By Miss Boughey

Charles Cross walked through Whitechapel just before four in the morning in August 1888. The street was dark and looked deserted. It was chilly and damp, typical for London in the summer. He saw something that looked like tarpaulin lying on the ground before the entrance to a stable. He walked closer, and saw a woman lying on her back, skirts lifted almost to her waist. He saw another man walking the same way. "Come and look over here," he asked the man, assuming that the woman was drunk or a victim of an assault. They tried to help her in the darkened street, neither saw the awful wounds that had nearly decapitated her. They fixed her skirt for modesty's sake and went to look for a policeman.

Victim One

A few minutes later, Police Constable John Neil found the body whilst walking his beat. From the light of his lantern, he saw that blood was oozing from her throat which had been slashed from ear to ear. Her eyes were wide open. Even though her hands and wrists were cold, Neil felt warmth in her arms. The wounds to the victim’s throat had been fatal. Since parts of her body were still warm, a local doctor felt she had been dead no longer than half-hour. Her neck had been slashed twice, cutting through her windpipe. She had been killed where she was found, but there was very little blood on the ground. Most of the lost blood had soaked into her clothing. The body was taken to the local mortuary, which was part of the workhouse there. When the body was stripped, Inspector Spratling discovered that her abdomen had been mutilated.

There were no identifying marks on the body. The victim was approximately five feet two inches tall with brown hair, brown eyes and several missing front teeth. As news of the murder spread around Whitechapel, the police learned of a woman named "Polly," who lived in a local lodging house. Eventually a woman from the Lambeth Workhouse identified the victim as Mary Ann Nichols, age 42. The next day her family identified the body. Polly had been a heavy drinker. Mostly, Polly had been living off her small earnings as a prostitute. Every once in awhile, she would try to get her life back together, but it never worked out. She was a sad, destitute woman, but one that most people liked and pitied. Her death upset many people.

Annie Chapman, age 47, was seen as a pathetic woman. She lived at common lodging houses when she had the money and roamed the streets looking for ways to earn a little money for shelter and drink. Eventually Annie turned to prostitution, despite her plain features, missing teeth, and plump figure. Just before two in the morning on Saturday, September 8, a slightly drunken Annie was turned out of her lodging house to earn money for her bed. Later, she was found dead several hundred yards away in the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields.

The body was lying in the yard on her back. The left arm was across the left breast, legs were drawn up, feet resting on the ground, and knees turned outwards. The face was swollen, and the tongue stuck out between the front teeth, it was much swollen. The small intestines were lying on the ground on the right side of the body but were still attached. There was lots of blood with part of the stomach. The body was cold, except for some heat under the intestines. Rigor Mortis was starting. The throat was cut deeply. The cut was jagged, and reached right round the neck. Newspapers worsened the obvious fear and anger of the people in London, feeding on every rumour and story. Two unsolved murders left the busy streets quiet and virtually deserted at night.

Louis Diemschutz was driving his cart to Dutfield Yard in Whitechapel on Sunday, September 30, 1888. As he did so, he saw an object on the ground near the wall of a building. He lit a match and saw it was a woman. He rushed into a nearby building and asked a man for help. When they saw that the object was a woman with a stream of blood running from her body, the two men ran screaming for a policeman. The police arrived and discovered that her neck was warm, as were the legs and face. The hands were cold. The right hand was open on the chest and smeared with blood. The left hand was lying on the ground. The face was peaceful. The mouth was slightly open. In the neck there was a long cut which started on the left side below the angle of the jaw, and almost in a direct line with it, severing the vessels on that side, cutting the windpipe completely in two, and stopping on the opposite side.

While the police were coping with yet another murder, a most extraordinary thing happened less than a mile away in Mitre Square. At night, when the businesses were closed, Mitre Square became a dark and somewhat secluded area. The Square was on the beat of Police Constable Watkins. He had been through the square at 1:30 and all was quiet. He came around 14 minutes later, just 45 minutes after the discovery of the first body. When he shined his lantern in one corner of the square, he made a horrible discovery. He described it to the coroner a few days later: I saw the body of a woman lying on her back with her feet facing the square, her clothes up above her waist. I saw her throat was cut and her bowels protruding. The stomach was ripped up. She was lying in a pool of blood. This was to be Jack’s fourth victim!

