The Victims (Jack the Ripper) Part 10

Emma Elizabeth Smith

Attacked at ca. 1:30 A.M. Tuesday, 3 April 1888

Once again the primary motive for this attack seems to have been robbery, but the strongest reason for discounting this event as a Ripper crime is the fact that, according to Emma herself, three men were involved. In addition, Emma was raped, and a blunt instrument, rather than a knife, was used. It is possible that the trauma of the attack caused some confusion in Emma’s mind, but it is highly unlikely that this assault involved the Ripper.

Martha Tabram

Attacked at ca. 2:30 A.M. Tuesday, 7 August 1888

I have referred to the frenzy of the attack upon Martha and the Illustrated Police News report that there were indications that she was throttled. I do not believe that the soldier she went with was her killer and think that the probability is that some other man whom Martha met later was to claim her life.

I do not believe that the fact that the throat was not cut and there were no mutilations indicates that Jack the Ripper was not involved. It is much more likely that such a maniacal attack so close to the epicenter of the murders is suggestive of an early attack by a killer who later perfected a more reliable technique for subduing his victims. I contend that Martha Tabram was the first fatality at the hands of the Ripper. This conclusion, if accepted, increases the likelihood that an even earlier attack, the one upon Annie Millwood, may also have been Jack’s handiwork.


Mary Ann Nichols

Attacked at ca. 3:35 A.M. Friday, 31 August 1888

No authors argue that Mary Ann was not a victim of the serial killer. Most refer to her as the canonical first victim, and there can be little doubt that she was murdered by the man later given the sobriquet Jack the Ripper by the author of a letter and postcard sent to the Central News Agency.

Annie Chapman

Attacked at ca. 5:30 A.M. Saturday, 8 September 1888 There is little argument that Annie Chapman was one of the Ripper’s victims.

Susan Ward

Attacked ca. Saturday, 15 September 1888

Although reports on this particular attack are sketchy, the story does have three elements that might suggest it was a Ripper crime. First, a knife was used; second, the attack was in the Commercial Road area; and third, it took place on a weekend, which seems to fit the killer’s pattern.

Countering this evidence is the fact that the victim had time to scream and frighten her assailant away, and the fact that a knife was used at the commencement of the attack, with no evidence of strangulation preceding it, seems to indicate that this assault was not a Ripper crime.

Elizabeth Stride

Attacked at ca. 12:58 A.M. Sunday, 30 September 1888

What are we to make of all the various sightings in Berner Street on the night of 29-30 September? A timetable may be drawn up according to the statements made and the witnesses’ own calculations. It reads as follows:

29 September

11:30 P.M.—William Marshall goes to stand at his front door, 64 Berner Street.

11:45 P.M.—Morris Eagle leaves the club with his young lady.

William Marshall sees a man and a woman not far from his house. They later walk off toward the club.

Matthew Packer sells grapes to a man and woman.

12 P.M.—Marshall goes back inside.

30 September

12:30 A.M.—Packer closes his shop.

Constable Smith walks down Berner Street, sees a man and woman.

William West leaves the club by the side entrance to put some literature in the printing office.

Fanny Mortimer stands at her door, 36 Berner Street.

West and two companions leave the club by the street door.

Joseph Lave goes into Berner Street from the club to get some fresh air. He soon goes into Dutfield’s Yard.

12:35 A.M.—Eagle returns to the club by the side entrance.

12:40 A.M.—Lave goes back into the club.

12:44 A.M.—Earliest possible time of the attack upon Elizabeth.

12:45 A.M.—Israel Schwartz encounters the man who calls him Lipski.

12:45 A.M.—James Brown sees a man and woman near the school.

12:54 A.M.—Latest possible time of the attack upon Elizabeth.

1 A.M.—Mortimer goes indoors.

Constable Smith passes the end of Berner Street in Commercial Road.

Louis Diemschutz finds the body.

Constable Lamb in Commercial Road hears of the murder.

Constable Smith arrives at the scene.

1:13 A.M.—Edward Johnston arrives in Dutfield’s Yard.

Constable Smith goes to get the police ambulance.

1:16 A.M.—Dr. Blackwell arrives.

This timetable is obviously inconsistent. For instance, Mortimer saw nothing of Schwartz’s encounter with the quarreling couple at the entrance to the yard, and Smith’s own timing puts him in two places at the same time. Only two people used timepieces to measure their arrival at the scene: Dr. Blackwell consulted his watch when he arrived in Dutfield’s Yard, and Louis Diemschutz timed his arrival by a tobacconist’s clock in Commercial Road. We must assume, therefore, that Blackwell’s timing is exact and Diemschutz’s out by not more than a minute. A more accurate timetable for the hours from 12:20 to 1:20 A.M. would thus be:

12:30 A.M.—Matthew Packer closes his shop.

William West leaves the club by the side entrance to put some literature in the printing office.

Joseph Lave leaves the club and goes into Berner Street.

12:32 A.M.—West and two companions leave the club by the street door.

