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Unmasking Jack the Ripper
"Perhaps the best Jack the Ripper documentary produced in recent years." North American and European DVD formats both available.
Buy now!

So Long, Liz: Was Elizabeth Stride a True Ripper Victim?
by Scott Hannaford

"Long" Liz Stride was murdered at between 1250 and 1255am on 30th September 1888 in Dutfields Yard , Berners Street, Whitechapel. Her body was discovered by Louis Diemschutz as he drove his horse and cart into the yard. Diemschutz believed that the death was very recent, and it does seem that he missed the murderer by a matter of seconds. It is possible, as Diemschutz believed, that the killer may have been hiding in the shadows of the yard and escaped whilst Diemschutz went to the International Workingmen's Educational Club to get help.

Stride's throat had been cut, but there were no extra mutilations. The police believed that this had been because the killer had been interrupted by Diemschutz and had been unable to carry out his handiwork. Frustrated the killer then fled, or at least slowly walked (so as not to seem suspicious) to Mitre Square where he killed Catherine Eddowes to satisfy his mort-lust.

The police automatically assumed that Jack the Ripper had performed a 'double-event' that fateful night. Despite the lack of mutilations, Wynne Baxter (coroner) suggested that the killer of Liz Stride was the same man as had killed Nichols and Chapman. Newspapers of the period concurred with the opinions of Abberline, Anderson, Macnaughten, Smith and Swanson that Stride was a Ripper victim.

It must be wondered why these excellent officers were so certain of this fact. In his notes on the Whitechapel Murders, Macnaughten rightly dismisses the Pinchin Street Torso as not being the work of the Ripper, saying that if it had not been for the timing of the killing (ie during the Ripper scare period), the Pinchin murder would have never been attributed to a serial killer. The same could have been said of the Stride killing. If it had happened before Tabram or after Kelly, and not the same night as Eddowes, Stride would not have been considered a true Ripper Victim.

Whilst so many officers believed that Stride was a victim of Jack The Ripper, Dr Phillips provided information to the contrary. He stated that there was a great dissimilarity between the deaths of Stride and Chapman. Unlike Chapman Stride had not been strangled prior to having her throat cut. Furthermore a long knife had been used to murder Tabram, Nichols, Chapman, Eddowes and Kelly whilst a short round knife had killed Stride.

These are really two minor indiscrepancies which could be explained by a change in MO. However there is one major point that can not be changed which almost certainly proves that Stride's killer was not Jack the Ripper. It is quite clear that the police believed Jack the Ripper to be LEFT HANDED, and this is clearly correct, yet by looking at the autopsy/inquest report on Stride there is a very strong case for her murderer being RIGHT HANDED.

Whilst Dr Phillips did not categorically state this, I believe that his description of the body, the position of the killer and the angle of the throat injury clearly show the killer to be right handed.

Phillips' post-mortem details that Stride was lying flat on her back when her throat was slit from her left Carotid Artery, across her windpipe, finishing just to the right of her Adam's Apple. Phillips then said that the killer would have been on the left of the prone body when doing this, ie on the left when facing the body, therefore the killer was on his left but closest to Stride's right side (therefore clear of the flow of blood from the opposite side of Stride's body).

We can therefore assume that the killers right arm was closer to the body than his left, and we can make an educated assumption that the killer would position himself so that the hand closest to the body would hold the knife whilst the free hand would have held Stride down.

There was a small abrasion about one and a half inch circular on Stride's right jaw, and this was probably an impression left by the thumb of the killers left hend which would have been clamped over Stride's mouth to prevent her screaming. If the left hand was used to do this then the thumb would have sat on the jaw whilst the palm of the hand would have covered her mouth and the fingers could have gripped the chin.

With the killer kneeling to the left of the body (ie Stride's right side) and his left hand gripping the head, a right handed killer would have used the knife by dragging it towards himself. This would have dragged the knife from the left of Stride's throat across her windpipe, just as stated by Dr Phillips.

