There have always been the canonical 5 victims of Jack the Ripper recognised by everyone but I believe with the facts we know about serial killers today that there could have been another one…………………………………
Arguably the first victim of Jack the Ripper Martha Tabram was killed on the 7th August 1888, her body was discovered in George Yard Buildings at 4.50 am by John Reeves from No 37, on the first floor landing laying in blood. He found P Barrett who immediately told another constable, to run for a doctor in nearby Brick Lane. Dr Kelene examined Martha’s body and thought that she had died around 2.30am. She had been stabbed 39 times in the torso, all but one of these wounds had been made by a relatively small knife, a penknife or a short dagger for example. One wound was made by a different knife penetrating the breast bone this knife had a strong, longer, approx seven inch blade a large dagger, a bayonet, bone-ing knife or surgical knife.
At 10pm the previous evening Martha Tabram and Mary Anne Connelly “Pearly Poll” were drinking in the Two Brewers pub in Brick Lane, then they were then seen in various pubs around the area, on their travels they picked up two soldiers and it is said that the last pub they visited was the Angel & Crown on the Corner of Whitechapel High Rd and Osborn St when they came out they separated into two couples. Pearly Poll took her solider into Angel Alley for sexual services, as both were homeless prostitutes. Martha apparently turned down the main road with her companion probably to go for another drink.
At 1.40am Joseph Mahoney and his wife Elizabeth returned home to their flat at 47 George Yard Buildings in George Yard, just off Whitechapel High St which had many small courts and alleys branching off it, lived in by the poorest of the poor in doss houses. Mrs Mahoney went to fetch some supper from a shop in Thrawl St, on the unlit stairway she saw nothing unusual.
At 2.00am PC Barrett saw a Grenadier Guardsman standing in George Yard about halfway up on the right-hand side he asked him what he was doing loitering and the soldier told him he was waiting for his friend who had gone off with a girl.
At 3.30am Alfred Crow, a cab driver living at No 35 entered George Yard Buildings, as mounted the stairs, he saw a body on the first floor landing however he took no notice as homeless people often slept on the landing . This was quite possibly Martha’s body discovered just a couple of hours later
MARY ANN NICHOLS(POLLY)
On 31st August 1888 Charles Cross was passing through Buck’s Row on his way to work on the right, outside a stable yard gateway on the left side of the street he saw what he thought was a piece of tarpaulin, thinking it may prove useful he crossed the road to examine it and saw what he thought was the body of a woman. Immediately he heard someone approaching and called to him “Come and look, I think it’s a woman.” Robert Paul crossed the road and joined him, neither man could see the injuries to the body at this stage as the lack of lighting made this impossible just a gas-light on either end of the street.
Cross felt her hand it was cold “I think she’s dead” he said. Robert Paul though he detected a faint pulse and heartbeat when he pulled down her skirt which had been raised above the knees, he wanted to move the body but Cross wouldn’t touch her. They were now running late and decided to look for a policeman to deal with it. They left Buck’s Row, only moments before PC Neil entered it, he saw the bundle by the gate shone his lamp on it and in its light saw that she was dead.
In the meantime, Cross and Paul had met PC Jonas Mizzen on their way and sent him to investigate this body. They parted company and went to work, they had never met before.
At 3.47am PC Thain was passing the end of Buck’s Row and was heard by PC Neil who flashed his lamp. As soon as he arrived w PC Neil Told him to fetch a doctor Pc Mizen arrived in Buck’s Row to find Pc Neil with the body and was sent to fetch a hand ambulance. Pc Neil asked at Essex Wharf if they had heard anything and Sergeant Kirby arrived and asked Mrs Green living at New Cottage next to the gateway if she heard any noise, ” I haven’t heard anything unusual.” she said.
PC Neil looked for blood trails on the floor in case the body had been dragged there from elsewhere, there were none, the body was moved to the Whitechapel mortuary. On examination it was found her throat had been cut twice, one four inch and one eight inch cuts, they had reached through the vertebrae, there were also several slashes across the stomach . Dr Llewellyn who examined the body said it showed, that it was someone with rough anatomical knowledge, he thought she had been seized from behind his hand across her mouth and the other using the knife. Labels on her clothing pointed to her being a resident of Lambeth Workhouse but although she had been in and out of there many times when the matron viewed the body she was unable to recognise her.
Eventually she was identified by a fellow lodger Emily Holland of 18 Thrawl St, a common lodging house where they stayed. Emily had seen her earlier that night about 2:00 am when Polly had been thrown out of the lodging house for not having fourpence to pay for her bed. She was also later identified by Mrs Monk a Lambeth Workhouse resident
Annie -Eliza Smith was born around September 1840 or 1841 followed by another sister in 1844 and two further sisters in 1856 and 1858, a brother Fountain followed in 1861. the family moved around Annie’s father was a soldier in the Life Guards. When Annie was 21 her father left the army, took a job as a valet and the family moved to Clewer. However Annie did not go with them, it is possible that she was employed as a domestic servant. George Chapman died and the rest of the family returned to London living in Montpelier Place.