12:34 A.M.—Morris Eagle returns to the club by the side entrance.

12:35 A.M.—Lave returns to the club.

Constable Smith walks down Berner Street and sees a man and a woman.

12:36 A.M.—Fanny Mortimer stands at her front door.

12:42 A.M.—Mortimer goes back inside.

12:43 A.M.—James Brown sees a man and a woman near the school.

12:44 A.M.—Earliest possible time of the attack upon Elizabeth, according to the medical evidence.

12:47 A.M.—Israel Schwartz encounters the man who calls him Lipski

12:54 A.M.—Latest possible time of the attack upon Elizabeth, according to the medical evidence.

12:56 A.M.—Constable Smith passes the end of Berner Street.

1 A.M.—Louis Diemschutz finds the body.

1:03 A.M.—Edward Spooner arrives at Dutfield’s Yard.

1:05 A.M.—Constable Lamb in Commercial Road hears of the murder.

1:08 A.M.—Constable Smith arrives at the scene.

1:13 A.M.—Edward Johnston arrives in Dutfield’s Yard.

Smith goes to get the police ambulance.

1:16 A.M.—Dr. Blackwell arrives.

Though many of these times are approximate, they do make sense of the various statements and explain why witnesses do not refer to seeing each other in their evidence.

An important point was made by Edward Spooner in his evidence. We know that he arrived at the murder scene before Constable Lamb, so he must have been in Dutfield’s Yard by, say, 1:04 A.M. Spooner reported that blood still flowed from the wound in the throat, which indicated that Elizabeth Stride’s heart was still pumping, albeit very weakly. The medical opinion was that it took her about a minute and a half to bleed to death, indicating that she had been attacked just a few minutes before.

This point shows that the doctors were slightly out in estimating the time of death and that Elizabeth had actually been attacked at about 12:58 or 12:59 A.M., probably at the very moment that Diemschutz turned his cart into Berner Street. This conclusion in turn leads us to an interesting dichotomy and raises further points of argument. First, if the man who called out "Lipski" to Israel Schwartz were the killer, then he stayed with Elizabeth for about 12 minutes before attacking her. This theory is of course possible, but improbable. The murders of Annie Chapman and Catherine Eddowes showed that the killer worked quickly, and a 12-minute wait was hardly his style. Second, many authors have used the fact that Schwartz’s description is similar to that given by Lawende in the murder of Catherine Eddowes to show that the crimes were related. If we accept this argument, then we also have to accept that Jack the Ripper spent a minimum of 12 minutes in Berner Street with a woman he had already assaulted by throwing her to the ground.

The only other similarity between the murder of Elizabeth Stride and that of the other Ripper victims is that the throat was cut from left to right while the victim was lying on the ground. But let us return to the evidence of the timetable. We can argue that the killer was probably disturbed by Diemschutz, but even if he was, he would still have had about one full minute in which to inflict whatever injuries he wished. He would not have passed into the yard once Diemschutz’s cart had actually turned into Berner Street. Surely it is not tenable to state that even if he and Elizabeth had passed into the yard just as Diemschutz’s cart approached his turn, the killer would not have had time to inflict further injuries. At the very least, Elizabeth’s clothing would have been disturbed as he prepared to mutilate her.

In about five minutes, or probably less, Jack the Ripper had time to throttle Catherine Eddowes, slash her throat, lift her clothing, mutilate her body, remove internal organs, and mutilate her face. Are we expected to believe that this killer, with admittedly only about a minute with his previous victim, succeeded only in dragging her to the floor by her scarf and then cutting her throat once?

It is possible that Elizabeth Stride was murdered by Jack the Ripper, but my opinion is that it is equally likely that she was not.

Catherine Eddowes—Attacked at ca. 1:38 A.M. Sunday, 30 September 1888

There can be little doubt that Catherine Eddowes was butchered by Jack the Ripper.

The Whitehall Mystery—Attacked ca. Wednesday, 3 October 1888

This limbless, headless torso was found in the Thames, far from Jack’s usual hunting ground. The corpse bore none of the abdominal mutilations characteristic of the canonical murders and was only ever linked to the other murders by the gentlemen of the press. The conclusion is that the Whitehall Mystery had nothing to do with the Whitechapel Mystery.

Mary Jane Kelly—Attacked at ca. 4 A.M. Friday, 9 November 1888

Though Mary Jane Kelly is accepted by most authors as the final canonical victim, others suggest that she was the victim of a copycat killer. There are a several reasons for this disagreement, but the main ones are: that she was killed after a gap of a month, and therefore Eddowes should rightly be the final victim; that at about 25 she was much younger than the other victims; and that she was the only one killed indoors.

I find it difficult to believe that a copycat could have been responsible for Mary Kelly’s death. The sheer savagery of the killer surely indicates that she died at the hand of someone who was growing in confidence and arrogance, and there is no significance in any of the factors that separate Mary from the other victims. The only true factor is that for the first time Jack had time to carry out his fantasies undisturbed by policemen on the beat or passing pedestrians and gave full vent to his impulses.

