|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.|
In a article for True Detective December 2004 entitled, Jack A Knacker ? Robert Hills put forward the name of James Hardiman as a possible Ripper suspect.
James Hardiman was born in Mile End, Whitechapel, on December 1859 the son of a cobbler. His mother Harriett, who is listed in the 1891 census as 52 years of age and widowed, occupied and sold cats meat (pieces of horse flesh on a skewer for a farthing) from the ground floor front room of 29 Hanbury Street. Described as a well proportioned woman, she lived there with her 16 year old son William. On the night of Annie Chapman's murder she said she went to bed at half past ten, slept very soundly and did not wake until about six o clock the next morning. She was awoken by the sound of people tramping through the passage, and thinking there was a fire, sent her son to have a look. When he returned he said, 'Don't upset yourself mother, it's a woman been killed in the yard'. Harriett Hardiman said she heard nothing that night and that people often went through the passage of the house without her seeing who they were, she also said that to her knowledge she had never seen the deceased woman in her life before. At the inquest, Mrs Hardiman was described as, 'Dressed in keeping with her position in life'.
James Hardiman lived, at one time, at 29 Hanbury Street, though at the time of the murder was living around the corner at 13 Heneage Street. He was a cat meat seller and purveyor of horseflesh. His daughter Harriett, had died on 18 June 1888, from emaciation arising from nerve damage, caused by untreated congenital syphilis contracted from her mother. His wife Sarah, who was born in Birmingham, died on 15 September 1888. James Hardiman died on 22 December 1891 at 29 Hanbury Street, from tuberculosis at the age of 32.
Robert Hills suggests that as all the victims were middle aged mothers, with the exception of Mary Kelly who was more his wife's age, Hardiman was driven to murder by a hatred of mothers in general. He then proposes an alternative motive that Hardiman was avenging his daughter's death and that he suffered from pre-crime stress, and may have contracted veneral disease. In his favour as a Ripper suspect Hardiman was the right age, 29 and knew the local area well, having lived there all his life. He would have also possessed some skill with a knife and may have been familiar with (and contracted) syphilis from the local prostitutes. His occupation would have enabled him to work alone and he may have perceived prostitutes as the spreaders of disease, contributing to his wife and daughters death. He would having lived there at one time, have been familiar with 29 Hanbury Street, it's layout and exit route where Annie Chapman was murdered. He may also have, due to his occupation, been a visitor to Barber's horse slaughterer's yard situated only 150 yards from where the body of Mary Ann Nichols was subsequently discovered.
An anonymous Ripper letter, which predates the 'Dear Boss' letter and is dated 24 September 1888 states, 'I am a horse slaughterer'. Another alleged Ripper letter is signed, 'Joe the cats meat man'. Robert Hills is to be congratulated on bringing too our attention this little known Whitechapel resident and potential Ripper suspect. Hardiman certainly warrants further research .
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