Jack the Ripper - a truck driver?
In 1888 there were a series of brutal crimes that took place in the dark, foggy, narrow and impoverished streets of Whitechapel, London. The serial killer associated with these crimes was nicknamed ‘Jack the Ripper’.
Jack the Ripper preyed on his victims from 1888 – 1891, although there have been claims that he may have killed more women previously.
Victorian East London was poor and overcrowded with an immigrant population of Irish and Jewish people. The area was renowned for its high crime rate of robbery, prostitution and murder.
Due to the high numbers of crime in the area it was difficult to identify and catch criminals especially when it came to serial killers.
The ‘Ripper’ victims were famously known as the ‘Canonical Five’ and due to the nature of the brutal murders were all associated with Jack the Ripper.
Initially it was thought that the murderer was from a medical background or worked in a slaughter house. Surgeons, Physicians, Butchers and Slaughterhouse workers were interviewed in the hope that some light may be shed on the killer. However, Thomas Bond, Police Surgeon did not believe the killer had any scientific of anatomical knowledge, thus ruling out this theory.
Due to close proximity of the Docklands and its transient population there was some belief that a Docker could be responsible. This theory was later dismissed.
Each victim has her throat slit and some of the abdominal contents removed including heart and kidneys in some cases.
The murders all took place close to the weekend in the early hours of the dark mornings towards the end of the month.
Who were the victims?
The victims were all female prostitutes working in the Whitechapel area.
Mary Ann Nicholls
Who was Jack the Ripper?
The Telegraph, United Kingdom (September 9th 2012) published a list of possible suspects.
Duke of Clarence – Prince Albert Victor Christian Edward. One of Queen Victoria’s grandsons. Who was reported to be ‘headless, aimless with a mean streak’ he apparently had syphilis and died in an asylum in 1892.
Joseph Barnett - a fish porter at the famous Billingsgate fish market. He allegedly knew the last suspect Mary-Jane Kelly and was supposed to be in love with her. The story goes: in order to keep her off the dangerous streets of Whitechapel he killed the prostitutes to scare her and when this failed he finally turned on her.
Alfred Napier Blanchard – a drunk who reportedly went on a 3 day drinking binge staggered into Bishopsgate Police Station owning up to the crimes.
W.H.Bury – this individual was hung in 1889 for the murder of his wife whom was also stabbed in the stomach.
David Cohen – admitted to an asylum with mental health problems associated with violent behaviour. The murders stopped shortly after his death.
Dr T. Neill Cream – A Scottish abortionist and lady killer who poisoned his victims. His last words before being hung were supposed to be ‘I am Jack’, however, the killings continued after his death.
Frederick Deeming – murdered his 2 wives and children in a similar style to Jack the Ripper and reportedly informed his Sailor colleagues he was the ‘Ripper’.
Montague John Druitt – A Boarding School Teacher, with homosexual tendencies, distraught at the death of his father. His mother had mental health problems and Montague’s body was found in the Thames.
Michael Ostrog – had several identities and was labelled as a mad homicidal Doctor – but was probably just a petty thief.
Lewis Carroll – Apparently made some claim to being the killer in a private diary.
What the experts say?
(September 9th 2012) Docklands and East London Advertiser,
London’s leading Ripperology organisation (The Whitechapel Society) bring together six social historians and criminologist to discuss the link between social history, crime, and poverty in the East End of London at the time the Ripper murders were committed
There has been renewed speculation about the identity of the Ripper with experts Christopher Holmgren and Edward Stow claiming he was a Pickford’s cart-driver named Charles Lechmere. He was found at the scene of the first murder in Bucks Row but told the Police that he found Mary Nicholls body at 3.45am on the way to work. He lived close by and gave a false name. All the murders took place on route between his Whitechapel home and City depot.
He may also have committed earlier murders not linked to the Ripper.
The Hand of a Woman?
Author John Morris puts forward a case in his book that the Ripper was actually a woman. This woman is named as Royal Gynaecologist’s wife, Lizzie Williams, her husband once believed to be a suspect.
His claim is somewhat backed up by Australian scientist Dr Finlay who has examined evidence at the National Archives, London in regards to the case. Although inconclusive, he reports that the killer may possibly have been a woman.
And so the mystery of these brutal killings continues. With no conclusive evidence, speculation, debate and controversy will continue to surround this mysterious individual.
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