On 1st May 1869 Annie married John Chapman, a coach driver, a relative of her mother, they lived at 1 Brookes Mews North, Bayswater until Annie went to live with her mother to give birth to her 1st child a daughter, Emily Ruth then the following year, Annie Georgina on 5th June 1873. by now the couple had moved to South Bruton Mews off Berkeley Sq, one of the places that provided coach and horses for houses in that area. Sometime before 1880 John got a job as a coachman/domestic servant for a farm bailiff at Clewer. Here Annie had her last child, John Alfred but by this time was drinking heavily, wandering about drunk like a tramp, causing trouble and this caused the marriage to break up.
Annie returned to London on her own John provided her with an allowance of 10shillings a week enabling her to rent a room she sold things on the street to make a living. John remained with the children at Clewer who were well educated attending school but Emily Ruth suffered from epileptic fits and then died at aged 12 from meningitis. Alfred was a cripple and had to be treated at a London Hospital. In 1886 John resigned from his post and later died of cirrhosis of the liver. The daughter Annie Georgina, who was still living with him, is said to have been placed in a French institution or become a performer in a French circus, both these are unlikely. John Alfred was put in a charitable school near Windsor but eventually lived with his grandmother and sister at Monpelier Place.
When Annie moved to London she had a relationship with a man called Jack Sivvey and was known as Annie Sievey living at 30 Dorset St Spitalfields but he left her. She then went out with Edward Stanley known as ‘The Pensioner’ he spent weekends with her at 35 Dorset St where she was living by then. Annie had no regular means of income but used to sell crocheted antimacassars which she made, matches and flowers. Every Friday she went to Stratford to sell on the streets. Addicted to drink every Saturday she would get drunk on her profits. It is claimed by Amelia Farmer a friend that Annie was not a prostitute.
Shortly before her death Annie had a fight with Eliza Cooper who punched Annie in the face giving her a black eye and bruising her ribs. Annie complained of feeling ill and went to the infirmary on 4th Sep, she was in the casual ward for a day or two, after she returned to the lodging house and asked if she could go down to the kitchen, the lodging house keeper Donovan asked where she had been all week, she said she had been to her sister’s at Vauxhall. Amelia Farmer saw her at 5:00pm and asked if she was going to Stratford to sell her wares Annie replied “I feel too ill to do anything.” But later decided she had to pull herself together to at least get money for her bed for the night. William Stevens who lived in the same lodging house drank a pint of beer with her at 12.30am, she then went to the Brittania Pub on the corner returning at 1.45 she was seen by Donovan who, sent someone to collect money from her but she did not have the full amount and left to look for more.
She may have drank Ten Bells later that morning with a man at 5:00am. Annie was seen again in Dorset Street outside no 27 by Mrs Elizabeth Long at 5.30am ( based on the Brewery Clock striking) Annie was with a man of foreign appearance, dark (Jewish?) wearing a brown deerstalker and a long dark coat, medium height 5ft 2-5ft 5. However Albert Cadosch who lived in no 27 told the police he went out into the back yard at 5.15 approx. He heard a woman’s voice from 29’s yard say “No.” he went back out 3 or 4 minutes later, ( recovering from a recent operation so may have needed to visit the toilet more than once) he heard something fall against the fence. He went in and left the house he said when he passed Christchurch clock it was 5.32am. obviously these two accounts conflict with their timing it is possible that Albert Cadosch was correct and Mrs Long heard the clock strike the quarter hour not the half?
29 Hanbury Street was a multi occupied house with many occupants in at the time of the murder Harriet Hardiman who ran the shop on the ground floor asleep in the shop with her son, Amelia Richardson the principle tenant who sub-let many of the rooms, and had the back ground floor room, used as a packing -case factory , and the front first floor room where she was sleeping with her son In the rear room there was Alfred Walker and his son. Robert Thompson a car man lived in the front second floor room and the back was rented to two sisters named Cooksley both cigar makers. On the third floor was John Davies a car man, his wife Mary and three sons, they had been there only two weeks. In the rear attic was Mrs Cox who lived rent-free supported by Mrs Richardson. All these people were indoors when Annie was killed but heard nothing.
Between 4.40-4.45 John Richardson went out into the yard to check the place was secured properly, there had been a break in of the cellar where tools were stored some months earlier. After checking, he lingered for a few minutes fiddling with his boot which had a piece hanging from it. At 5.45 John Davies got up had a cup of tea and found the front door wide open which was not unusual as there was no lock and was often left open all night, allowing local prostitutes like Annie access to the backyard (great to take clients), the back yard door was closed he opened it and there was Annie lying to the left by the fence her skirts above her knees and her face covered with blood, he raced out into the street and called various passersby to come back with him.
