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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.

Frederick Richard Chapman

Chapman was identified in February 1972, by theorist B.E Reilly, in an article, Jack the Ripper - The Mystery Solved? In City, the magazine of the city of London police force, as the only doctor whose death shortly after the murder of Mary Kelly, coincided with the ending of the murders. Reilly used the pseudonym, Dr Merchant, when he referred to Chapman, to conceal his identity, believing Chapman was police Constable Robert Spicer's suspect.

In 1931, ex Constable Robert Spicer of Woodford Green, Essex, told the Daily Express, in an article under the heading, I caught Jack The Ripper, 'I was on duty just after the double murder of Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes, on the night of 29/30 September 1888, when I came across a well dressed man with blood on his cuffs, carrying a brown bag, sitting on a brick dustbin in Heneage Court, off Brick Lane, with a prostitute called Rosy, who had in her hand 2s'. After evading the Constables questions, the man was arrested and taken to Commercial Street police station, where he told the station officer that he was a respected doctor, and gave an address in Brixton. Spicer said, 'I was surprised the man was released without his bag even been opened, or explain what a respected doctor was doing at 3 o'clock in the morning with a prostitute'.

Spicer described the man as about 5ft 8" tall, 12 stone, with a fair moustache, high forehead and rosy cheeks, wearing a high hat, a black suit and a gold watch and chain. Spicer claimed he had got into trouble from his superiors for this arrest, and was ordered to leave well alone. He went on to say that this action so disappointed him that he left the police force the following year, adding, 'The doctor was still accosting prostitutes years later in the vicinity of Liverpool Street station'. On one occasion Spicer claims to have approached the man and said, 'Hello Jack, still after them'. Spicer's story however cannot be referring to Chapman, because by this time Chapman was already dead. Spicer's recollections, interesting though they are, should be treated with a degree of caution, for they were told to the press over 40 years after the last of the Whitechapel murders. It has also been noted that the real reason Spicer left the police force was that he had been caught drinking on duty in April 1889, and was dismissed.

Frederick Richard Chapman was born in Poona India in 1851, the son of an Army NCO, he qualified as a doctor in Glasgow in 1874 and came to London in 1886 from Hull, where he had been a medical officer for a smallpox hospital, during which time he wrote a number of medical pamphlets. He lived in Brixton, where he died of septic tubercular abscesses on 12 December 1888, and was buried in a paupers grave. Apart from his death occurring soon after the murder of Mary Kelly, there is nothing to link Chapman with Jack the Ripper.

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Related pages:
  Robert Spicer
       Dissertations: Maybrick Hoax: Donald McCormick's Legacy 
       Press Reports: Daily Express - 16 March 1931