The Victims (Jack the Ripper) Part 8

Annie Farmer

Tuesday, 20 November 1888

On 20 November 1888 Annie Farmer picked up a client whom she took back to her usual lodging house, Satchell’s, at 19 George Street. There the man paid for a bed for the two of them.

About two hours later Annie let out a terrible scream and appeared in the kitchen, bleeding from a wound in her throat. Other lodgers went to intercept the man whom Annie said had attacked her, but he ran from the house fully clothed, turned into Thrawl Street, and managed to escape in the crowds.

Annie was able to give a full description of the man. She said he was about 36 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall, with a dark complexion and a black mustache but no whiskers. He had been wearing a shabby-genteel suit and a round black felt hat and looked like a respectable man.

Rumors began to circulate around Whitechapel that there had been another murder, but it soon became clear that Annie’s wound was superficial. It had been inflicted with a blunt blade and was quite shallow. When the police discovered that Annie had concealed some coins in her mouth, it soon became clear that this was more likely a case of a prostitute robbing her client than a Ripper attack. It seemed that Annie had decided to rob the man by injuring herself and then screaming that she had been attacked by the Ripper. Knowing full well that he would have to answer to an irate mob intent on lynching him and only later finding out what had really happened, the client chose self-preservation and ran for his life.

Rose Mylett

Thursday, 20 December 1888

Constable Robert Goulding was on his regular beat in Poplar at 4:15 A.M. on 20 December when he walked down Clarke’s Yard and found the body of a woman. There were no obvious signs of injury, her clothing had not been disarranged, and a later search of her possessions would show that robbery was an unlikely motive for an attack upon her because she carried 1 shilling and twopence in her pocket.

The dead woman was soon identified as 26-year-old Rose Mylett, and the inquest to determine the cause of her death was held at Poplar Coroner’s Court before Wynne Edwin Baxter over two days, 2 and 9 January 1889. Much of the medical evidence given was suspect, to say the least.

Before the doctors were heard, other witnesses were called who supplied information about Rose’s movements on the night leading up to her death. Charles Ptolomay, an infirmary night attendant at the Poplar Union, told the court he had seen Rose talking to two sailors in Poplar High Street, not far from Clarke’s Yard. Ptolomay had been walking up England Row on his way to work at 7:55 P.M. on 19 December, and the sailors had seemed to be behaving suspiciously. At one point Ptolomay heard Rose cry out, "No, no, no!" which caused him to pay special attention to the two men. According to Ptolomay, the shorter of the two men was the one speaking to Rose. He was about 5 feet 7 inches tall. The taller one, who was 5 feet 11 inches or so, walked up and down while the other spoke in a low tone. This taller sailor looked like "a Yankee," according to Ptolomay. Finally, Ptolomay said he believed Rose to be sober at the time.

Rose had been seen again at 2:30 A.M. on the 20th by Alice Graves, and this time Rose seemed to well under the influence of drink. She was outside the George public house in Commercial Road, in the company of two men, but Graves was unable to supply any reliable descriptions apart from saying that they were sailors.

The postmortem had been carried out by Dr. Matthew Brownfield, who concluded that Rose had been strangled. His report stated, in part, "On the neck there was a mark, which had evidently been caused by cord drawn tightly around the neck, from the spine to the left ear. . . . There were also impressions of the thumbs and middle index fingers of some person plainly visible on each side of the neck."

Dr. Robert Anderson, the assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police CID, was not convinced by Dr. Brown-field’s report. For one thing, Brownfield had described how the killer must have positioned himself behind Rose in order to tighten the ligature around her neck, but the ground in the yard where she was found was soft and there were no other footprints or signs of a struggle. Furthermore, Brownfield’s original report stated that Rose had never given birth to any children, but her mother, who lived in Pelham Street near Baker’s Row, said Rose had been married to an upholsterer named Davis and that they had one child, a daughter, who was now aged seven. Finally, Dr. Brownfield stated that there was no sign of alcohol in Rose’s stomach, which conflicted with the evidence given by Alice Graves, who had seen her drunk outside the George. For these reasons Dr. Thomas Bond, the police surgeon to A Division, was called in to give his opinion.

