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 Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide 
This text is from the E-book Jack the Ripper: A Suspect Guide by Christopher J. Morley (2005). Click here to return to the table of contents. The text is unedited, and any errors or omissions rest with the author. Our thanks go out to Christopher J. Morley for his permission to publish his E-book.

Michael Kidney

Kidney, a waterside labourer, was born in 1852 and was the lover of Elizabeth Stride. Kidney was seven years Strides junior, and at the time of the murders resided at 38 Dorset Street. He had been in a relationship with her, on and off, for three to four years, which could only be described as stormy. Kidney, it is claimed, had a violent temper, and the couple often separated. Stride, when not living with Kidney, intermittently inhabited a common lodging house at 32 Flower and Dean Street, and would often disappear for days or weeks drinking. Stride was due, but failed to appear in court to lay charges against Kidney for assault, her failure to appear would result in the charges been dropped.

At the time of her murder Kidney said that he had not seen her for five days, though was not concerned by her absence as he still expected her home.

A.P Wolf, in the book Jack The Myth, suggests that Stride was not a Ripper victim, but was in fact murdered by Kidney during a drunken quarrel. On the night she was murdered Stride was seen at 11.00pm in the Bricklayers Arms behaving quite intimately in the company of a respectably dressed man, kissing and hugging him, and was witnessed, still with the same man, nearly two hours later. The intimacy and the ease at which Stride was with this man suggests he was not a casual client. It therefore would be reasonable to assume that this man could have in fact been her lover, who perhaps may have been a married man. We know she had taken some care over her appearance that night, as she had asked to borrow a clothes brush from fellow lodger Charles Preston. Later, when her body was found, she was clutching in her left hand a small packet of cachous, which were small French pastilles designed to freshen the breath of smokers and disguise the smell of alcohol, again suggestive that she was making an effort for someone other than Michael Kidney.

Stride was seen at about 12.45am by Israel Schwartz, being assaulted in the street by a man he described as about 30 years old, 5ft 5"tall, dark hair, small brown moustache, broad shouldered, wearing a cap with a peak. The man tried to pull her into the street, but instead turned her round and threw her down onto the footway, she screamed three times, but not very loudly.

On the opposite side of the street stood a man lighting his pipe, the man who threw the woman down called out, 'Lipski', it is not clear if this was directed towards the man lighting his pipe or at Schwartz. Schwartz then walked away, whereupon he was followed by the second man for a short distance. Schwartz could not say if the men were together or knew each other, or if the second man was following him or fleeing the area as well. He described the second man as 35 years of age, 5ft 11"tall, light brown hair, brown moustache, dressed in a dark overcoat and an old black hard felt hat. If the man who attacked Stride had been Jack the Ripper or simply a robber, he would not have attempted to pull her into the street where he could be seen, but instead push her into a darkened area away from the light. If the man was unknown to her and she was being robbed or attacked, possibly by Jack the Ripper, she would have screamed a lot louder than she appeared to.

The fact that she was allowed to scream out marks this attack as different from the other Ripper murders. Her body was found just fifteen minutes later by Louis Diemschutz, her throat had been cut, though she had not been strangled, her clothing had not been disturbed and the body was not mutilated. The knife used to kill Stride was different to that used on the other Ripper victims and was different to the knife used later that night to kill Catherine Eddowes.

Some theorists claim that Stride was not mutilated because the Ripper did not have time to inflict any mutilations because he was disturbed by Louis Diemschutz and his pony and cart.

Not true, Catherine Eddowes was spotted alive at 1.35am and her mutilated body discovered at 1.45am giving the Ripper only ten minutes to inflict horrific injuries which included markings to the face. If the man who attacked Stride was Jack the Ripper, he would have had a full fifteen minutes to inflict any injuries he wished upon the body.

One possible explanation for the events that night is that a drunken Michael Kidney, suspicious that Stride was seeing someone, happened upon her with her lover and killed her during a drunken jealous fight. The second man, stood lighting his pipe, may have been the man whose company she had spent most of the evening with (her lover) who witnessed Stride being beaten by her partner (Kidney) and instead of helping her cowardly fled the area. his reluctance to come forward and help the police could easily be explained by the fact he may have been married.

Israel Schwartz was not called at the inquest, if he had he may have identified Michael Kidney as the man he saw attack Elizabeth Stride.

While it is possible Michael Kidney was the murderer of Elizabeth Stride, was he

also Jack the Ripper. We know he was violent, and was questioned by the police about the Ripper murders. Against Kidney being the Ripper is that would a serial killer who lured his victims into lonely and darkened areas, attack a victim in the street in front of witnesses. Michael Kidney was treated for syphilis in June 1889 at the Whitechapel workhouse infirmary.

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Related pages:
  Michael Kidney
       Dissertations: Exonerating Michael Kidney 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 4 October 1888 
       Press Reports: Times [London] - 6 October 1888