Three Kent, Green and Holland went with him only Holland went into the yard, the rest looked from the yard step. Davies went to the Commercial Street Police Station arriving at 6.10 but by then police were already on their way as Holland had already told police on duty outside Spitalfield Market. Dr Bagster Phillips the divisional police surgeon arrived and examined the body. He said that certainly Annie had been killed where found, there was no evidence of a struggle, she had been strangled according to the mark on her throat, tongue protruding through her lips.
Although blood was on her face and splashed on the fence he thought she may have lost consciousness, then partially revived when her throat was cut, in one long slice that would have drained most of the blood, such a deep cut it almost severed the head, making the mutilations later performed on her body, radically bloodless. He had opened the body taken out the intestines left them above the right shoulder with her stomach and the other part above her left. The pelvic organs had been removed “with one sweep of the knife” according to Dr Phillips, it was the work of an expert he said, “that would have taken 15 mins or more”. Three brass rings were missing from her finger the marks still showing on her finger.
He gave the time of death approx 4.45-4.50 which is impossible, but if we are to believe the evidence of John Richardson, Dr Phillips could have been mistaken, as a body opened like this would cool far quicker than normal. In the possessions found strewn around her feet was a small piece of envelope with a Sussex Regiment Badge with an undistinguishable date 3 Aug, 20 Aug, 23 Aug or 28 Aug was found bloodstained near her body, a red herring as it was later found, she had taken this from no 35 Dorset St to used to put some painkillers in that she had been given in the casual ward. These envelopes were on sale to the general public so could have been posted by anyone, anyway. By now the police realised that it was the same killer who had murdered Polly A boot-finisher called John Pizer, a Polish Jew, known in the area as ‘Leather Apron’ was arrested for Annie’s murder but was able to provide the police with alibis for both Annie’s murder and the murder of Polly so the police had to let him go. As many people in the area believed him to be guilty due to his previous behaviour, he often attacked prostitutes and had a deep hatred of them, a wave of anti-Semitism swept the area and driven by lurid reports in the Press of the terrible killings the Whitechapel murderer’s fame began.
Elizabeth Stride or ‘Long Liz’ as she was known was born on 27th November 1843, in Stora Tumlehead, a village in Torslanda Sweden. The second of four children to a farmer Gustaf Ericson and his wife Beta There is no information about her formative years but in 1860 at the age of 16 she was given permission to move to Gothenburg. From the following February she was working as a maid and stayed there for three years when her life began to fall apart in 1864, in the August her Mother died, the following month she discovered she was pregnant and in April 1865 she was diagnosed with genital warts and three weeks later had a stillborn daughter. She was released from the hospital but was sent back in May and in August was diagnosed with chancre an ulcer, the 1st stage of syphilis after treatment she was released three weeks later.
She appears in the police records for the first time in October 1865 and is sent again to Kuhuset for treatment . She is given a clean bill of health and released after having found employment as a maid for Maria Wejsner who employed a number of girls who she probably employed as prostitutes, on the other hand she may have been charitably helping women escape from this fate it is unsure.
In Dec 1866 approx Elizabeth inherited 65 krona from her mother’s estate this allowed her to emigrate to London she left Sweden in February 1866. She may have had relatives in London. During the next couple of years there is no record of where she was in London but in March 1869 she married John Stride at St-Giles-In-the-Fields church. The couple open a coffee shop in Upper North St Poplar, they lived nearby but then move their coffee shop to 178 Poplar High St and then live at 172 a few doors away. Later in 1877 appears in court at Thames Magistrates Ct on 21 Mar and was moved to the Poplar Workhouse no reason can be found but in the records in the Swedish Church it is stated that she asked for financial assistance in January 1879 due to her husband illness so it seems that life was not going well for them. By now the couple were living at Usher Rd off Old Ford Road Bow. In August 1884 John was admitted to Poplar Workhouse, then transferred to Poplar and Stepney Sick Asylum where he died at 63 in Oct.
Elizabeth was fond of telling a story that her husband and two of her nine children died in a riverboat accident of the Princess Alice which sank on the Thames in 1878, with over 700 people, it collided with a coal steamer the Byword Castle and was cut in half! Only 60 were saved and the exact number killed never established. She claimed that the injury to her mouth (clearly visible on the mortuary photo) was caused by someone kicking her in the mouth whilst trying to escape the disaster. She had no children and this story has never been found in any Woolwich paper and John Stride was alive at this time? So it seems to be a lie! By 1881 their marriage had collapsed they separated and in the December Elizabeth was admitted to Whitechapel workhouse Infirmary suffering from bronchitis. Discharged in January 1882 she moved to 32 Flower & Dean St and returned to prostitution, in November she was arrested and sentenced to seven days hard labour for being drunk and disorderly. In 1883 she met Michael Kidney, who she would have an off-on relationship for the rest of her life.
