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 A Ripperologist Article 
This article originally appeared in Ripperologist No. 4, December 1995. Ripperologist is the most respected Ripper periodical on the market and has garnered our highest recommendation for serious students of the case. For more information, view our Ripperologist page. Our thanks to the editor of Ripperologist for permission to reprint this article.
What Happened at Miller's Court?
By Nick Connell

The circumstances surrounding the death of Jack the Ripper's final victim Mary Jane Kelly are almost as mysterious as the story of her life. Several witnesses made the attestation that they heard a cry of "murder" from the direction of Kelly's room (13 Miller's Court) shortly before 4 a.m. The findings of the post mortem indicated that death occurred before 8 a.m. but there were three sightings of Kelly after 8 a.m.

At Kelly's inquest Caroline Maxwell, the wife of a lodging house deputy from Dorset Street, claimed to have seen Kelly in Miller's Court at 8.30 a.m. where the following conversation took place:

Maxwell - What brings you up so early?

Kelly - I have the horrors of drink upon me, as I have been drinking for some days past.

Maxwell - Why don't you go to the Ringers and have a half pint of beer?

Kelly - I have been there and had it, but I have brought it all up again (pointing to a pool of vomit).

Maxwell - I pity the feeling.

Maxwell further claimed to have seen Kelly at about 8.45 a.m. outside the Ringers (The Britannia) talking to a man who looked like a market porter. He was "a short man, dressed in dark clothes, and wearing a sort of plaid coat." (The Herts and Cambs reporter of 16.11.1888 named the man as Joe Barnet.)

Maurice Lewis, a tailor who lived in Dorset Street, claimed to have seen Kelly leave her room at around 8 a.m. only to return shortly afterwards (Lewis was possibly the unnamed witness reported in the Hertfordshire Mercury of 10.11.1888 who said that Kelly had left her room at 8 a.m. to buy some milk), and again at around 10 a.m. in the Ringers. An anonymous witness informed the police that she had definitely seen Kelly between 8 and 8.45 a.m.

Both Caroline Maxwell and Maurice Lewis appeared to have made their statements in earnest as to having seen Kelly alive after 8 a.m. on Friday 9th November. The possibility of Maxwell being mistaken as to the date when she saw Kelly was eliminated by the shopkeeper who had sold her milk after she had spoken to Kelly, (although he made no mention of Kelly buying milk as the witness claimed).

The course of events is complicated by subsequent press reports that, although self-admittedly unconfirmed, tell a remarkable story. The Herts. and Cambs. reporter on 16.11. gives the following details of the events of the 8th/9th November:

"She had a little boy, aged about six or seven years, living with her, and latterly her circumstances had been so reduced that she is reported to have stated to a companion that she would make away with herself, as she could not bear to see her boy starving ....a man who is described as respectably dressed, came up and spoke to the murdered woman Kelly and offered her some money. The man accompanied the woman to her lodgings, which are on the second floor, the little boy being sent to a neighbour's house. Nothing more was seen of the woman. On Friday morning, it is stated, the little boy was sent back into the house, and the report goes that he was sent out subsequently on an errand by the man who was in the house with his mother. Confirmation of this statement is, it is true, difficult to obtain, and it remains in doubt whether anyone really saw the unfortunate woman on the morning of the discovery."

The Hertfordshire Mercury on the 10.11 also suggests that there was someone else in Kelly's room, but "there is no evidence as to who was in the house with her."

The Herts. Advertiser & St. Albans Times on 10.11 describes Kelly's son as around 10-11 years of age and adds: "The story of the crime current among the neighbours is that this morning - what time cannot at present be ascertained, but at any rate after daylight - she took a man home to her own room, presumably for an immoral purpose."

The report also adds another name to the equation. Mrs Hewitt of 25 Dorset Street "stated that a man - a drover - called on her some time ago. He asked her if a summons came in the name of Lawrence to accept it. This man Lawrence, she says, she believes lived with the dead woman. He was off and on in London, sometimes being absent for five or six weeks."

Two stop press reports of the Kelly murder offer tentative solutions as to the circumstances of her death. The Bristol Mercury (12.10) reports that, "seeing that it was contrary to Kelly's custom to take strangers to her room, it is believed that her destroyer offered some exceptional inducement." And the Eastern Post (10.11) suggests, "the cause of the dreadful crime was jealousy."

It has been suggested that another woman was murdered in Kelly's room, thus explaining the sightings of her on Friday morning but Joe Barnett's identification of the body was made confidently. Maxwell's claims can be weakened by the fact that she had not known Kelly for long and had only spoken to her on two previous occasions. The fact that neither the press nor the police took the claims seriously adds flavour to the belief that the witnesses were mistaken.