Surely it must now be accepted that:

i Stride was flat on her back, face upwards when killed

ii the killer was to the left of the prone body, ie on Stride's rightside (hence the flow of blood would have been away from the killer)

iii her face was held in the left hand (as supported by the thumb impression on the right jaw

iv the weapon was held in the right hand

This all points to the fact that her assailant was right handed whereas Jack the Ripper was clearly left handed. It has been suggested that Jack the Ripper was an ambidexter, however there is no real evidence to support this theory - whilst most ambidexters can hold with both hands, they still generally favour one or the other, leading to one hand being stronger than the other, and it must be asked if an ambidexter's weaker hand would have had enough strength to cut through Stride's cartiliganious wind pipe. Dr Phillips did not describe the cut as being ragged, so we can assume that the hand used was very strong, and therefore not an ambidexter.

Apart from the fact that Stride's killer was right handed, there are other factors that point to him as not being the person responsible for the other five murders.

The scene of Stride's murder simply does not fit a typical Ripper murder site. Dutfields Yard was well illuminated by the windows of the International Workingmen's Educational Club, and is so different to the other sites used by the Ripper:

Stride; Dutfields Yard; well lit, close to a very busy club

Tabram; George Yard; a dark shadowy landing away from the stairs

Nichols; Bucks Row; a poorly lit quiet street with few pedestrians

Chapman; Hanbury Street; a quiet dark backyard

Eddowes; Mitre Square; dark enclosed sqaure with dark entrances

Kelly; Millers Court; a single room in a quiet court off Dorset St.

Stride's murder site was well lit and close to a busy drinking club, whereas the other murder sites were in locations where the Ripper knew he would not be interrupted.

If, as now seems likely, Stride was not killed by Jack the Ripper but by a righthanded assailant, then we must wonder who the other murderer stalking Whitechapel was. Two names have been suggested as most likely: (i) Michael Kidney and (ii) the Anderson Suspect. as the most plausable.

(i) Kidney: in 'Jack the Myth' A.P. Wolf suggested Stride's living companion as her killer noting that a high percentage of murders are domestic affairs. There is some evidence supporting this theory, although Wolf wrote that Kidney was NOT the Ripper, and only responsible for one murder.

On the night of her death both PC Smith and Israel Schwartz saw Liz Stride. Smith saw her with a man and described them as acting like two lovers, and people who saw Stride earlier in the evening had remarked that she had put more into her appearance than usual.

The man seen with Stride by Israel Schwartz was not the same man as seen by Smith, but was undoubtedly her killer. Schwartz saw the start of the attack on Stride but fled in fear. It could be argued that the man seen by Smith was a Gentleman-friend and that the assailant seen by Schwartz was a jealous Michael Kidney who killed Stride in an act of revenge.

Kidney may have already been angry with Stride that evening- he had frequently tried to padlock her into their room (to stop her from leaving him), and he had told the police that he had expected to come home that night to find her locked in the room. However Stride had a key (it was found on her body by Dr Phillips) and was able to let herself in or out. Possibly Kidney came home early in a drunken stupor, found that she was out, caught her with her lover and then murdered her.

This is all conjecture, but the most incriminating point against Kidney was that on the morning of the murder he arrived at Leman Street Police station "in a drunken condition... ranting and raving" about Stride's death and the inabilities of the Police. Stride's body had been identified INCORRECTLY as 'Lizzie Stokes' and not as Stride, and was not correctly identified until much later. So how did Kidney know that the dead woman was Liz Stride when all the world had been told it was Liz Stokes? Kidney later told the inquest that Stride spent a lot of time separated from him, so he should not have been surprised or anxious about her disappearance.

However, all this considered, Kidney was interviewed by the police and we must assume that they were happy with him.

(ii) The Anderson Suspect

There are three names which are constantly suggested to have been the Anderson Witness: Jospeh Lawende, Joseph Hyam Levy and Israel Schwartz. Of these three Lawende gave a fairly good description of a man seen with Eddowes but stated that he would not be able to recognise the man again, whilst his companion, Levy, said that he saw even less. Schwartz was different; he gave a very good description of Liz Stride's attacker, and Scotland Yard file MEPO 3/140 207 suggests that the information given by Schwartz gave the police a leading suspect.

If, as now seems likely, Israel Schwartz was Anderson's Witness then we can assume that Anderson's Suspect was believed to have been Stride's assailant. Exactly who Anderson's was is still a matter of debate. Swanson claimed that it was Aaron Kosminski, yet the details provided by Swanson himself do not fit Kosminski and it may be that Swanson was referring to AARON Cohen aka Nathan KAMINSKY, as suggested by Martin Fido.