Arrested many times for being drunk and disorderly with regular court appearances, she may also have used the name Elizabeth Watts. In July & August 1888 Elizabeth had been asking the Swedish church for money again. On 25 September Michael Kidney and Elizabeth parted company for the last time. It is rumoured they parted after a row, two days later Elizabeth returned to 32 Flower & Dean St, Dr Thomas Barnado working charitably in the area, called at 32 and claimed to have seen her there. He said ‘One poor creature who had been drinking’ exclaimed “We’re all up to no good and no-one cares what becomes of us! Perhaps one of us will be killed next! If anyone had helped us long ago it wouldn’t have come to this.” he said ‘he had visited the mortuary and it was Stride who had been the woman he spoke to’.
On Sat 29th Sept the lodging house keeper paid Elizabeth to clean the rooms, she saw her in the Queen’s head pub at 6.30pm that evening. Elizabeth returned to 32 and was there between 7-8pm cleaned herself up and went out again. At 11pm a couple claimed to have seen her in the Bricklayer’s Arms in Settle St she apparently left with a man about 11pm. A fruit seller Matthew Packer claimed he had sold grapes to a man & woman between 11pm-12am but this might not be Stride and her companion. He managed to identify her body, after being shown another corpse first, which he said was definitely not the victim he’d seen!
No 40 Berners St housed the International Workingmen’s Educational Assoc and next to it stood the gateway to Dutfield’s Yard which was at the back of the building. A socialist newspaper Arbiter Fraint (Worker’s Friend) was printed at the rear in Printing and editorial offices. The ground floor front room used as a dining room and the first floor room used for entertainments, meetings, discussions etc. The third floor was occupied by the club steward Louis Diemschultz and his wife.
A hundred people were in this first floor hall on the evening of 29th Sept 1888, a lively discussion by a young man Morris Eagle ‘Why Jews should be Socialists’ the subject, this ended at 11.30pm although some people left, there were still twenty- thirty five people in the club by midnight, upstairs dancing and singing and some downstairs talking. This was still going on when Elizabeth was seen by PC William Smith talking to a man outside 63 Berner’s St at around 12.30-12.35am, the man was kissing and cuddling her, he was around 28, medium height dark coat, deerstalker hat. Morris Eagle returned to the club at 12.40am but saw nothing.
12.45am Israel Schwartz was walking on the opposite side of Berners St and claimed to have seen a man attacking a woman in the gateway of Dutfields Yard fighting the man roughly pulled the woman into the street and threw her down she screamed three times On crossing the road he saw another man on the other side . The assailant shouted “Lipski” to the man opposite and Schwartz was alarmed by this ( an insult to Jew’s based on the name of a recent Jewish murderer) he hurried off down the road. He gave descriptions of the two men and was taken to the mortuary after the discovery of Elizabeth’s body and identified her as the woman he had seen.
Also at 12.45 James Brown, living in Fairclough St saw a man & woman outside the Fairclough St school but described the man as 5’7″ stout , long coat, hat he went home and hear screams 15 mins later of murder, police He looked out but screams stopped, saw a policeman running to Berners St. Mrs Mortimer who lived at 36 Berners St, claimed to have heard the ‘heavy stamp of police boots’ on the beat and went out saw a young man with a black bag who looked at the club as he passed, he turned into Fairclough St four minutes later she heard a horse and cart but she did not say anything about the couple seen by PC Smith or Morris Eagle returning or even the assault on a woman in the gateway of Dutfield’s Yard.
At 1.00am Louis Diemshultz a jewellery salesman and the steward of Berners St Club arrived at the gate to Dutfield’s yard, he intended to park the cart in the yard and take his left over stock to give it to his wife, who was helping out in the club, then take the cart to a stable yard further up the road to collect it the next morning. His pony did not want to enter the gateway and shied to the left which was unusual, so he got down, went into the gateway walking on the right he though his foot struck a lump of dirt o rags he prodded it with his whip. Not able to move it he lit a match and in the dim light thought he saw a woman’s hand and the outline of a skirt, at first he thought it might be his wife on one of her many trips to the back yard to fetch beer, he rushed into the club and after searching he found his wife in the room downstairs with other club members.
He went out with Morris Eagel and another member Morris struck a match and they saw the body of Elizabeth her throat slashed with a terrible wound, six-inches long, the windpipe cut although the blood vessels on the right side still intact, her legs drawn up, feet pointing to the street, a packet of Violet Cachous in her hand, some spilt on the ground, Morris Eagle ran for the police and returned with PC Henry Lamb and PC Edward Collins. Lamb flashed his lantern in the gateway, sent Collins for a doctor and Eagle to the station to inform the inspector. Later that morning Schwartz taken to the mortuary to view her body identified it as the woman he had seen being attacked d and described the man as 30, 5’5″dark hair, full face dark jacket and trousers, black cap.
By now the panic in the area had reached a peak which would be only made worse by later events that night….
