“Long Liz” or Elizabeth Stride was born Elisabeth Gustafsdotter in Sweden. She died 30th September 188, and was the third victim in the Ripper canon five. That afternoon she was cleaning rooms in the lodging house, 32 Flower and Dean Street, where she had been on and off for the last six years. The deputy cleaner, Elizabeth Tanner, gave her six pence for the chores.
6.30pm she was drinking in the nearby Queen’s Head pub, she came back to the lodge house at 7pm and borrowed a clothes brush as she was ready to out. She chatted with a lodger and then headed out about half an hour later.
It rained that night, (trust me that’s no surprise in England) and she was then seen 11pm when she sheltered in the doorway of the Bricklayer’s Arms. She was with a man about 5’5 and he wore a black mourning suit with a billycock hat. The man was hiding and kissing her, as he was a respectable looking man the witnesses, two men, saw it as a little odd and shouted out a bit of banter their way. They told the woman to watch out as Leather Apron would be after them, this was the known name for the Ripper at that time. Apparently a little embarrassed they hurried off after that.
11.45 a man and woman were spotted kissing by a labourer, he made a remark and they again headed off. The height matched the previous chap but he said this man looked like a clerk of some kind with a round cap on, a small sailor-like peak. By 12.30pm that night PC William Smith was to come across them both as well at Dutfield’s Yard. He said the man he saw did not match either of those from the prior talks either. This time the man was 5’7, wore a dark overcoat and deerstalker hat. He also identified her but added she had been wearing a flower pinned to her jacket.
There was a period that cannot be traced for her actions but 30 minutes before the body was found a Hungarian Jew, Israel Schwarz, turned into the yard around 12.45am and stopped to talk to a woman standing in the Dutfield’s Yard gateway, he was very certain that it was Stride herself.
He spoke no English and he used an interpreter, he may well have been witness to the start of the events but the police didn’t scrutinise him too well. Another part I feel worth noting is that there were differences in the details given between interviews to police and journalists but more so I think it is worth noting he was around 5’5 and had dark hair, broad shoulders and was possibly slightly drunk.
He felt that he was witness to a domestic attack, a man pulled her into the street, spun her around and then threw her onto the pathway where she tried to scream three times, but says it was not loudly. He says he crossed the road to avoid ending up involved. He said he saw a second man nearby who called out Lipski to the man and then the second man followed Schwartz. By this time Schwartz panicked and ran. He says the second man was around 5’11 and looked quite fresh and clean, this has led to yet more speculation an accomplice was involved.
Yet another conflict arises with the details of the man not being identified officially, but according to Chief Inspector Swanson he was not a suspect. It is now know that another woman was killed around the same time, 12.45 – 1am Elizabeth Stride and the fourth victim, ‘Kate’ Eddowes (more on her another post in).
1am Louise Diemshutz, had come back from hawking cheap jewellery and turned the pony and cart into the yard. The pony would not more in and so he headed towards the bundle causing the issue. Striking a match for a better view he spotted a woman lying on the ground and thinking it was his wide he headed into the club, when he found his wife safe he said to the club members he could not tell if she was drunk or dead. Off they went to investigate.
Several men were witness to the horror, a woman lay with her throat cut. They arranged to get a policeman and Diemshutz with a companion shouted out Murder and Police to be heard along Fairclough Street. They met Edward Spooner who came with them and looked at her, tilting her head they saw how bad it was. The blood ran from the body to the door of the club and in the woman’s hand was a piece of paper with breath freshner in it. PC Henry Lamb was the officer brought over and the crowd was now around 20/30 strong.
Lamb got them to back off and said to get the Dr. In contrast to the other victims so farhe had also said that she seemed to have been laid down quietly and her clothes did not look disturbed. Dr Blackwell said he estimated she had been dead between 20 and thirty minutes. He could not tell if the scarf she had on was there before or after, had she been standing up the scarf could have already been on. He had cut through her windpipe and she had bled out, no residents had seem to have heard anything nearby and having interrogated the locals present found no further leads.
They tried a hiding place in a loft but found it empty, then they arranged the body to be moved and by 5am the blood was being washed from the yard.
From my perspective whilst she seems to have died on the same night, I actually find her the more dubious of the canon five as a victim. Here are my reasons (please note only MY opinion) is that the skirts were not moved and throat slitting is still, and was, a pretty simple method of removing a life. She also seems to be very closely timed to another Ripper Victim and with so much movement in a short space it is worth considering that this would not have been an easy movement to make.
The lack of lower mutilation and the fact the witness seemingly saw a lead up argument that might well be the murder with her, I have to wonder if she wasn’t merely a victim of a murder who’s escalation in fame is due to the others of the time. Again… this is my opinion, she is counted as Canon and I am just playing armchair detective with those ideas!