The Victims of Jack the Ripper

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 Ripper did not have sex with any of the women. He got them out of sight and murdered them. Some think he may just have lunged at the first victim when walking with her on a street. The second woman was found in a backyard with her pockets emptied. The third showed no sign of preparing for sex with a client. The fourth certainly was expecting to service the Ripper. The fifth may have had the Ripper in for a sleepover only.

In total thirty-seven women in the year 1888 were attacked violently and sometimes killed. Fourteen were domestic attacks which leaves twenty three. Subtracting the five canonical ripper victims leaves us with 18. Despite the supposition of some that the Ripper murders were carried out by gangs attacking prostitutes there is no evidence that any of these gangs set out to kill. A prostitute called Emma Smith was clearly attacked by a gang but there is no reason to think they intended to kill her. There is no evidence that any gang ripped up women Ripper style. The Ripper’s style was unique. None of the victims except maybe Kelly showed signs of struggling.

The Murders

Mary Ann Nichols was murdered on Friday 31st August between 3.15 am and 3.45 am at Buck’s Row, Whitechapel. She was found at 3.45 am by PC Neil. The victim had bruising to her face and her throat was cut twice. There was a small amount of blood beside the body and her abdomen was mutilated. At the post mortem it was found that the knife used must have been moderately sharp. Being a bit blunt, most of the destruction it inflicted was down to the violence with which it was wielded. No blood was found on the clothes or on the breast. The lack of blood and the swelling of the victim’s face indicated death by asphyxiation.

There is no evidence that she was attacked by a prostitution client. It looks like an opportunistic ambush. It is felt that she may have been prostituting herself for the Ripper got the women to lift their skirts to distract them. He probably had his trousers down. Then when the women were pulling up their clothes he struck by grabbing them firmly by the throat and throttling them into unconsciousness. The argument for that is how no screams were heard.

Marks were found on her fingers as if she had been wearing rings. It is wondered if the Ripper had stolen them.

The second Ripper victim Annie Chapman was murdered on Saturday 8th September 1888 in the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street. The victim was found just before 6.00 am by John Davis who lived in number 29. Her throat had been cut and her intestines were flung over her left shoulder. It looked as if the killer had tried to decapitate her. The killer put the left arm across her breast. The face and tongue were swollen due to strangulation. The ring fingers were injured due to a ring or rings being pulled off violently. She carried bruises on her right temple, upper eyelid, two on her chest and one on her right hand. The uterus and part of the bladder and vagina had been skillfully extracted and taken away. No damage was done to surrounding organs.

The third Ripper victim Elizabeth Stride met her violent death at the hands of the Ripper on 30th September, a Sunday. At 12.45 am, Elizabeth was seen being attacked by a man, not necessarily her killer, on Berner Street. Fifteen minutes later she was discovered just inside Dutfield’s yard along the same street with her throat cut. No mutilations had taken place. She was seen talking to a man at 12.45 am by James Brown who heard her refuse the man by saying, “Not tonight, some other night”. It looks like she had a date with the Ripper and turned this man down. The Ripper may have needed to make dates with these women for the important thing for him was getting them to suitable killing sites.

That same night the Ripper made up for his failure to mutilate Stride. Mitre Square at 1.28-9 am was checked by PC Harvey. There was nothing. But when PC Watkins checked the Square a quarter of an hour later he found a body, the Ripper’s fourth victim. Catherine Eddowes was found strangled with her throat cut twice. This time the killer mutilated the victim’s face. The intestines were thrown over her right shoulder. Part of the right ear was cut and there was no bruising. The left kidney and the womb were taken away by the killer. There was no evidence of a struggle. There was no spurting of blood. At 2.55 am, PC Long discovered a piece of apron stained with blood and body matter in Goulston Street at the Wentworth Buildings where many Jews resided. Right above it was a chalked message. The message went, The Juwes are The men that Will not be Blamed for nothing. The apron piece was found to have been cut from the dead woman’s apron. PC Long was certain that the writing and the piece of apron were not there at 2.20 am when he last checked the area.

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 according to some but all organs were accounted for according to the post-mortem.