Catherine Eddowes also know as Kate Kelly born in Wolverhampton moved to London with her parents and siblings. In 1843 the family lived in Bermondsey. Her mother died in 1855 and two years later her father followed. Catherine returned to Wolverhampton where she lived with her aunt and got a job as a tinplate stamper, she was caught stealing and dismissed then moved to Birmingham to live with her uncle, a onetime boxer, now a boot maker, stayed 9 months they went back to Wolverhampton. Here she met Thomas Conway/Quinn known as the ‘Pensioner’, a man in his mid twenties, (a pensioner retired from the army). They lived together and made a living, selling chapbooks (small books usually 8-12 or 16-24 pages) They had three children and by the time the second was born were living in Westminster London. By now Catherine was an alcoholic and this caused many violent rows. Although some members of her family said that Conway treated her badly. The marriage ended in 1880 and moved to the East End, maybe because one of her sister’s lived there Eliza who lived with a butcher James Gold.
Catherine lived in Cooney’s lodging house at 55 Flower & Dean St, her she met and started living with John Kelly. Every year it was customary for East End people to go Hop-picking in the season in Kent , a form of holiday with pay, some 50,000-60,000 went in a good season. in 1888 Catherine & John went to Hunton near Maidstone, in Maidstone they bought a pair of boots and a jacket from a pawnbroker’s but they started to argue and instead of going hop-picking, in the company of another couple they headed back to London. The woman gave Catherine a pawn ticket for a shirt she had left in shop in London saying it might fit John, they parted company. By now they had no money left.
They arrived in London on Friday 28th Sept 1888, Kelly managed to earn 6p and Catherine told him to use 2p to get a bed for the night at Cooney’s and she would go to the casual ward ( the workhouse) for the night. as she entered she said “I have been hopping in the country but have returned to claim the reward offered for the capture of the Whitechapel murderer. I think I know him.” “Mind he doesn’t murder you!” said the superintendant “No fear of that!” Catherine replied.
Next day Catherine returned to Cooney’s at 8:00am as she had had some trouble in the casual ward. John pawned his boots so that they could eat a hot meal. They ate in Cooney’s then left and by the afternoon had no money again so Catherine said she would go to see her daughter in Bermondsey to borrow some, so John could redeem his boots. They left each other at Houndsditch at 2:00pm, she promised to be back by 4:00. Kelly reminded her about the murders. Catherine apparently replied “Don’t fear for me, I’ll take care of myself and shan’t fall in to his hands.” Eddowes probably did not intend to go to her daughter at all because her daughter thought she was a persistent scrounger and would have been unwilling to lend her money and besides did not live in Bermondsey anymore but in Dilston Grove. She probably intended to earn the money from prostitution without telling him.
No-one saw Catherine until later at 8:30pm when PC Louis Robinson saw a group outside 29 Aldgate High St gathered around a woman on the floor obviously drunk, he hauled her to her feet and asked her name but she was unable to tell him and replied “Nothing.” with the aid of PC George Simmons they managed to get her to Bishopsgate Police Station.
Catherine was placed in a cell to sleep it off and released at 1:00am, when she was asked her name prior to release she gave the name “Mary Jane Kelly.” She asked the time and when the duty sergeant told her 1:00 she replied ” I shall get a fine hiding when I get home.” “Serves you right for getting drunk then .” he said. Catherine left the police station and wandered towards Houndsditch.
At this time at the end of Houndsditch in Mitre Sq PC Edward Watkins was doing one of the many rounds of the Square he would do at night, every 15 minutes his beat would take him from Mitre St, round the Sq and then left into Aldgate (Fenchurch St Then) Left into Dukes Place, left into Creechurch Lane and Mitre St into Mitre Sq again. This took 15 mins. At 1:30am he entered the square and saw nothing. At 1:35am Joseph Lawende left the Imperial Club !6-17 Duke St along with Joseph Levy and Harry Hyams, Lawende was in front and as the passed Church passage, an alley that led down to the east side of Mitre sq, Lawende saw a couple in the alley. The woman was facing the man but he could not see her face. She was wearing a black jacket and bonnet, the man was wearing a peaked cloth cap. he saw the woman push the man playfully in the chest. He said he doubted that he would recognise the man again. Levy also said he saw the couple but seemed to be a bit evasive when questioned about them. It may be that he thought the woman was a prostitute and did not want to get involved. Harry saw nothing, 5 minutes later Pc Davey walked down to the end of Church Passage but saw nothing!
At 1.45am Pc Watkins reached the corner of Mitre St and Mitre Sq and looking across to behind the houses which jutted out into the square on it southwest corner, outside the gate of Hyderman’s Yard he saw a bundle on the ground, rushed over and a terrible sight met his eyes. Catherine’s face had been slashed practically to ribbons, two triangular pieces of flesh hung on her cheeks, her throat cut just leaving an inch or so at the nape of the neck, her body slit from the pelvis to the breastbone, her intestines over her left shoulder, her womb and her left kidney removed and taken by the killer. He ran to the Kearly and Tonge warehouse on the diagonal side and called George Morris the night watchman to help. Morris taking his lamp ran up to Aldgate blowing a whistle this attracted the attention of PC Harvey who was joined by PC Holland who was on the other side of the road he left immediately to fetch Dr George Sequeria from Jewry St.