At first it was Bond’s assistant, General Police Surgeon Alexander McKellar, who made the examination, but Bond later went to the mortuary himself. His report supported Brownfield’s conclusions, but, sent back by the police to take a second look, Bond finally concluded that death was owing to natural causes and that Rose Mylett had choked to death while drunk. The supposed marks of strangulation upon her neck were very faint and had probably been caused by her stiff velvet collar.

Coroner Baxter dismissed Bond’s evidence on the grounds that Bond had seen the body much later than the other medical gentlemen. As a result, with only Dr. Brownfield’s evidence to rely on, the jury returned a verdict of "Murder by some person or persons unknown."

Elizabeth Jackson Ca.

Tuesday, 4 June 1889

Details of parts of a body found in the river Thames suggest that they were discovered between 31 May and 25 June 1889. However, the death certificates give the dates as running from 4 to 10 June that year.

The body parts were wrapped in clothing, and some of these items bore a name tape that read "L. E. Fisher." However, the body parts were identified by means of old scars as belonging to Elizabeth Jackson, a prostitute who lived in Sloan Square. The crime was never seriously considered to be a Ripper murder.

Alice McKenzie

Wednesday, 17 July 1889

Police Sergeant Edward Badham had already had firsthand experience of Jack the Ripper’s handiwork, being the officer who had taken Annie Chapman’s body to the mortuary in September 1888. Now, on the night of 16-17 July almost a year later, he was busily checking on the beat officers under his control.

At 12:48 A.M. on 17 July Sergeant Badham encountered Constable Walter Andrews in Castle Alley, on the corner of Old Castle Street, close to the Three Crowns public house. The two officers exchanged a few words, with Badham assuring himself that all was well, and then parted. Sergeant Badham then walked up Castle Alley toward Went-worth Street while Constable Andrews walked in the opposite direction, down Castle Alley toward Whitechapel High Street. The narrow alleyway was obstructed by a few tradesmen’s carts and barrows, so it wasn’t until Andrews was almost upon two of those carts that he saw the body of a woman lying between them. Her throat had been cut, and blood still flowed from the wound. Her skirts had been turned up, exposing her abdomen, which appeared to have been mutilated, and Andrews had no doubt that he had found yet another Ripper victim. He bent down and tentatively touched the woman’s flesh. She was still quite warm, which indicated that the attack must have taken place very recently, possibly within the last minute or so. Perhaps the killer was still around.

At that moment Andrews heard footsteps farther up the alley in Old Castle Street. Ignoring standing orders that any officer finding a body should remain with it, Andrews gave chase, blowing his whistle to obtain assistance, and soon found a man carrying a dinner plate and heading toward Wentworth Street. Andrews stopped the man, who explained that he was Isaac Lewis Jacob of 12 New Castle Place and that he was on his way to McCarthy’s chandler’s shop to buy himself some supper. Quite correctly, Andrews insisted that Jacobs come back to the body with him until he could be questioned.

Andrews’s whistle had been heard by Sergeant Badham, who now ran back down Old Castle Street to find Andrews in Castle Alley, shouting, "Come on quick!" Continuing down Castle Alley, Badham saw the woman lying on the pavement near the two carts. She was on her back, and there was a good deal of blood under her head in the footway. Giving instructions to Andrews not to leave the body, the sergeant went to find other constables and in due course despatched Constable George Neve to search the area while Constable Joseph Allen was sent to fetch the doctor and the duty inspector from Commercial Street Police Station.

Dr. George Bagster Phillips arrived at Castle Alley at 1:10 A.M., by which time it was raining "sharply," according to his notes. He noted that the woman’s head was turned sharply to the right and that there was an incised wound in the left side of her neck. The woman’s clothing had been turned up to expose her genitals, and there was a wound in the abdomen, though there appeared to have been no attempt at disemboweling, as in the previous cases.