After this, the most notorious murder in history and the annals of gore, the Ripper stopped. One can see that with each victim his fury increased reaching a macabre climax with the murder of Kelly.

The police surgeons and other surgeons who were familiar with the modus operandi of the killings, had their disagreements. But they did hold their belief that the killer had enough skill with the knife to pass for a butcher or medical student (page 190, The Crimes of Jack the Ripper). Dr Bond thought the killer showed no knowledge at all of cutting women or animals up but we know that the killer was able to find Eddowe’s kidney and take it away and when the killer cut away the uterus and the top of the vagina and part of the bladder with one slash of the knife with Annie Chapman we must beg to differ. It seems wise to assume the killer knew something about cutting creatures up. 

One thing the murder victims have in common is that they must have been robbed by the killer. The Ripper would have paid them up front and then killed them and taken the money back plus any other money that they may have had. It is hard to understand how a crazed killer, fearful of the nearby police, who had little time to steal still managed to have the presence of mind and the the time and the eyesight in the dark to take their money. It does show that money was important to him and he was not a wealthy man.


Interestingly, no money was found at the murder scene of alleged first Ripper victim, Martha Tabram either.

Tabram could have been the first victim.  She was overkill like Nichols.

Tabram had a three inch gash and a one inch gash in her abdomen as if the killer had attempted to rip her.  There were wounds near the privates.

She was killed brutally on Wednesday 7 August and the previous day was a bank holiday which fits how the Ripper always killed when it was not a working day.

She was killed quietly like the Ripper victims - people slept only feet away. This suggests she had been strangled as they were.  The notion they were used to such sounds does not seem very helpful.  The people residing around had to sleep yes but were not disturbed. That is impossible to explain unless the killer knew exactly what he was doing.

Like with Mary Kelly, witnesses told lies and soldiers were blamed so the Ripper could have been the killer.

Tabram could have left the soldiers and been approached by somebody near where she died.  She could have ambushed like Polly Nichols was.

Plus three women, Connolly, Cooper and Allen said they suspected a man who lived in the vicinity of Buck's Row. That was where Polly Nichols was killed.  Did they hear of Nichols dying there and in their assumption that it was the same man assumed he lived in adjacent to where she died?

The Ripper tidied up the clothing on the corpse of Mary Ann Nichols after he must have searched her for money. That was why nobody realised she was abdominally mutilated until after she was taken from the scene. The killer of Stride was interrupted and yet he still seems to have made off with any money she may have had.

Tabram was killed in a frenzy with people sleeping nearby and so was Polly Nichols which looks like an opportunistic attack on an empty street.  There is no evidence of sex.  A pattern of progression exists here.  Nichols got the worst treatment.  Tabram had unnecessary rip marks near her privates so it is best to assume that was her post-mortem mutilation. If the killer did that with her, he would go a step further with Nichols and she had more extensive tears.  The cuts near the privates are the killers signature.

The killings of Tabram and Nichols are adjacent so if they are by the same person you would expect characteristics to match beyond what chance would have. They had, throat injuries, body was left where she was slain, on the back, posed, clothes tampered with, strangulation, eyes wide open, hands by their sides, killed at the weekend, killer not heard, victims nearly same age, virtually the same height.

Catherine Eddowes was stabbed a number of times and the knife was then pushed and pulled in different directions. This is clear from the description of her clothing after the murder. Her chintz skirt, her bodice, her petticoat, her alpaca skirt and her blue shirt all showed he stabbed and drew the knife. The stabbing is important for it lends plausibility to the Ripper having slain Martha Tabram.

Was Stride a Ripper Victim?

The Ripper was on the prowl that night and a witness saw a man of Jewish appearance near Stride whose demeanor upset him and indicated that the man was dangerous.

Her throat was cut the same way as the other Ripper victims. The knife was out of the ordinary like the Ripper's knife though it was not the same knife used later on Eddowes.

The victims turned their backs to the killer for sex and Stride was pulled from behind with her scarf and possibly garroted like the rest. 

She was cut down to the bones in her neck as with the others.

She was laid down on her side yes but so was Catherine Eddowes just prior to mutilation.

She was kept quiet like the others were.

Stride didn't need to be knifed for all the assailant had to do was pull her scarf tight to kill her and it was already very tight. The Ripper was not going to change his throat cutting enterprises.  The cutting was over-kill. It was her mutilation.

She was the kind of woman the Ripper wanted to kill.

She was killed after the pubs had shut. All the victims were.

The killer was disturbed and did not mutilate.

Was Kelly a Ripper Victim?

It is thought that Mary Kelly was not a Ripper victim for she alone of the Ripper victims was killed indoors. This proves nothing. It is thought that since she wasn’t strangled, her killer was someone other than the Ripper. It is thought that the mutilations this time seemed more amateurish and not the work of the Ripper who seemed to be skilled at slicing people up. The Ripper had the chance in most of the other locations to take the women into empty sheds and houses and slash them there. He didn’t because he didn’t feel the need.

Mary Kelly was so badly mutilated that she would have been better off having been run over by a train. She was the worst mutilated victim.

As stated before, the Ripper’s rage intensified with each victim. The mutilations got worse each time. For example, he savaged Catherine Eddowes’ face but went further with the next victim Kelly. His methods altered all the time. For example, he was careful doing some mutilations and careless doing others. If somebody had murdered Kelly and was trying to frame the Ripper why go to extremes to mutilate the woman? Surely cutting her throat and removing her womb and opening her abdomen would have been enough. Why would another killer take away the heart? Why not the uterus only as the Ripper might have done? He inserted Kelly’s left hand into her empty abdomen reminiscent of when he carefully put Annie Chapman’s left arm over her breast. He wished to leave signatures that it was really him. No other killer would have thought of this signature.

If the Kelly murder didn’t show much skill it was because the Ripper was in a frenzy.

Why did the Ripper who used to leave the women openly on display for quick discovery lock Kelly’s door? This delayed discovery. It may have been that the Ripper got a scare with the Stride and Eddowes’ murder and thought he had been seen.

Kelly was not strangled like the others though it does not rule out an attempt to strangle. She was attacked with a knife in her bed. She had undressed and lain beside somebody for she was attacked on the far side of the bed as if she had a guest beside her. She trusted her killer.

In this case the Ripper seems to have wanted to inflict pain or perhaps it was too dark to attempt to find her neck. Perhaps he knew that he could be heard in the rooms close by and above and decided to omit the strangulation for she would struggle. Better just to kill her quickly with the knife. With the other women, they were dead first and then he set about cutting them up. Possibly he changed his modus operandi because unlike the others he couldn’t get behind Kelly with her standing up. He probably made a mistake in putting his hand over her mouth and so she was still able to cry, “Oh Murder!” Had this not happened she would have been making as much noise as she could to raise the alarm. And then instead of trying to strangle her he just slashed her throat. The sheet was found to be full of knife holes as if it had been put over her face.

The Ripper didn’t use the pump next Kelly’s room to wash which reminds us of how he didn’t use the water tap in the yard where he killed Annie Chapman either.

One mystery with Catherine Eddowes is why when her neck was cut the artery didn’t make a big jet of blood (page 72, Jack the Ripper’s Black Magic Rituals). There were no spurts on the pavement or on the brickwork. Did the killer have his red neckerchief and use it to stop the spurts in case he would dirty his clothes? The red would have come in useful if he didn't want blood to be seen on his person!

The red neckerchief reminds us of the red handkerchief that Kelly’s killer gave her. The uproar over an earlier murder, Stride’s, started soon after these men saw the man and woman. The men must have soon heard that this murder had taken place. So why didn’t they go to the police with this description that very night?

The book, Jack the Ripper’s Black Magic Rituals, page 143 states that there is a 500 yard radius from a centre point which goes through the exact spots where Stride, Eddowes and Kelly were found. It says this was not a coincidence. The killer made sure there was some mark so show that he was the murderer. A perfect circle can be drawn with the three killing sites along the circumference.  But it is too imaginative a scheme and oddities like that can be found in most things.


All the five Ripper killings create mysteries and puzzles. That alone is enough to cause you to think that the women were killed by the one man. The Ripper had five known victims but I lean to six.  Tabram is a strong candidate.

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