Three plain clothes who were in the area arrived shortly after this. News of the murder had reached Bishopsgate Police Station and Inspector Collard left for Mitre Sq and at 2:03am he ordered the immediate area to be searched, The police surgeon was dispatched to attend the scene Dr Fredrick Brown. He said that all her injuries could not have been done in less than 5 minutes. After examination the body was removed to the mortuary and stripped, they discovered that part of her apron was missing. At 2:20am Pc Alfred Long discovered a piece of material in the doorway of 118-119 Goulston St, bloodstained although he did not connect with her murder at the time, it was taken to the station and exactly matched the torn apron. On the doorpost was written ‘The Juews are the men that will not be blamed for nothing’ or ‘The Jewes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing’.
By now fear stalked the streets of Whitechapel aided by many newspapers at the time publishing lurid accounts but a lull was to come in these murders……………..it would be a whole six weeks before he struck again
MARY JANE KELLY
Mary Jane Kelly who liked to be known as Marie Jeanette Kelly is the most mysterious of all Jack the Ripper’s victims. 25 years old or thereabouts, when she was killed. An attractive plump girl with golden or ginger hair, neat in appearance.
Her background is quite a mystery as we can only rely on the tale told by Joseph Barnett, the last man she lived with before she was killed.
He claimed that she told him, she was born in Limerick, Ireland it’s not clear whether country or town her father’s name John Kelly, she had six/seven brothers and one sister. When she was a child the family moved to Wales where her Father was a foreman in an ironworks most likely in Carmarthenshire, where there were many of these. at sixteen she married John Davies a collier but a couple of years or so later he was killed in a pit disaster.
Mary moved to Cardiff and lived with her cousin and started working as a prostitute, but there are no records of her being arrested or known to the police there. According to what she told Barnett she spent nine months in and infirmary in Cardiff and later moved to London. Here she met a French madam in Knightsbridge and started working for her. She had fine clothes and drove in a carriage, she made several trips to France apparently in the company of a gentleman friend, but returned only two weeks later. This is where she got the name she wished to be know by Marie Jeanette Kelly. There were many girls recruited from England at that time to work in brothels in Paris so it could be that’s what happened to Mary? They were often promised the earth but the reality was totally different!
On her return Mary went to live at Mrs Buki’s in St George’s St now the Highway in The East End. Mrs Buki apparently went with Mary to collect some dresses she had left at the French Madams in Knightsbridge. this information was collaborated by journalists when looking for information about her after she died. She may have moved because people might have been after her, due to her rapid return. Men who procured girls to work in brothels often spent a lot of money on them to persuade them to go and would expect this to be repaid when the girl was working in France, as it may have even been an upfront fee from the brothel owner which would have to be repaid if the girl returned so quickly.
Mary started drinking heavily at this time and had to leave Mrs Buki’s accommodation, she went to live in Breezer’s Hill nearby with the McCarthy’s (no know relation to John McCarthy her landlord at Millers Court) she left here late in 1886 or early in 1887 to live with a builder probably Joseph Fleming although she returned once at two in the morning asking for a bed claiming she was not with him anymore. There was also a relationship with another man Morganstern who lived near Stepney gasworks.
Apparently even when she lived in Miller’s Court Joe Fleming used to visit her and give her money but often ill-used her because she lived with Joseph Barnett. Mary met Barnett when she moved to Cooley’s a common lodging house in Thrawel St off Brick Lane she met him according to another prostitute on Good Friday April 1887. Joe was a porter at Billingsgate Market, and sometimes sold fruit, after a drink they arranged to meet the next day.
They moved in together after this second meeting and lived at Cooley’s Lodging House in Thrawel Street off Brick Lane they soon moved to George St off Commercial St soon moving again to Little Paternoster Row off Dorset St but were later evicted for non-payment of rent and getting drunk, another room in Brick Lane was to prove the same. Eventually moving to 13 Miller’s Ct in Dorset St an address which, was to become one of the most notorious address’s in history!
Running from Commercial St to Crispin St, south of and parallel with, Brushfield St (on the South side of Spitalfields Market). One of the most notorious streets, in the area at the time. Filled with common lodging houses most of these no more than brothels. Landlords were the crime barons of this area, most were not averse to fencing stolen goods through the chandler’s shops (selling candles, oil and soap)they ran. Most of these goods would be perishables such as stolen meat, bacon or fish from Billingsgate.
It has been said that all roads in this murder case lead to Dorset St although Polly has no connection Annie lived at no. 30 and was living at 35 when murdered, Elizabeth lived at 38 and Catherine may have lived at no 26 at one time. 26 and 27 were properties owned by John McCarthy. No 27 a chandlers shop and 29 a vacant shop used to store hand barrows from Spitalfield Market.