Annie Farmer—Attacked Tuesday, 20 November 1888

There can be little doubt that Annie Farmer inflicted wounds upon her own throat in an attempt to rob her client of a few coins. She was certainly not attacked by Jack the Ripper, as the weapon used was described as a blunt blade.

Rose Mylett—Attacked at ca. 4 A.M. Thursday, 20 December 1888

Though Rose’s name was added to the list of Ripper victims at Scotland Yard, there were no mutilations and no knife wounds whatsoever. Jack the Ripper may well have used strangulation to subdue his victims, but after the carnage of Miller’s Court it is unlikely that this alone would have satisfied him. We must also remember that Rose was in the company of two sailors for most of the evening and that Poplar is far to the east of Jack’s usual territory. These factors lead to the conclusion that Rose Mylett was not killed at the hands of the Ripper.

Elizabeth Jackson—Attacked ca. Tuesday, 4 June 1889

There is nothing to link Elizabeth’s death with the Ripper, but there may be links with the Whitehall Mystery of 1888.

Alice McKenzie

Attacked at ca. 12:48 A.M. Wednesday, 17 July 1889

Medical evidence differed when it came to Alice McKenzie. Dr. Phillips thought she wasn’t a victim of Jack the Ripper; Dr. Bond thought she was. Though it is true that Dr. Phillips’s opinion must carry more weight since he saw the body days before Bond did, it will be best if we consider the similarities and differences between this crime and the others.

First, the similarities. The left carotid artery was cut, the cuts were made from left to right while the victim was on the ground, abdominal injuries were inflicted after death, and Alice did not cry out. Next, the differences. The wounds in the neck were smaller, the air passages were undivided, there were no indications of strangulation, the abdominal wounds were not severe, and the abdominal cavity was not opened. However, as stated earlier, it may well be that the killer was disturbed by hearing the approach of Constable Andrews. I have largely discounted Elizabeth Stride as a possible victim because there was no attempt at mutilation. In this case there was. As for the absence of strangulation, it is well documented that some killers do change their methods, and if we are correct in assuming that Martha Tabram was a Ripper victim, then Jack had already changed his approach once before.

Of much more significance, perhaps, are the series of scratches on the stomach. If Alice were the victim of a killer who wished to make it appear that the Ripper had struck again, why did he inflict seven minor marks on her abdomen? Could it be that the killer was indicating his tally? If so, then it could not be a copycat killer because most press reports of the time placed the number of victims higher, and there would consequently have been more scratches.

This factor leads me to believe that it is more than likely that Alice McKenzie was indeed a Ripper victim.

The Pinchin Street Torso

Attacked ca. Sunday, 8 September 1889

Though it is true that the most likely date of the attack upon this unidentified woman was the anniversary of Annie Chapman’s death, it does not fit the pattern of Ripper attacks in any other way. James Monro gave his own creditable opinion as to why this crime should not be placed among the litany of Ripper crimes, and he argued the case persuasively. The case has more possible links with the Whitehall Mystery and the murder of Elizabeth Jackson.

Frances Coles

Attacked at 2:15 A.M. Friday, 13 February 1891

Although I have suggested that the Ripper might well have altered the way he killed, I do not believe that Frances Coles was one of his victims because there are too many variations.

In the first place, she was apparently thrown down to the ground, which is a different method of initial attack. Her throat was cut by means of a sawing motion, and she was killed far to the south of the Ripper’s usual hunting ground. Allied to this is the gap of more than 18 months since the last possible Ripper victim, Alice McKenzie.

Though we can discount the absence of abdominal mutilations as a factor because the approach of Constable Thompson might well have disturbed the killer, and the crime took place on a weekend, which appears to have been Jack’s pattern, I still feel that the dissimilarities are such that Frances can be discounted as a Ripper victim.

To sum up, then, it is my opinion that only the following crimes can, arguably, be placed at Jack’s door:

Attack upon Annie Millwood, White’s

Row, Saturday, 25 February 1888 Murder of Martha Tabram, George

Yard, Tuesday, 7 August 1888 Murder of Mary Ann Nichols, Buck’s

Row, Friday, 31 August 1888 Murder of Annie Chapman, Hanbury Street, Saturday, 8 September 1888

Possibly murder of Elizabeth Stride, Berner Street, Sunday, 30 September 1888 Murder of Catherine Eddowes, Mitre Square, Sunday, 30 September 1888 Murder of Mary Jane Kelly, Miller’s Court, Friday, 9 November 1888 Probably murder of Alice McKenzie, Castle Alley, Wednesday, 17 July 1889

Depending on which candidate one favors, other victims can be placed at Jack’s door. Thus, those who favor an American connection may also include Carrie Brown, who was murdered in the United States. Those who claim that George Chapman or William Bury were the Ripper would include their other victims too. These other murders are not, however, part of the true Ripper series, so they have been covered in the "Miscellaneous" section of this topic.

Next post:

Previous post: