In 1888, the most infamous murders of all time took place in London’s East End. Five prostitutes, destitute women who knew of no other way to survive, were killed and slaughtered by a supposedly unknown killer who bears the nickname Jack the Ripper.

The fifth victim Mary Jane Kelly was butchered on Friday 9th November. The other victims were murdered in Whitechapel but she was murdered in Spitalfields. She was killed in her room 13 Miller’s Court. She was found about 10.45 am the next day on her bed. The mutilations were so extensive that she had to be identified by her eyes and her ears. Strangely enough the hair was not examined for identification purposes. The heart was missing.

The Man Hutchinson Saw

A witness, George Hutchinson, who said he saw Kelly take a man he could identify to her home in Miller’s Court at 2.05 am on the morning she was murdered got a very good look at the killer. He said that the man was well dressed. He described the man very well and was clear he could identify him and a newspaper felt that the man who got Annie Farmer drunk on 21 November 1888 and lay beside her resembled that man. And Annie had woken upon finding he put a knife to her throat. She fought him and ended up with a gash to her neck that was non-fatal. Kelly probably lay beside her attacker too and woke to find a knife at her throat.

The man said to Kelly, “You will be all right for what I have told you.” Hutchinson heard Kelly say later to the man, “All right, my dear, come along, you will be comfortable.” I think the man really did say that for it is felt that Kelly let the man lie beside her on her bed. If Hutchinson had been making it up he was likely to think the man would get his sexual release and just walk away.

The man gave her a red handkerchief. Hutchinson thought something strange of the situation and stood watching until 2.45 am but nobody came out. He went up the Court afterwards and all was in darkness so the man and Kelly must have been asleep in bed.  Hutchinson was seen keeping watch for he did not like the situation even though he must have seen Kelly taking men back before.  Something was different this time.

Later Hutchinson would say, "I believe that he lives in the neighbourhood, and I fancied that I saw him in Petticoat-lane on Sunday morning."  That was as good as saying the man was a Jew for this area was virtually entirely Jewish.  He called him a foreigner - a polite way of saying Jew!  Look how he has worded it.  He is sure enough the man is local but he is careful not to say he is sure he saw him on the lane otherwise the man would be arrested.  Petticoat Lane belongs to Middlesex Street so our killer probably lived there.  Hutchinson feared reprisal from the Jews.

The amount of detail to many seems suspicious as does the fact that Hutchinson didn’t come forward for three days. But perhaps Hutchinson was one of Kelly’s clients and didn’t want to draw attention to himself and her being friends. Maybe he didn’t want to come forward and it took him three days to change his mind. Inspector Abberline accepted his testimony as valid which indicates that anything unusual was explained. If he had been lying he would told better lies than what he told. He could have said for example that Kelly had went out again at the time he saw her with the man and so that he didn’t know anything. He had no need to lie that he could identify the man he saw with Kelly. That would have got him in trouble if he was trying to cover something up.

The view that Hutchinson was afraid of suspicion coming on himself and made up the account for he had been seen keeping watch over Kelly’s room that night is spurious. When he went forward after three days and hadn’t been approached by the police before then there was evidently nothing for him to worry about. He knew other people who saw him walking behind the killer and Kelly on that fateful night could come forward and contradict him if he told any lies.

Hutchinson was able to give the police such a detailed description of the man that one conclusion is unavoidable. He had seen him before when he was able to take in all that. When you know somebody well, and you glimpse them briefly you can describe them a lot more clearly than you can if they are strangers. If this was not the case with Hutchinson then we have to ask why Hutchinson lied for he must have made it all up. If he lied, then he was the Ripper himself or he was protecting the Ripper. Hutchinson knew who the Ripper was – that we can consider proven. It is most likely that Hutchinson saw the man with Kelly before. Hutchinson was seen by a witness keeping vigil on Miller’s Court. The Ripper would not have acted like that. He was not the Ripper. The Ripper didn’t loiter.

Hutchinson was clearly concerned for Mary Kelly when he stood so long on the dangerous streets at night watching her take the man who killed her to her room and for long after. He must have made sure he remembered everything clearly. He would not have lied. Why did Hutchinson not admit to having seen the man before? What was he afraid of? Did he know the killer? What made him so sure that Kelly who had taken so many men back was in danger with this gentlemanly looking client? He knew the killer. Hutchinson gave Kelly money. He gave her six pence shortly before she was murdered. It appears that he could have been one of her clients too. Perhaps he didn’t want to name the killer for the killer could expose his sexual liaisons with Kelly? Why was Hutchinson giving her money when he had no regular job as the Scotland Yard letter of 12th November 1888 states?

Hutchinson saw that the man had a Jewish appearance (page 17, Jack the Ripper Whitechapel Map Booklet 1888). We know the Ripper was a Jew so the man he seen must have been the Ripper. Prostitutes would have been wary of Jewish customers since the Goulston Street message. When Kelly went home with a Jew she probably knew and trusted this Jew.

Was he suspicious because the man looked so respectable and seemed prepared to sleep with a common prostitute? This is unlikely for it wouldn’t have been that unusual. Slumming was popular then. The man didn’t fit the image of a killer such as the Ripper who people pictured as a dirty, dishevelled, maniacal and ugly monster.

Hutchinson surely would have known if there was a light in Kelly’s room after she took the man back. It was easy to see from where he was standing at Dorset Street. He would have had a look when he was that concerned and indeed he stood for a long while watching her room and saw that it was all in darkness. He said he went up past the room and all was quiet so the man she took back was in her bed sleeping with her. The man would have been seen leaving had he just been with Kelly for sex. He planned to spend the night there. He said to her, “You will be all right for what I have told you.” What a strange thing to say? Evidently he didn’t want Hutchinson to hear what their sexual plans were. He knew he was listening and was being careful. It sounds like he and Kelly were planning to have unnatural sex. He spoke to her as if it was something unusual he wanted from her. Perhaps he asked her to masturbate him. The police suspect was believed to have suffered from an addiction to masturbation that made him insane. He was less likely to suggest sodomy and talk about it when a man was listening for she was drunk and giddy and vulgar and he didn’t want to encourage her. He might have been less careful when it was only masturbation he was after. No semen was found at the crime scene. This alone suggests the man she took to her room was the Ripper. It was the same with all the Ripper crime scenes.

Some time between 3.30 and 4.00 am a cry of “Oh Murder!” was heard from Kelly’s room. When prostitute Mary Ann Cox went home at 3.00 am she saw Kelly’s room all in darkness.

What Kelly said, “All right, my dear, come along, you will be comfortable”, indicates that she intended to let the man sleep in her bed. It was the nearest to comfortable in her room. There is no doubt from the bloodstains that when she was attacked she had her face to the partition that the bed was alongside. Her head was in the corner of the room. She was attacked and the blood spurted up on the wall. She was lying as if to make room for somebody lying beside her. The idea that the Ripper wasn’t taken to her room and he sneaked in is unlikely for he knew she was a prostitute or he wouldn’t have been planning to kill her. He knew a prostitute could have a caller any time or have a man in bed with her.

Kelly’s clothes were found folded neatly on a chair. This is such a mystery because they were untouched by any blood though there was a mess all over the room. The solution is that the Ripper had undressed and put his own clothes on top of hers. The idea that Mary Kelly was not the woman killed but she returned to her room and saw the gore and left her clothes there and lit the fire is pure mad fancy.

Kelly though drunk took off her clothes in her room with her guest and folded them neatly and put them over the chair. She then slept alongside her companion for the night. She was attacked lying against the partition which suggests somebody lay in bed with her.

The Ripper didn’t burn her clothes despite burning nearly everything else he could get his hands on in the room in the fire. But it seems she was very comfortable with her guest. Kelly having been afraid of the murderer would only have taken men she trusted back to her room. She felt safe that night with a man beside her in bed. It is hard to believe she had her room unlocked when she was there alone so that the Ripper could sneak in and attack her. This takes us to the mystery of the key.

The Key Mystery

Mary Kelly lost the key to her room. Joseph Barnett her ex-lover and she had had a violent quarrel and the window next the door ended up partly smashed on the 30th October. Without the key, she reached in through the hole in the glass to unlock the door to let herself in. This was stated in Joseph Barnett’s statement to the police which they accepted. But the door was found locked and the police had to break it down after her mutilated body was seen through the hole by the man collecting the rent.

Many think that though Kelly did not secure the door, there was no key, that the door was stuck or jammed! But that is speculation. It would not have needed breaking in unless it was locked.

It seems that the door locked automatically when it was closed and one had to reach through the window hole for the catch inside to open the door.

If she had the Ripper with her in her bed then he didn’t need to know how to open the door. If he crept in, he must have been familiar with her room. He must have observed how she opened the door at some stage.

Inspector Abberline speaking at the inquest said that the murderer did not lock the door behind him with the key. Kelly probably left her door on the latch when she lost her key. Abberline did declare that she had a spring bolt lock. The murderer then only had to pull the door and he did not need a key. The notion she put her arm in the window through the broken glass is unlikely.

Some however think that it is certain that the killer or somebody had a key and locked the room (page 64, The Complete Jack the Ripper). This must have been the situation because how else can the need to break the door down be explained? If the lock could be easily opened by putting one’s hand through the cracked pane as Barnett said then why did the police break the door in? The police must have looked to see if there was any way of entering the room without breaking the door in. You don’t do unnecessary damage at the scene of a crime. The police must have known if the door could really be opened by putting a hand through the window for working out how the murderer could have got in is an important part of the evidence. Possibly the police were acting unprofessionally but there is no reason to think this. The neighbours would have known how Kelly got into her room and could have told them. So there are reasons why the police thought that it couldn’t be done and so they didn’t try it. The suggestion that the police didn’t believe Barnett but decided later at the inquest that the door could be opened as he said is ridiculous.

The landlord didn’t even have a key either! So without a key they just broke in.

It seems that the police knew that Barnett wasn’t the killer and let him away with his lies. After all they had considered him a suspect in her murder. They wanted the whole investigation rushed through as if it was unnecessary. They acted as if they already knew who the Ripper was and there was no point.

Why did Barnett lie? Why did he want to protect the killer? Why did he act as if the police guessing that the Ripper had the key could lead them to the Ripper? The answer is that Barnett probably set up her meeting with the Ripper. Barnett worked at the Market and may have known our suspect who may have supplied meats to the Market.

If Joe Barnett was the Ripper or at least the killer of Mary Kelly it would have been a crime of passion for he lived a normal life after her murder. He wouldn’t lie beside her peacefully and then attack her. He did love the woman. He had no reason to go so far in the mutilations. He had no reason to make it look like the work of the Ripper – after all there were plenty of prostitute killers about.

Most likely the person who locked the door had to have been the killer. But what did the Ripper need the key for? He didn’t know then that Kelly was able to open the door by putting her hand through the broken glass. Was she really able to do this at all?

The missing key story was a lie. Kelly used the key and the Ripper locked the door with it and took it away with him after he desecrated her corpse. Did the killer take the key as a trophy similar to his stealing Annie Chapman’s rings?

The key was never lost. Kelly let herself and the Ripper in with it. The Ripper took the key with him. If as Barnett said, the key fell out of the lock when the door was slammed shut during a row it could have gone very far. She could have got a new key soon if it had been. And she wouldn’t have delayed if she was afraid of somebody like he said.

Barnett lied because he knew who had the key. In his stupidity he thought the lie was necessary to protect the killer. As if the police were going to search all the houses in Whitechapel for a tiny key! However, if the police had already suspected the killer his lie would have been far from stupid. This would tell us that one of the police suspects was the killer. The police would certainly search the houses of the suspects of the time. It would tell us too that the killer was a local resident. He was not the American quack doctor Francis Tumbelty. He was not Aaron Kosminski who nobody would have been afraid of especially another man. He was not D’Onston for Barnett wouldn’t have been that afraid of him. The killer had to have been a Jew and Barnett was afraid of the Jews who were protecting the killer. He had to live among them. The killer was not George Chapman for he was only 23 at the time of the killings while the witnesses saw an older man. And Chapman’s English wasn’t as good as the English of the Ripper. A police suspect Michael Ostrog was free to commit more murders after the Whitechapel murders stopped and didn’t while a maniac like the Ripper shouldn’t be able to stop. GWB the Australian suspect who according to his son admitted to the murders saying he had been getting very drunk and then getting the urge to gut prostitutes doesn’t sound very plausible. It doesn’t explain why the killings stopped so soon after starting. It is only hearsay.

Some think that the Ripper stole the key and that was why it was missing. Let’s see what the implications are.

The Ripper must have been to her room some time previous to the murder. He must have known Kelly reasonably well. He found the key and kept it which was why it was missing. He locked the door after he slaughtered her. Had he got the door secured some other way he would have left blood marks on the door. If you use a key you can avoid blood marks if you are careful. You can make sure only the key gets the blood.

The Ripper had been planning to kill her for some time. She knew him and she trusted him. He either found the key after she lost it or he was the reason she lost the key. He had stolen it. Either way she respected this man. She let him treat her room like his own. He didn’t have sex with her at any time. Perhaps he just paid her to sit and talk with him. The Ripper didn’t do sex.

The possibilities are that Ripper entered by stealth using her key – assuming it had been lost and stolen by him. Or she let him in and he slept beside her or he knew how to unlock the door through the broken glass. Joseph Barnett had visited her hours before her murder and would have known if the key had turned up again for she would have been likely to hang it up on the same hook or nail on the wall. Perhaps Kelly kept the door on the latch and the Ripper got in easily and when he left he left it off the latch so that the door locked. This is unlikely for she would have known that Hutchinson who was concerned and keeping an eye outside that night could decide to send the police into her room and she would be caught in prostitution so she would have locked the door so that she might have some warning at least. But how the Ripper got in doesn’t matter. What matters is that he had the key. He knew this woman and she knew him when he went to such lengths.

The murderer had waited a long time before striking Kelly. It seems he was waiting until he would be sure that she was alone. He was waiting until her lover had left her and a night in which she wouldn’t be sharing her bed with her prostitute friends.

One more thought, the Ripper didn’t wash at the pump next Kelly’s windows. If the Ripper didn’t know the pump was there was it because Kelly let him in the door with the key which would have meant he wouldn’t have seen it?

Why did the Ripper not move the table out of the way? The door hit the table when busted in. Why did he put it there? If he had to squeeze to get out of the door why did nobody find blood marks on the door and the jamb? Did he kill Kelly and put clothing on that covered the stains? Was that why he got out without staining anything? Why no bloody footprints?

The Ripper took the fees from the victims. Kelly was no exception. There was no money in the hovel.

The fire

The Ripper kept loading the fire in the room as he worked. It seems that the overcoat left in Kelly's room by Maria Harvey, the three shirts, the black bonnet and a white petticoat were missing from the report about the contents of the room. Ostensibly, they were burnt but Harvey's overcoat was found thus allaying any thought that the killer left the room dressed as a woman. Kelly's folded clothes were untouched which is odd.


Mary Ann Cox was very sure that at 6 15 in the morning she heard a man leaving the court and possibly Kelly's room! How did she know that it was a man? He "went down the court". She specified as to hearing no door closing.

The Investigation

The bizarre and rushed behaviour of the police and investigation in relation to the Mary Kelly murder and the inquest would suggest that they knew who the murderer was and didn’t want to shout about it. This could suggest that the killer was a Jew and identifying him would lead to backlash against the Jews. Not long before, the Goulston Street message which was thought to have been written by the Ripper by chalk on a wall to blame the Jews for the crimes had to be washed off in case a riot would happen which shows how dangerous it could be for Jews had the Ripper proven to be one of their number. Perhaps the Ripper was carted off to an asylum so the police felt they should let the matter go.

The Star

A day after the murder, The Star newspaper printed:

McCarthy said to a man employed by him in his shop, John Bowyer, 'Go to No 13 and try and get some rent.' Bowyer did as he was directed, and on knocking at the door was unable to obtain an answer. He then tried the handle of the door and found it was locked. On looking through the keyhole he found the key was missing. The left hand side of the room faced the court, and in it were two large windows. Bowyer, knowing that a pane of glass in one of the windows was broken, put his hand through the aperture and pulled aside the muslin curtain which covered it. He looked into the room, and saw the woman lying on the bed, entirely naked, covered with blood and apparently dead..."

It looks the killer managed to avoid bloody footprints and staining anything. Why this time did the killer seem to want the victim to maybe lay there for days?

From the murder scene photo, why is Kelly laid out so that she would be looking right at the person taking a peep in the window?

The man is not John but we will not worry about this misnaming.


The Kelly affair shows a bit of mystery mongering going on both by the killer and some bystanders. We can see that the killer was a Jew. He saw what he was doing as some kind of game.

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