Mary’s room was the last door on the right as you entered the courtway from Dorset St in front on her room was 29’s shop. A room about 12ft square a damp and squalid hovel. McCarthy rented out all the rooms surrounding the courtway and yard known as Miller’s Ct.
Mary soon settled in with Joseph and they seemed to be happy together for a while until Joseph lost his job in the summer of 1888 around July/August. desperate for money Kelly returned to prostitution and this caused arguments between them. However Joseph later claimed that the arguments were over the fact that Mary took in a homeless prostitute called Julia to sleep in their room and later a Mrs Harvey, this may have been slightly muddled, as Julia seemed to be a alias for Maria Harvey.
The week Mary Kelly was killed apparently Maria stayed with her on the Monday and Tuesday and then got a room in New Court off Dorset St, On Wednesday Mary bought a candle from John McCarthy’s shop and the stub of this was found in her room after the murder. She was seen with a man with a dark moustache and strange eyes by Thomas Bowyer the rent collector for Miller’s Court, this description matches the man seen by the fruit seller with Elizabeth Stride before her murder! Mary spent time with Elizabeth Foster that night. Then on Thursday Maria Harvey invited Mary to her new room in New Court where they drank together and parted company at 7:30pm. There is some confusion about her story also as she claimed they spent the time in Miller’s Ct, but Joseph Barnett visited Mary at 7:30 -7:45 that evening and found her with Lizzie Albrook who also lived in Millers Ct.
Later that night she was seen by Mary Anne Cox who lived at the inner end of the court on the opposite side, about 11:45pm she saw Mary entering the court with a man with a quart of beer under his arm, as they passed in the entrance way Mrs Cox said “Goodnight Mary.” Mary seeming a bit worse for wear said “I am going to have a song.” She was barely able to speak! Mrs Cox went out shortly after midnight and another woman Catherine Picket hear Mary still singing at 12:30 am “I plucked a violet from my Mother’s grave.” It started to rain and Mary Anne Cox went back into her room, Mary was still singing when she went out again at 1:00am, she did not return until 3:00am she did not see Mary again.
At 2:00am George Hutchinson was walking along Commercial St returning form a day out at Romford Market on the Corner of Flower and Dean St he met Mary Kelly, he had know her about three years and Mary approached him and asked “Can you lend me sixpence.” However he had spent all his money going to Romford and was penniless. When he refused Mary walked off and he noticed as she passed a man standing a bit further on she stopped and said something which he did not hear. The man laughed and he heard Mary say “All right.” “You will be alright for what I have just told you.” the man replied. George said the man had kid gloves and a small parcel in his hand.
Hutchinson followed the couple back to Dorset St and was in time to see them standing outside the court way. He heard Mary say “You will be comfortable with me my dear.” “I have lost my handkerchief.” Mary said. The man handed her a red one, they disappeared up the courtway. George remained opposite the courtway until Christchurch clock chimed the hour of three, no-one came out of Miller’s Ct and no sounds either so then frozen to the bone he went off to wander the streets all night. We can only concluded that he was probably hanging about waiting for the client to leave, to get a chance to ask Mary if she would let him sleep in her room for the night. She had a reputation as being a kind-hearted girl who sympathised with the homeless and indeed had put up Maria Harvey on 5th & 6th of November shortly before her murder.
After George left about an hour later neighbours in Millers Ct Mr & Mrs Keyler and Sarah Lewis who was staying with them, also Mrs Elizabeth Prater who lived above the empty shop in front of Mary’s room all said they heard muffled cries of “Murder, oh murder.” but none of them investigated as such cries were common place, due to the heavy consumption of alcohol by many people in the area at the time. Domestic violence and violence against prostitutes was far from unusual. After this there was quiet apart from Mrs Cox hearing a man’s footsteps leaving the ciurtway about 5:45am. After this a few people left to go out including, Catherine Picket who left to buy flowers to sell at 7:30am and wanted to borrow Kelly shawl, she knocked on her door but there was no reply! Mrs Maxwell living at Crossmans Lodging House opposite, claimed to have seen Kelly at 8:30am , to further confuse the story and claimed she spoke to her later outside the Britannia pub on the corner of Dorset St at 9:00am but this totally conflicts with the medical evidence given by the doctors who were called to the scene by the police.
At 10:30 John Mc Carthy told his Assistant Thomas Bowyer to go and collect thie owing rent from Mary Kelly, he knocked on her door and receiving no answer , looked thriough the keyhole but could not see her, so went to her window which faced the small yard where the courtway widened. He out his hand through the broken opane of glass and drew back the muslin curtain. he saw two lumps of flesh on the bedside table, then looked at the bed and this is the sight that met his eyes, a sight he said would remain with him until his dying day!