SOURCES:

Jack the Ripper the Uncensored Facts - Paul Begg
The Crimes, Detection and Death of Jack the Ripper - Martin Fido
Herts. Advertiser & St. Albans Times 10.11.1888
Herts. & Cambs. Reporter and Royston Crow - 6.11.1888
Hertfordshire Mercury - 10.11.1888


Related pages:
  Mary Jane Kelly
       Home: Timeline - Mary Jane Kelly 
       Dissertations: Did Kelly Have a Heart? 
       Dissertations: Did Mary Kelly Survive? 
       Dissertations: Estimating Mary Kellys Time of Death 
       Dissertations: Is Truth Stranger Than Fiction? A Response to Des McKenna 
       Dissertations: Kit, Kitty, Kitten: The Story of Kitty Ronan 
       Dissertations: Mary Kelly 
       Dissertations: Mary Kelly is Dead 
       Dissertations: McCarthy, Kelly and Breezer's Hill 
       Dissertations: Providence Row Night Refuge 
       Dissertations: Reinvestigating Murder: The Kelly Enigma 
       Dissertations: Room 13 Millers Court 
       Dissertations: The Enigmas of Millers Court 
       Dissertations: The Enigmas of Millers Court 
       Dissertations: The Funeral of Mary Jane Kelly 
       Dissertations: The Kelly Crime Scene Photographs 
       Dissertations: The Mystery of Mary Jane Kelly 
       Dissertations: The Origins of Mary Kelly 
       Dissertations: The Whitechapel Dossier: Dorset Street and Miller’s... 
       Dissertations: Time is on My Side 
       Message Boards: Mary Jane Kelly 
       Official Documents: Dr. Bond's Post Mortem on Mary Kelly 
       Official Documents: Mary Jane Kelly's Inquest 
       Press Reports: Atlanta Constitution - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Barking and East Ham Advertiser - 24 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Bismarck Daily Tribune - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Boston Daily Globe - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Boston Daily Globe - 9 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Bournemouth Visitors Directory - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Croydon Advertiser - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Croydon Advertiser - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Croydon Times - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 15 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 16 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily News - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Daily Telegraph - 16 November 1888 
       Press Reports: East and West Ham Gazette - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Advertiser - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Advertiser - 24 November 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Observer - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: East London Observer - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Eastern Post - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Eastern Post - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Echo - 9 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Edwardsville Intelligencer - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening News - 9 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Evening Star - 9 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Florida Times - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Frederick News - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Galveston Daily News - 11 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Globe [Canada] - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Globe [Canada] - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Graphic - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Illustrated Police News - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Irish Times - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Irish Times - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Irish Times - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Kellogg Enterprise - 16 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Macclesfield Courier and Herald - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Macleod Gazette - 11 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Manchester Guardian - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Manchester Guardian - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Manitoba Daily Free Press - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Marion Daily Star - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Marion Daily Star - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Montreal Daily Star - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Montreal Gazette - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 15 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 16 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Morning Advertiser - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Munster News - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Munster News - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Herald - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Herald - 11 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Times - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York Tribune - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York World - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: New York World - 11 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Ottawa Citizen - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Ottawa Free Press - 9 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Pall Mall Gazette - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Penny Illustrated Paper - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Penny Illustrated Paper - 24 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Port Philip Herald - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: St. James Gazette - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: St. James Gazette - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: St. James Gazette - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Star - 9 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Syracuse Herald - 11 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Thanet Advertiser - 17 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 13 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 14 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 19 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 20 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Trenton Times - 10 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Trenton Times - 12 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Trenton Times - 9 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Walthamstow and Leyton Guardian - 24 November 1888 
       Press Reports: Weekly Herald - 16 November 1888 
       Ripper Media: Jack l’Eventreur: Le Secret de Mary Jane K. 
       Ripper Media: Mary Jane Kelly: La derniere victime 
       Ripper Media: The Inquest of the Final Victim of Jack the Ripper, Mary ... 
       Ripper Media: Will the Real Mary Kelly? 
       Victims: A Violet From Mother's Grave 
       Victims: Mary Jane Kelly 
       Victims: Testimonies of George Hutchinson and Sara Lewis 
       Victorian London: Dorset Street 
       Victorian London: Overcrowding in a School Room 
       Witnesses: Elizabeth Phoenix 
       Witnesses: Lizzie Albrook 
       Witnesses: Thomas Bowyer 
       Witnesses: Walter Beck 
  Nick Connell
       Dissertations: Ostrog - An Adventurer at Eton 
       Ripper Media: The Man Who Hunted Jack the Ripper