- Politics and Social Issues
The Fiend of London: Jack the Ripper--PART 3
Continued from Part 2
...must have been murdered only a few minutes before he arrived.
Just as Elizabeth Stride sank dying to the pavement , Catherine Eddowes was released from a cell in Bishops gate Police Station, where she had been locked up for drunkenness. The police would have kept her there until morning, but they needed all the accommodation at their disposal for the rowdies and pickpockets who were being brought to the station in droves at that time. Ecldowes had been taken in charge earlier in the evening, and at 1:am. it was thought she had sobered up sufficiently to be discharged.
So, with a word of admonition, the wretched woman was turned out on the streets—to her death.
The Ripper must have spoken to her a few minutes after leaving Stride and turning west along the Commercial Road towards the City. Together they made their way towards Mitre Square, at the center of a maze of alleys behind LeadenHall Street. From Mitre Square, a dark little byway known as Church Passage leads into Duke Street.
They were half-way down Church Passage, when the Ripper heard the heavy tread of a policeman entering it from Mitre Square. Pressing his hand over Catherine’s mouth, the Ripper cowered against the wall with her, as Police Constable Wilkins brushed past them at exactly 1.30 a.m. on his beat round Aldgate.
Two minutes later , Catherine Eddowes was lying dead in Mitre Square. Twenty yards away, a caretaker was sitting at the open door of the warehouse, looking towards the scene
of the crime.
But because of the darkness he could not see what was happening, and the Ripper must have worked quietly, for the watchman heard nothing.
For another live minutes the Ripper cut open the body of his victim, which was found only eight minutes later by P.C. Watkins. " The deed of blood has been the work of a practiced hand," commented The Times, in a leading article on the murders.
“The body (of Eddowes) bore clear proof cf anatomical skill In the case of Stride, the Ripper had been disturbed before he could complete the usual mutilation."
The Home Secretary (Mr. Matthews], in spite of a wide-spread press campaign, refused to offer a penny reward for the capture of the Ripper. The City Corporation, however, promised 300 pounds to his apprehender, and Mr. Henry Marks offered a further 300 pounds. One newspaper urged that rubbers should be fitted to the heels of all policemen's boots in future, so that they could steal upon the Ripper unawares.
The day after the double murder, the Central News Agency received a post card smeared with dirty blood and signed “Jack the Ripper," in the same handwriting as the letter sent a few days earlier.
" I was not codding, dear old Boss," it read, " when I gave you the tip. You’ll hear about Saucy _]acky;` to-morrow. Double event this time. Number one squealed a bit; couldn’t finish straight off. Had no time to get ears for police. Thanks for keeping last letter back till I got to work again.”
The letter and post card sent to a news agency are now among the prize exhibits of the Black Museum at Scotland Yard, though the police authorities have never admitted a belief that they were actually written by the murderer.
The opinion of most crime experts nowadays is that they are the work of` a practical joker. At the time, however, they were widely accepted as authentic, and an Austrian sailor was detained at Newcastle-on-Tyne, but later released, because the articles he signed for a steamer bound for a French port were in at somewhat similar hand.
The terror that had spread through London was now at its height. The Star of October 3rd voiced the general feeling when it referred to " the awe-stricken dread roused in every one by this mysterious being who strikes and vanishes,
the absolute powerlessness of the police, and the impotency of heavy rewards.”
The panic had even traveled abroad.
The police authorities of France, Germany and Italy were cooperating with Scotland Yard in the hunt for the Ripper, and all the main ports were being watched, chiefly because it was thought he might be a sailor or business man who kept returning to England to commit the murders.
The Chief` of` the New York Police, on a visit to London, stated that a similar series of murders had been committed in Texas. immediately, every American in London became suspect, and many were arrested.
One, who spoke to a woman in Piccadilly and threatened to “ rip her up " was rescued just in time by the police from the fury of the crowd. Someone reported to the police that on the night of the double murder a mysterious stranger, who behaved very queerly, had been seen in Spitalfields carrying a shiny black bag. This started a new scare so terrifying that all men carrying such bags which were made of American cloth and were very popular until the Ripper drove them right out of fashion-—were chased by howling mobs and invariably ended up in the police stations.
Rushing into King Street Police Station late in the evening of October 16th, a man complained that he had been robbed of his black bag. He rambled on about the murders, boasted that he had studied for the medical profession, and finally threatened to cut the sergeant's head off. He was arrested, and later certified as a dangerous homicidal lunatic.
More and more police and plain-clothes men were meanwhile being drafted into the East End. And as if waiting until the excitement and anxiety should reach fever pitch, the Ripper delayed a whole five weeks after the “ double event ” before he staged the grand finale of his butcheries———the grimmest, savagest and boldest of them all.
Unlike the other victims, who were all middle—aged, sodden drabs, the lowest and most pitiable wrecks of slum vice, Marie Jeannette Kelly was only twenty-four years old and still fairly attractive.
She was envied by her less fortunate Sisterhood because, in that district of teeming human warrens, she actually possessed a room to herself. But it happened to be in the heart of the stricken area, at the back of the ground floor of a house in Dorset Street, only a few minutes’ walk from Hanbury Street, where Annie Chapman had-been murdered by the Ripper.
On the evening of November Bth, Marie went from one public—house to another in the neighborhood of her home.
At a quarter of an hour before midnight, she was seen talking with “ a short, stout man, shabbily dressed, carrying a can of beer."
And just after midnight, Marie, leaning against a wall, appeared so drunk that she attracted the notice of several passers-by.
A dark passage led from Dorset Street into a yard on to which faced the window of Marie’s room. Neighbors living in other rooms whose windows faced the yard heard Marie in her room at 1 a.m. singing "Sweet Violets.”
At 3.10 a.m., one of them, Mary Cox, was awakened by the cry of “ Murder."
It sounded like Marie’s voice.
She got up, looked through her window across the yard, but could see no light in Marie’s room.
As such disturbances were only too common in Dorset Street, and its vicinity, she thought nothing more of it and went back to bed.
She woke again just after 6 a.m. on hearing in the courtyard the steps of a man, but decided it was the policeman on his rounds.
Marie had been in arrears with her rent, and at quartenpast ten that morning the landlord sent a man to her room to collect the money. What he saw there sent him wild-eyed and almost hysterical with fear in search of the nearest policeman.
When the police officials entered the room, accompanied by Dr. G. B. Chapman, who had previously examined the corpse of Annie Chapman, they saw the body of Marie Kelly stretched naked on the bed, with the head almost severed, and the nose and ears cut off.
The body had been opened, and most of the internal organs removed, though none had been taken away, as in the other murders——-excepting that of Stride.
On the pillow, beside the head of the dead woman, lay her heart. Policemen waited for hours in Dorset Street for Sir Charles Warren’s pack of bloodhounds to arrive. But they never came. A few hours before the Ripper killed Marie Kelly, the Chief Commissioner was handing his resignation to the Home Secretary, though this was not made public until the following week. Dr. Phillips declared that the dissection of Marie’s body...