecessors, and immediately minds began to turn on the significance of this rapid de-escalation. They turn, too, to this day, and Elizabeth’s position within the canon of Ripper victims is, some feel, an insecure one. But there is one version of the story which says that the implications of the Ripper’s failure to mutilate Elizabeth had very particular consequences and, in this version, those consequences would become known an hour later, and less than a mile away.

Catherine Eddowes

If you had been in Aldgate High Street at half past eight on the evening of 29 September 1888, you would have seen PC Louis Robinson peering down at the figure in the shadows, lying at his feet. A crowd had gathered, but nobody knew her. He took her up, and propped her against the shutters of a shop. She slipped, drunkenly, sideways.

After a few hours in the cells at Bishopsgate police station, Catherine Eddowes was slightly recovered from her binge and ready to be released. She had studiously avoided telling the police her real name she took the moralisms of the duty officer in good spirit she pulled the door to the police station almost to and she turned left, heading away from Whitechapel. It was one in the morning, on 30 September 1888. A short distance away to the east, Dutfield’s Yard had filled with people.

Within forty-five minutes, Catherine too would be found dead. Her injuries were a record of somebody’s brutality – again, there was no sign of the perpetrator.

A cadre of detectives fanned out from Mitre Square – the scene of Catherine’s demise - and, back in the direction of Whitechapel, two clues were found. A piece of Catherine’s apron had been cut, and the missing portion, stained with blood, was discovered in a doorway. Above it, anti-Semitic graffiti had appeared, unseen by the beat policeman on his previous rotation. Had the killer stopped to chalk his prejudices neatly into his bizarre criminal narrative? Did it seem possible, with the police already out in great numbers after Stride’s murder earlier that morning?

Perhaps hubris was taking over – but, if so, there followed an unlikely intermission of more than a month. The trail went cold. Was the killer in retirement? Or would he return?

Mary Jane Kelly

Of all the Ripper’s victims, Mary Jane Kelly is the most enigmatic. Her death brought her to the notice of posterity, but her backstory remains shadowy and largely out-of-reach. She herself, having fallen into a relationship with a fishmarket porter named Joseph Barnett, provided a detailed history, full of adventure and sadness. Some aspects of her self-described past now appear to check out, but still a comprehensive and verifiable overview of her background continues to elude researchers.

The photograph of Mary Jane’s corpse, on her bed, divested of practically everything which made her human, is the last, hideous memento of Jack the Ripper’s murderous fugue. In a break with his previous habits, the Ripper ventured inside to kill, and apparently satisfied himself that he was unlikely to be interrupted that night. Barnett had, indeed, moved out of the squalid room in Millers Court which he had shared with Mary Jane a few weeks earlier, insulted by her return to regular prostitution, leaving her alone. Living upstairs, Elizabeth Prater heard a cry of murder at about four in the morning of 9 November 1888 – but she did nothing about it. Mary Jane’s lifeless body was discovered shortly before eleven.

One senior policeman, reviewing the case later on, concluded that the abattoir scene in Millers Court had tipped the mind of its creator. Perhaps. It is certainly true to say that nothing on a comparable scale happened again.

Jack the Ripper’s true identity died on the blanched lips of Mary Jane Kelly.


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