Posts Tagged ‘whitechapel’

She was not listed as the canon five but she does show up as a consideration for a victim of Jack the Ripper so hey, I am going to mention her.

13th February 1891 – Police Constable Ernest Thompson was passing through the archway of the Great Eastern Railway. He hadn’t seen a body there on his patrol when he passed 15 minutes before and at 2.15am he heard a man’s footsteps walking away from him. He looked into the arch and shining his lamp in found the bloodied remains of a woman, she had a wound on her throat that ran from ear to ear. He called the officers nearby, PC Hyde and PC Hinton who were then joined by PC Elliott. He said that he had been nearby and was in plain clothes patrol. He was sure had she of made any noise it would have been heard.

The woman was dying when they found her, she had a faint pulse and was still warm. Sadly she was beyond help and Dr Oxley who arrived on the scene pronounced her dead upon his arrival. Frances Coles life had ended in a brutal murder and whilst they searched for signs of her killer her body was left on the scene as per the instructions of the 1888 murders, until someone of authority could come and take her to the mortuary. It was Dr George Bagster Phillips who conducted an on scene investigation and said the cause was due to he two cuts on her throat.

So why was she placed on the potential Ripper list? Fundamentally – the location, her character and her throat was slit. However the “two cuts” on the throat is a striking difference to the previous descriptions I found. Two cuts is often consistent with someone who has made a first attempt and then had to finish it off, not the work of an experienced serial killer.

The press however were very quick to link the murders together, well why not? After all Jack the Ripper had brought The Star to fame! The Times reported:
“The place, the time, the character of the victim, and other points of resemblance, recall in the most obvious way the series of crimes associated in the popular mind with the so-called “Jack the Ripper…”
The East London Advertiser put an article up Saturday 14th February 1891 admitting the injuries were not consistent but the time, location and character of the woman were. She was still not identified by this point, she was a woman unknown.

Frances Cole was identified by the people in the area who knew her, she had lived at the common lodging-houses in Thrawl Street and Flower and Dean Street, this was a local to the area of Ripper victims. The police had a name and could look into who might have killed her. Frances had been seen drinking with a man that evening and so they were interested in talking to him.

The companion was James Thomas Sadler, a 53 year old merchant seamen, and fireman, he had met her as he was a former client and they spent the night together. They went around on a pub crawl and were very drunk.

12th February 1891 – Around 7.30pm Frances turned up at a milliners shop and brought a black crepe hate, she was still very drunk. She went off with the company of a man who was picked out later on as Sadler. Later on that night Sadler was then attacked by a woman in a red shawl, two men came with her and robbed him of his watch and money. Frances failed to intervene and he told her that this has sparked an argument and he had left, he was still disgusted about that when police interviewed him.

Frances then turned up at the lodging house around 11.3-pm, still drunk she fell asleep in the kitchen. Not long after Sadler turned up and told the night watchman about the robbery, he was given some help to clan up but left as he had no money. At 12.30am (now 13th February) Frances was told to move on as she had no money to stay either.

She met with Ellen Callana who talked about how she was solicited by a violent man, Callana refused him and he punched her. Frances was approached by the same man and ignored her warnings. At the same time Sadler was trying to get back on the SS Fez and got a nasty scalp wound when he got in a fight with the dockworkers.

Sadler was arrested on the Saturday morning based on various witness descriptions. He offered no resistance and was taken for examination. He admitted to knowing her and having been in her company, however maintained he had nothing to do with her murder.

During the police enquiries they found a man named Donald Campbell had purchased a knife from Sadler the Friday morning for one shilling. He said the knife blade was stained and so washed the knife. He sold it on but could not identify who too.

Sadler was charged with Frances murder, the inquest drew it’s conclusion 27th February 1891. The jury felt that detaining Sadler was correct and that he was guilty, this led to further speculation that Jack The Ripper might well have been caught. However the case against him soon collapsed, he was able to prove he was mugged and he could show he had not been with her on those hours before she was murdered. The knife would have been too blunt as well so all in all it seemed like they had wanted him for an easy prosecution, did that leave Jack on the streets still? Sadler walked free along with friends who cheered for the release of their friend. And no doubt if Jack the Ripper was watching and the killer, he would have been silently cheering too.

I say final as this is how everyone else has identified it, but as per my previous comment unless he was caught, murdered or moved on there is little chance that the murders simply ceased if we place them all together as one serial killers work.

Mary Kelly was 25, the youngest of the victims and was also given the crowning trophy of all the murders that Jack committed for being utterly horrific.

Having worked in a mortuary and funeral home, I can safely say not a lot bothers you after a while. It’s a sad fact that we become desensitised to some of the horrors our fellow “man” commits. I believe she may well have been one of those cases that “you never forget” when you have a career in these fields.