The spot where Alice McKenzie was murdered early on 17 July 1889

The spot where Alice McKenzie was murdered early on 17 July 1889

Detective Inspector Edmund Reid arrived on the scene soon afterward and ordered men to make inquiries at the lodging houses and coffee houses in the district to see if anyone had been in recently, possibly stained with blood. Once the doctor had finished his initial examination, the body was lifted onto the police ambulance for removal to the Whitechapel mortuary, and it was then that Reid noticed a clay smoking pipe and a bronze farthing that had lain beneath the body.

No time was wasted in opening the inquest on the dead woman, who had rapidly been identified as Alice McKenzie. The proceedings began on 17 July, the same day the body had been found, before Wynne Edwin Baxter at the Working Lad’s Institute on Whitechapel Road.

The first witness was John McCor-mack, also known as John Bryant, who had been living with Alice for the past six or seven years, most recently at a common lodging house at 52 Gun Street. He explained that he had come home from work at about 4 P.M. on 16 July and had given Alice 1 shilling and eightpence before going to bed to get some sleep. The eightpence had been to pay for their bed for the night, and the shilling was for Alice to buy some supplies.

Sometime between 10 and 11 P.M., McCormack had awakened and gone down to check whether Alice had paid for their bed. He was told that she had gone out without paying, but, fortunately, the lodging-house keeper had told him that he could be trusted for the money, so he had gone back to bed, finally rising at 5:45 A.M. on the 17th. McCormack admitted that he and Alice had argued on that last evening, which was perhaps why she had neglected to pay the eightpence to the lodging-house keeper. The only other information he could give was that he believed Alice had originally come from Peterborough, but he could not say whether she had ever been married or had any children.

The second witness was Elizabeth Ryder, who was also known as Betsy. She was the wife of the lodging-house keeper at 52 Gun Street and confirmed that John McCormack and Alice had lived at the house on and off for the past 12 months. She had last seen Alice when the other woman walked from the kitchen of the lodging house into the street at about 8:30 P.M. the night of the 16th. Later, around 11 P.M. or so, John McCormack had come down to ask whether Alice had paid the bed money, and Elizabeth had told him "No." Finally, Elizabeth confirmed that when they were not staying with her, McCor-mack and Alice usually stayed at Cross-ingham’s lodging house.

Constable Neve was then called to prove that Alice McKenzie had occasionally sold herself as a prostitute. Though others had denied that Alice earned any money by this method, Neve indicated that the police believed that she had and said he had seen her talking to men several times in Gun Street, Brick Lane, and Dorset Street.

The final witness on this first day was Sarah Smith, the manager of the Whitechapel Baths and Washhouses. The bath house was on Goulston Street but backed on to Castle Alley, and Sarah’s room was at the back, overlooking the spot where the body was found. She had gone to bed between 12:15 and 12:30 A.M. on the morning of 17 July and had then sat reading in bed for some time. Though her windows were closed, she was certain that she would have heard any cry for help from Alice. In the event, Sarah heard nothing until the policeman blew his whistle.

Before discussing the proceedings of the second day of the inquest, it is important to clear up the timetable and geography of this attack. Castle Alley ran from Whitechapel High Street to its junction with Old Castle Street. It was about 135 yards long, and there were three lamps in the alley itself. The first was on the left, about 23 yards from Whitechapel High Street. The second, which was close to where Alice McKenzie’s body was found, was also on the left but another 50 yards along the alley. The final lamp was at the right-angled bend where the alley joined Old Castle Street, opposite the Three Crowns public house, which backed onto the alley but fronted onto New Castle Street. Finally, there was a fourth lamp in New Castle Street, another 58 yards toward Wentworth Street.

At 12:15 A.M. on the 17th, Constable Allen had briefly stopped under the lamp where Alice’s body would later be found and enjoyed a brief bite of supper before continuing on his beat. Five minutes afterward, at 12:20 A.M., Constable Andrews entered Castle Alley from Whitechapel High Street on his regular beat. He was in the alley until about 12:23 A.M. and saw nothing suspicious. During his time there he saw Myer Jacobs, the landlord of the Three Crowns, shutting his establishment for the night.

