|A Ripperoo Article|
|This article originally appeared in Ripperoo, the flagship magazine of the Australian Cloak and Dagger Club. For more information, view our Ripperoo page. Our thanks to the editor of Ripperoo for permission to reprint this article.|
by Julian Rosenthal
There has been much debate over whether or not Elizabeth Stride was a victim of Jack the Ripper and also whether or not Catharine Eddowes had a prearranged appointment with her killer. Lets try to solve these questions, by taking a closer look at each case:
Elizabeth Stride was murdered in an alley, beside a noisy pub, which had people coming and going at every minute. Jacks previous and latter victims, were found in unfrequented areas of Whitechapel. The wounds inflicted to her throat, were caused by a knife that was “not sharp and pointed but round and an inch across”. “There was nothing in the cuts to show an incision of the point of any weapon”. Polly, Annie, Catharine and Mary all died from wounds inflicted by a sharp, pointed knife.
Although the differences in knives may not be significant, it is also possible that Elizabeth was carrying her own knife, and once assaulted by the man that Schwartz saw, took it out to defend herself, but had it taken off her and used against her. This would explain why Jack didn’t have time to use his own knife.
As to the lack of mutilations, that can be explained by the possibility that he was interrupted by Diemschutz’s donkey appearing in the alley. At the time her body was discovered, it was noticed that her blood was still forming a pool near the side door of the ‘International Workingman’s Club’. (witness: Daily Telegraph’/ Inquest 5/10/88). This would indicate that Jack was indeed interrupted before he had a chance to mutilate Stride. It should also be noted that the murder weapon used upon the other victims had been used with ‘Great violence’, so using a blunt knife would not have been been a problem for Jack, in this case.
I am of the belief that after Diemschutz entered the laneway to Dutfield’s Yard and interrupted Jack, he then disappeared into the blackness of the yard and either stayed there until the commotion died down, or took off down Berner Street as soon as Diemschutz went inside to get help. There is also a third possibility that whoever killed Stride, bolted into Dutfields Yard and jumped the fence to escape.
Leanne believes there is yet another possibility, that the killer could have hidden in the darkness to adjust his collar and perhaps change his attire, then just blended in as one of the many onlookers at the scene. Whatever the opinion, there are equal amounts of theories as to whether Elizabeth was a victim of the Ripper or not, i.e. the position of the body, the cut throat, the flowers pinned to her dress, (possibly a gift from Jack), and the darkness of the scene of the murder, are all typical ‘Jack’ signs. On the other hand, Jack never murdered so close to a place that was still ‘teaming’ with people.
Catharine Eddowes, on the other hand, is a totally different story. While the mutilations of Polly and Annie, consisted of disembowelment and severe torso lacerations, Catharine was subjected to facial mutilations as well. Catharine was found at 1:45 am, in the southwestern corner of Mitre Square, by Constable Edward Watkins.
Only five minutes earlier, Police Constable James Harvey had walked along Dukes Place and down Church Passage, (which both surround Mitre Square), and neither saw nor heard anything.
Of all the murders, Catharine’s poses the most questions. At 8:00 pm the evening before she was murdered, she had attracted a crowd in Aldgate High Street by doing an impersonation of a fire engine, after which she laid down on the pavement to sleep. She was then arrested by P.C. Louis Robinson, who found her “very drunk and lying in a heap”.
When she was taken to Bishopsgate Police Station, she gave her name as “Nothing”. Later, a piece of her apron was found beneath a piece of graffiti, which said: “The Juwes are the men that will not be blamed for nothing”. Was this a cryptic message of some sort? Had someone told her just before, to give her name a “Nothing”, if she got arrested? How did she get so drunk, if she had no money?
Here’s what I think happened:
She left her partner John Kelly at 2:00 pm, on the afternoon of September 29, with the excuse that she was going to visit her daughter in Bermondsey, to borrow some money. Instead of going to her Daughter’s, she headed to one of her local pubs in Aldgate Street, near Mitre Square. There she met Jack, who plied her with alcohol and arranged to meet her later that night in Mitre Square. Realizing that she was already drunk, he gave her a word of advice, to say “Nothing” if she got picked up by the police.
When she did get arrested and was placed in a cell, she went to sleep. At 12:30 am, she asked when she was going to be released, possibly feeling the worse for wear and remembered that Jack offered to meet her later that night. With the possibility of another drink, she headed off to Mitre Square, were Jack had been waiting.
When she got there, Jack asked her where she’d been, she placed a hand on his chest, (‘but not in a manner to suggest that she was resisting him’), and told the story of her arrest. Jack then took her to a dark corner of the Square and murdered her.
Some other interesting aspects of this murder are:
When she pawned a pair of John Kelly’s boots the day before her murder, she did so under the name of “Jane Kelly“. When she was released from the police station, she gave her name as “Mary Ann Kelly“. Does this mean that she knew Mary Jane Kelly, Jack’s next victim or was she just making up Christian names to fit in with her partner’s surname?
Why did it take her 30 minutes to get from the police station to Mitre Square, a walk that would normally take about five minutes? Why did Jack mutilate Catharine’s face so horrifically? And where did he go after the murder, until he left part of Catharine’s apron in Goulston street, an hour later?
Did Catharine really know who Jack was? Although it’s unconfirmed, she was reported as saying to the superintendent at the casual ward in Shoe Lane, that she’d returned from hop picking to pick up the reward for Jack’s arrest, as “I think I know him”.
Although it’s not confirmed that she did say this, it is quite possible that she did know Jack, whether she knew this or not. For what we know about serial killers today, they are people you’d never suspect, so it’s quite possible that Jack was a local lad, who got on pretty well with everyone and therefore didn’t attract attention to himself.