Mary Kelly was often with two or three other prostitutes and was usually clean clothed. She does appear to have been well liked by the people in the area but was found on occasion to be tipsy. For 8 months she had been renting a room in Millers Court, and until two weeks before that had been living there with an unemployed fish porter, Joseph Barnet.

Lack of money from them meant more arguments when Mary Kelly turned to prostitution. This had led to a broken window by the door being covered up by newspaper, rag and an old coat. Joe Barnet left when Mary brought home a homeless prostitute to stay with them. Maria Harvey gave her occupation as “laundress” and told the police she stayed there Monday and Tuesday but took a room in New Court, Dorset Street however she spent Thursday afternoon with Mary in Mary’s room at Miller’s Court.

Around 7pm Joe visited, they were friendly enough despite the split and he had said he left her alive. He did say that another woman was there with her later on but it seems unlikely to have been Maria Harvey as he would have said her name, he did after all know who she was.

Whilst he was there with Mary they were visited by Lizzie Albrook, she left after a chat and according to Barnet he told her he was sorry that he had no money and could not help her out. He then went back to his own lodging house and played whist until around 12.30am.

Around 4am 9th November two neighbours reported they heard cries of murder but to them this was a regular occurrence. It was often a sign of a drunken brawl in the area or domestic violence. The local residents would not have liked to get involved and so nothing more happened.

10:45 the next morning Mary Kelly’s landlord, John McCarthy, sent his assistant, Thomas Bowyer, to get the rent from her. He banged loudly on the door twice, assumed that she was ignoring him and moved the curtain from the broken pane. He rang back to the shop and told him that he had seen a LOT of blood.

The two men hurried to Miller’s Court, McCarth looked in via the window and was met with a terrible sight. The wall behind the bed was splattered like a modern slash film, on the bedside table was bloody human flesh and what was on the bed was barely recognisable as human. Lovecraft would like have described the scene as “Unimaginable horror” and this seems apt enough. The virtually skinned corpse of Mary Kelly was burnt into McCarthy’s mind and most likely haunted his dreams thereon.

The police were brought in, Inspectors Walter Dew and Walter Beck were brought in, they said he was muttering and raving about the victim, Bowyer was very clearly in shock. Beck looked in and staggered back, he told his partner not to look but he did. Both of them recalled the barbaric sight very clearly even 50 years later. Dew was struck by her wide open eyes, fixed in terror and the mutilations to her face were so ghastly that poor Joseph Barnet could only identify her by her eyes and ears.

It strikes me that there is a lot recorded about this poor woman’s death and less so about her life. Dr Thomas Bond gives a succinct report, which gives it the harsh and cold reality it deserves.

“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 & lying across the abdomen. the right arm was slightly abducted from the body & rested on the mattress, the elbow bent & the forearm supine with the fingers clenched.

The legs were wide apart, the left thigh at right angles to the trunk & the right forming an obtuse angle with the pubes. The whole of the surface of the abdomen & thighs was removed & the abdominal Cavity emptied of its viscera.

The breasts were cut off, the arms mutilated by several jagged wounds & 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 & Kidneys with one breast under the head, the other breast by the Rt foot, the Liver between the feet, the intestines by the right side & 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, & on the floor beneath was a pool of blood covering about 2 feet square…The face was gashed in all directions the nose cheeks, eyebrows and ears being partly removed. The lips were blanched & cut by several incisions running obliquely down to the chin. There were also numerous cuts extending irregularly across all the features.”

Catherine Eddowes, or “Kate” was being released from Bishopsgate Police Station around the same time as Elizabeth Stride was murdered. At 8.30pm the night before a drunken Eddowes had amused onlookers with an imitation of a fire engine, loudly and drunkenly. She took a bow, laid down and then went to sleep on the pavement. PC Robinson came and asked if anyone knew who she was, as no one did she was moved to the station. She had put up a fight and refused to give her name, every time the gaoler checked she had been asleep until the next day.

By 12.15am she was awake and singing softly in her cell, she was then asked if she could leave and was told that she would leave when she could look after herself. He asked for her name and address, she gave Mary Ann Kelly, 6 Fashion Street. She said good night and headed off, following a scolding about her drinking.

It would not have taken more than ten minutes to get to Mitre Square, during which time the murdered of Stride would well have been moving in that direction. At the time this was an enclosed area with three warehouses around it, there was uninhabited houses and a shop on the south west corner. There were two houses that did have occupants and one was Richard Pearse, a City Policeman.

Mitre Square had three access points and at 1.30am PC Watkins was walking through on his beat. He had his lantern on fixed to his belt and found it deserted as he carried on through towards Aldgate. Five minutes later three Jewish men passed nearby saying there was a woman with her back to them, her hand rested on a man’s chest. With the way things were in London and the fact it looked like they were “up to no good” a wide birth was given. One of the three men, Joseph Lawende, did not see her face but was sure the clothing matched Eddowes when he was later shown the articles at the police station.