Andrews’s beat took him along Old Castle Street into Wentworth Street and then right toward Commercial Street. He then turned down Goulston Street, then Middlesex Street, then went back along Wentworth Street and back down Old Castle Street, so it was 12:48 A.M. when he next walked down Castle Alley and found the body. The killer, whoever he was, may have heard the constable’s approach down Old Castle Street and made good his escape down Castle Alley and out into Whitechapel High Street.

The second day of the inquest was 19 July. After Inspector Reid had given details of finding the farthing and clay pipe and of the efforts his men had made to trace the miscreant, Dr. Phillips was called to give medical evidence. As with the hearing on Mary Kelly, few details were given beyond the statement that the immediate cause of death was blood loss due to the left carotid artery being severed. Phillips’s written report, however, gives more detail. Two jagged cuts in the throat, each 4 inches long, began on the left side behind the sterno mastoid muscle and finished above the larynx. The deeper cut had divided the left carotid artery and penetrated the vertebrae, but the larynx and windpipe were undamaged, meaning Alice could still have called out. These wounds were not typical of the Ripper, consisting, apparently, of stabs into the throat with the knife then being pulled forward and out.

There was a single long cut on the abdomen that began 7 inches below the right nipple and was deepest where it began. It was 7 inches long and was not quite straight, inclining first inward and then outward. On the right side of the abdomen were seven scratches that merely divided the skin, and there were seven similar scratches below the large cut and between it and the genitals. One of those cuts, on the mons veneris, was distinctly deeper than the others.

Bruises high on the chest indicated that the killer had held Alice down with one hand while he inflicted wounds upon her with the other. Dr. Phillips did not believe that the murder was the handiwork of the Whitechapel killer, but although he was not called to give evidence at the inquest, Dr. Bond had also examined the body, and he disagreed, saying that he clearly saw the Ripper’s hand in this crime.

Alice McKenzie lying in the mortuary. Her body was found in Castle Alley on the morning of 17 July 1889. She had been stabbed in the throat, and there were minor mutilations upon her abdomen. She was most likely Jack the Ripper's seventh and final victim.

Alice McKenzie lying in the mortuary. Her body was found in Castle Alley on the morning of 17 July 1889. She had been stabbed in the throat, and there were minor mutilations upon her abdomen. She was most likely Jack the Ripper’s seventh and final victim.

After Phillips had given his testimony, a prostitute named Margaret Cheeks was called. She too lodged at 52 Gun Street and had been missing on the night Alice McKenzie was murdered. At first it was believed that Margaret too had been killed and that this night might prove to be another double event like the killings of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes, but Margaret had been staying with her sister and was appearing simply to prove that she was still alive. She contributed nothing else to the inquest.

The final witness was Margaret Franklin, who had been a friend of Alice. She had known Alice for 14 or 15 years and had been sitting on the step of a barber’s shop at the Brick Lane end of Flower and Dean Street, along with Catherine Hughes and Sarah Mahoney, at 11:40 P.M. on 16 July. Alice passed them, heading toward Whitechapel and Margaret asked her how she was getting on. Alice replied, "All right. I can’t stop now," and then walked on. She did not appear to have been drinking.

The inquest was adjourned once more, until 14 August, when the usual verdict was returned. Little else could be discovered beyond the fact that Alice had gone drinking that night with a blind boy named George Dixon. They had gone to a pub near the Cambridge Music Hall at about 7:10 P.M., and during the evening George had heard Alice asking someone to buy her a drink. The man had replied, "Yes," and a few minutes afterward Alice had escorted George back to the lodging house at 52 Gun Street, left him there, and gone back out alone.

There was also an arrest that at first looked very promising. A man named William Wallace Brodie gave himself up to the police, admitted to being the Whitechapel killer, and said that his latest crime, the murder of Alice McKenzie, bothered him. It was soon shown that Brodie, who is discussed further in the "Suspects" section, could not have been the killer and was almost certainly insane.

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