While the police were coping with yet another Whitechapel murder, an extraordinary thing happened not far away in Mitre Square. It was generally a respectable area surrounded by commercial buildings and warehouses, with very few residences. At night, when the businesses were closed, Mitre Square became a dark and somewhat secluded area. Mitre Square was on the beat of Police Constable Edward Watkins. He had been through the square at 1:30 and all was quiet. He came around again at 1:44 a.m. Again, it was quiet and deserted. When he shined his lantern in one corner of the square, he made a horrible discovery. The body of a woman lying on her back with her feet facing the square, her clothes up above her waist. The throat was cut and her bowels protruding. The stomach was ripped up. She was lying in a pool of blood."

A constable found a piece of a bloody apron lying in the entrance to a building in Goulston Street. There was also a message written in chalk.

How this murderer was able to accomplish two such murders in such a short time, particularly with the mutilations of the second victim, without being seen by the police or anybody and then, when the area was in a heightened state of alarm, and create the chalk writing on the archway is nothing short of amazing. In one night both Elizabeth Stride and Catharine Eddowes had lost their lives. Both were women of the street.

25 Sept: 1888 Dear Boss Hundreds of letters police have caught were sent to the fix me I keep on hearing thefrom the murderer me but they wontpolice, news agencies laughed when they look so clever and talk about just yet. I haveand people linked with solving the crime. Only three of these letters were believed. Two, in particular, which being on the right track. That joke about Leather Apron gave me are fits. I am the on whores and shant quit ripping them till real written bydownsame individual,Iactually created the name I do "Jack the Ripper." The the last job was. I in red ink, gave time get buckled. Grand worktwo letters, writtengave the lady no the to murderer his name. catch received love my work and want to start squeal. How can theyIt was me now. Iby Central News on September 27, 1888 and was with my funny little games. I saved again. You will soon hear of meaddressed to The Boss. some proper red stuff in a ginger beer bottle over the last job to write with but it went thick like glue and I cant use it. Red ink is fit enough I hope ha. ha. The next job I do I shall clip. The lady's ears off and send to the Police officers just for jolly wouldn't you. Keep this letter back till I do a bit more work then give it out straight. My knife's so nice and sharp I want to get to work right away if I get a chance. Good luck. Yours truly Jack the Ripper

By October things were returning to normal in Whitechapel. With no murders for a month women began to ply their trade in force. One such woman was a good-looking young Irish girl by the name of Mary Kelly. Police officer Walter Dew knew her by sight. "She was usually in the company of two or three of her kind, fairly neatly dressed and invariably wearing a clean white apron, but no hat.“ Mary had a lot on her mind at the beginning of November. She was several weeks behind in her rent and her lover, was unemployed. She rented a first floor room in Miller's Court in the back of Dorset Street. On Friday November 9th Mary’s landlord, sent his assistant to see if he could collect any rent from her. When his knock went unanswered, he reached inside the window and pulled aside the curtain.

He wasn't sure what he saw, but it caused him to run back to McCarthy. McCarthy looked through the window and was so horrified that he sent for the police. Soon the police surgeon was there. They opened the door to a small room with almost no furniture. Mary's body, lay sprawled on the bed. The cause of death was the cutting of the artery in the throat. The horrendous mutilation of this last Ripper murder was done after her death. There was an agreement that the same monster who killed the other four women murdered Mary Kelly. All of women were murdered with "a very sharp, strong knife about an inch in width and at least six inches long."

Michael Ostrog, a Russian doctor, and convict, who was held in a lunatic asylum as a homicidal maniac. Hiis whereabouts at the time of the murders could never be discovered.

A Mr. Druitt, was a doctor in a good family, who disappeared at the time of the Miller's Court murder, & whose body was found in the Thames on 31st December.

In 1992  Michael Barrett, from Liverpool, found a diary reputedly written by James Maybrick who died in 1889.  In this diary, Maybrick confessed to being Jack the Ripper.

A well known theory is that Prince Edward was the Ripper because he liked to slum it in the East End and he had the influence to cover up murders