Whoever Anderson's Suspect was, be it Kosminski, Kaminsky or Cohen, the 'identification' at the Police Convalescent Home (almost certainly by Schwartz) suggests that he may have killed Stride but not the other victims.

Who Stride's killer was is open to attack, and the above are merely my main suspects from a long list of equally plausible characters. However what is not open to attack is my conclusion that Stride's right-handed assailant was not the left-handed Jack the Ripper.

Scott Hannaford
BA Undergraduate in History
Worcester College England


Related pages:
  Elizabeth Stride
       Home: Timeline - Elizabeth Stride 
       Dissertations: Anything But Your Prayers: Victims and Witnesses on the N... 
       Dissertations: Blackwells Testimony An Estimation of How Stride Was Ly... 
       Dissertations: Double Trouble: Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes 
       Dissertations: Elisabeth Gustafsdotters Last Stride 
       Dissertations: Elizabeth Stride: Her Killer and Time of Death 
       Dissertations: Piecing it Together - A Possible Scenario of the Death of... 
       Dissertations: Reinvestigating Murder: How Did Long Liz Die? 
       Dissertations: Reinvestigating Murder: The Mystery of the Knife 
       Dissertations: The Identification of Liz Stride 
       Message Boards: Elizabeth Stride 
       Official Documents: Berner Street - Census Listings 
       Official Documents: Elizabeth Stride's Inquest 
       Press Reports: Alderley and Wilmslow Advertiser - 26 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Atchison Daily Globe - 3 October 1888 
       Press Reports: British Daily Whig - 1 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 1 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 2 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 24 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 3 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 4 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 6 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 8 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 2 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 24 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 3 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 4 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 6 October 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Advertiser - 13 October 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Advertiser - 27 October 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Advertiser - 6 October 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Observer - 6 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Eastern Post - 27 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 1 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 2 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 23 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 3 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 5 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 8 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 1 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 3 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 4 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 6 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 8 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 9 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Standard - 1 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Frederick News - 2 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Freemans Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser - 1 Octo... 
       Press Reports: Freemans Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser - 2 Octo... 
       Press Reports: Freemans Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser - 3 Octo... 
       Press Reports: Freemans Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser - 4 Octo... 
       Press Reports: Freemans Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser - 5 Octo... 
       Press Reports: Freemans Journal and Daily Commercial Advertiser - 6 Octo... 
       Press Reports: Illustrated Police News - 6 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Irish Times - 1 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Irish Times - 2 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Irish Times - 3 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Irish Times - 4 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Irish Times - 6 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Lloyds Weekly News - 30 September 1888 
       Press Reports: London Evening News - 1 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Macclesfield Courier and Herald - 27 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Macclesfield Courier and Herald - 6 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Manchester Guardian - 6 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Manitoba Daily Free Press - 1 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Montreal Daily Star - 1 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Montreal Daily Star - 3 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 1 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 10 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 2 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 24 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 3 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 4 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 6 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 8 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Munster News - 3 October 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 1 October 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Tribune - 03 October 1888 
       Press Reports: North Eastern Daily Gazette - 1 October 1888 
       Press Reports: North Eastern Daily Gazette - 3 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 01 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 03 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Penny Illustrated Paper - 27 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Penny Illustrated Paper - 6 October 1888 
       Press Reports: People - 14 October 1888 
       Press Reports: People - 28 October 1888 
       Press Reports: People - 7 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Police Gazette - 19 October 1888 
       Press Reports: St. James Gazette - 1 October 1888 
       Press Reports: St. James Gazette - 3 October 1888 
       Press Reports: St. James Gazette - 4 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 1 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 6 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 1 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 2 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 24 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 3 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 4 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 6 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 9 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Weekly Herald - 5 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Woodford Times - 5 October 1888 
       Ripper Media: Jack the Rippers Tredje Offer 
       Victims: Elizabeth Stride 
       Victorian London: Berner Street 
       Witnesses: Dr. Frederick William Blackwell 
       Witnesses: J. Best and John Gardner 
       Witnesses: James Brown 
       Witnesses: Thomas Bates