As you can imagine this murder, the most horrific of all the murders caused complete terror in the area but then a strange thing happened. Just as they had suddenly began the murders suddenly stopped. Although there were a couple of murders during the following couple of years – Rose Mylett 20th Dec 1888, Alice McKensie 16th July 1889, The Pinchin Street murder 10th Sept 1889 and Frances Cole 13th Feb 1891 these lacked the ferocity of the jack the Ripper murders and serial killler usually escalate in violence as they go on so it is highly unlike that these were the work of the Ripper.
Jack the Ripper-Suspects
John Pizer “Leather Apron” – A Polish boot finisher – known hatred of prostitutes regularly attacked them & stole their money but had alibis for night of Polly Nichols & Annie Chapman murders. Was arrested but released.
Aaron Kominski Paranoid Schizophrenic- A local Polish Immigrant committed to an asylum 1894 named by Sir Melville Macnaghten as Kosminski in his report. However there is great debate as to whether it is Aaron he is referring to as nowhere is it mentioned that the suspect is a boot finisher and it seem to exonerate Thomas Cutbush, a mentally unstable man arrested in 1891 for wounding one women and attempting to wound another. As there are two versions of this report the official one kept at Scotland Yard and the other in possession of his descendants’, the Aberconway family the waters are even more muddied where the correct identity is concerned.
Montague John Druitt – A junior barrister- history of mental illness in family & committed suicide Dec 1888 making him a suspect for a while
Francis Tumbelty – An American Quack- hatred of women, married a prostitute in early life by mistake, here in 1888 arrested 7th Nov for importuning so most likely gay
Prince Albert Victor Duke of Clarence/ Sir William Gull Queen Victoria Doctor a far-fetched modern day theory, the Prince was in other part of the country on the dates of the murders & Sir William was 71 recently had a stroke, & died 6 month later.
Severin Klosowski – George Chapman A Polish immigrant Barber/ Surgeon working in basement of White Hart Pub near Martha Tabram’s death site Known as ‘Borough Poisoner’ as poisoned 3 wives 1893-1894. Hung in 1903
Walter Sickert German born Artist – Camden Town Group, Painting of ‘Jack the Ripper’s Bedroom’ & ‘The Camden Town Murder’ reminiscent of Mary Kelly’s death scene but the Camden Town murder did happen, reported in press. An avid reader of newspapers sometime 20+ a day so would have seen many news reports on Jack the Ripper and the Camden Town Murders
James Maybrick A cotton broker from Liverpool – An arsenic addict and a regular taker of patent medicines, he married an American (Fannie) Florence Chandler, his supposed diary was given to Michael Barrett in 1993 which included confessions that he was Jack; it was later found the ink was not made until after 1960. Oddly Maybrick’s wife Fannie (The Life & Times of Fannie Maybrick) was arrested for his murder after his death from strychnine poisoning, it was claimed that she had soaked fly-paper to extract arsenic and used it to kill him, she was sentenced to be hung – then commuted to life and spent 25 years in prison, then returned to America living in the woods for the rest for her life. Was she guilty probably not as the servants hated her and he died of Strychnine poisoning and her case became a ‘cause celebre’ but the authorities were not going to release her so life imprisonment for something she most likely did not do although there was traces of arsenic in his body most likely self-administered. A mystery indeed as a pocket watch with the initials of the Ripper victim’s turned up, some time after the book was published but no-one could deny or confirm whether these were recent or old?
H H Holmes (Herman Mudgett) another mysterious American. Murdered many women in his hotel ‘Murder Castle’ built for the World Fair in Chicago 1893. He took out life insurance policies on them and sold their organs after incinerating most of them in the basement. Arrested and hung 1896. No proof he was here in 1888.
Lewis Carroll(Charles Dodgeson) Author of ‘Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass’ a 1996 book claims that there are anagrams in his books and poems that form a confession to being jack. However he wrote while under the influence of LSD (Magic Mushrooms) and was known for his nonsense poems.
Carl Feigenbaum A German Merchant Seaman arrested in New York in 1894 for murdering his landlady Juliana Hoffman by slashing her throat, executed in electric chair in Sing-Sing 1896 some records suggest he may have been here in autumn 1888 but not proven on all dates of the murders
As a footnote…………………………………………………………………..
There are so many confusing details about Mary Kelly including her identity. In his book “Will the Real Mary Kelly.” Christopher Scott investigates this, as no birth or marriage certificates have ever been found, her real identity is questionable, was her name really Mary Kelly or was this just a convienent alias used to work the streets? A common name and strangely one given by Catherine Eddowes when she was arrested the night before her murder. Unfortunately it seems now that we will never know?
Please note all information on this page drawn from ‘Jack the Ripper The Facts’ by Paul Begg, a great author and a world authority on Jack the Ripper. Also from “The Complete History of Jack the Ripper” by Phillip Sugden
You can buy these books on Amazon via the links below…………………………………………………….
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