He did say that the man was around 5’9 looked like a sailor and was aged around 30 years old. He did however explain that whilst he could give a description of his clothes and vague appearance he would not be confident to pick that person out again. If this was the person that killed Eddowes then it is most likely that Lawende saw the face of Jack the Ripper.

1.44am PC Watkins came back around on his patrol and was provided the horrific sight of Catherine Eddowes, left on her back in a pool of blood with her clothes above her waist. Retired Policeman George Morris worked in a warehouse nearby and was called out to assist, the night watchman grabbed his lantern and having taken a look raced off to find more assistance.

Dr George Sequira was brought to the scene by PC Holland, PC James Harvey followed Morris to the scene. Death would have been instant after her windpipe was cut. The doctor this time said there was no need for medical knowledge, anyone with a basic knowledge of human anatomy would know where to cut for this job. He also pointed out that it might not be the case the murderer was splattered with blood. With his work done he did not touch the body and waited for the arrival of the City Police Divisional Surgeon, Dr Frederick Gordon Brown.

Door to door enquiries were organised by Inspector Edward Collar, then came Superintendent James McWilliam who arrived with detectives. A thorough look through neighbouring Spitalfields was then carried out but the killer was gone by then. It baffled both Watkins and Morris about how quietly such a terrible crime had been carried.

In actuality it was a very bold! She was with her murdered and around her other police were on patrol which included plain clothes patrols. He has slipped in to commit the murder and slipped out of the area without detection. She was removed to the Golden Lane Mortuary and was added to the Ripper’s victims.

Contrary to the previous poor soul I mentioned, Elizabeth Stride, this particular murder does seem to fit the Ripper’s usual pattern. Her clothes were left disturbed and she was despatched in the same method as well. The disturbed clothing seems to fit the motive of the others and the brazen attitude of waiting between the police beats seems to be a fitting behaviour for what we would now classify as a serial killer. It is unusual as well for a killer to change his motive, this has very rarely been the case even with today’s modern detections the type of kill is very much how they are identified, the Green River killings and the Yorkshire Ripper etc being examples of this.

Oh yes he’s probably one of the most famous killers in history and there is no way I could do this justice in one post but I have decided to at least get a little down on paper for now.

1888 London, Whitechapel was by no means a nice place. In fact a hovel of debauchery, poverty and crime the one thing it has done is raise the profile of how awful it was to be poor during the period. With lavish inventions, curious contraptions and plays that sparkle in the eyes of the rich, just like many cities London was not exempt of the darker side. Indeed London’s underground scenes and rough streets make some of the most lucrative aspects of art and film in the modern ages. Not least of those subjects is Jack the Ripper, depicted by many famous parties in film, games and literature… the serial killers past is so clouded with mystery and intrigue that it’s hard to pass him by.

The name comes from a letter, widely regarded as a hoax, which was signed Jack the Ripper admitting to the hideous crimes but another name for Jack is Leather Apron. Both of which relate to the crimes of prostitutes that were viciously attacked and murdered with abdominal mutilations being the part that really sticks out as his signature. He has never been identified as a specific person and so the theories continue to be debated, perhaps this is the true essence of why he is so fascinating, we truly have the opportunity to play armchair detectives as there’s plenty of theories to test.

Whitechapel itself leads to a brilliant backdrop for the crime and it’s subsequent mystery of exactly who Jack the Ripper is, after all with an estimated 1200 prostitutes and 62 brothels in the area Jackie-boy had a brilliant selection and plenty of opportunities to plan his escapades. And there wasn’t just a problem with the ladies of the night, there was a terrible element of racism, class division and those of higher station merely regarded it all as immorality.

Five of many victims of the time are listed as his canon murders, due to the way in which they were found and mutilated though the true number could be far more and there are at least seven listed as part of the Whitechapel murders. Those considered canon (canonical) are Mary Ann Nichols, Anne Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly. I’ll be focusing on them in other posts as they really deserve more focus than a summary paragraph in my view.

What is interesting about each one is that whilst there was no identified sexual assault in terms of the murder being met with rape he had penetrated them with the knife and left them on display, suggesting the act perpetrated on females was still perhaps sexual in nature. It’s hard to disagree with it having some form of sexual motivation when considering their professions.

There have been numerous adaptations of this theme but I am going to comment on the ones I enjoy most. Certainly I enjoyed “From Hell” the name of which was a letter received by George Lusk at the time, the letter was signed From Hell. Johnny Depp plays the aspiring detective Aberline and it is dark enough to be interesting without turning into a terrible slasher like so many seem too. Another take comes from Kuroshitsuji (Black Butler) a manga which has been adapted into anime, in which the murderer is a grim reaper working on behalf of a woman who can no longer bear children. A modern retelling came to the British TV in the form of a mini-series, a Jack the Ripper in the modern night replicating the details of the murders is hunted down.