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The Murders Begin
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The Murders Begin
“The man must have been a perfect savage to inflict such a number of wounds on a defenseless woman in such a way”.
Mr G. Collier, Coroner in the Tabram case

ALL THE MURDERS associated with Jack the Ripper took place within a single square mile during a few months of 1888. All involved prostitutes, and nearly all involved some form of violent mutilation.

Very early on 3 April 188, EMMA SMITH, a friendless widow whose prostitution paid for her frequent drunkenness, was attacked on Brick Lane. Robbed of her earnings, she staggered back to her lodging house, badly cut and bruised about the head and bleeding internally. Before she died the following day in hospital, Smith implicated three men, perhaps a local gang, but no one was arrested. Her death attracted little attention.

MARTHA TABRAM too was a seedy prostitute with a liking for the bottle. She and a friend had been drinking with two soldiers until late on 6 August, when the couples separated to transact their business. She was found on a gloomy tenement staircase in a pool of blood caused by multiple stab wounds to her neck, chest and bode. Attempts to identify the soldiers failed and at that time, the case received scant mention in the newspapers. Some “Ripperologists” (students of the murders) believe Martha’s death to be the first of Jack the Ripper’s killings.

There is no such dispute about the murder of prostitute MARY (POLLY) NICHOLS. Having drunk away her lodging house “doss money” she had reeled off into the night to earn some more. Her body was found in the early hours of 31 August in Buck’s Row. Her throat had been cut and the lower body savagely ripped open. Despite the proximity of houses, watchmen and beat policeman, no one had heard a sound. At last, people of London‘s East End began to wake up to the horror in their midst. Baseless rumours spread that the murder possessed some surgical skill, and may have been left-handed.

Less than half a mile away, early on 8 September, ANNIE CHAPMAN was last seen alive haggling with a “customer” outside a lodging house in Hanbury Street. Half an hour later, her mutilated body was found in the back yard of the house. Again the throat was cut and the body gruesomely torn open. A saturated leather apron lay nearby. Of the 17 people who slept in the house, none had seen or heard anything untoward.

The Murders Begin

A mortuary picture of Martha Tabram.

The Murders Begin

The bushes on the the picture grow at the site of the Nichols murder in Bucks Row, now Durward Street.

The Murders Begin

Polly Nichols. No one heard her being viciously murdred.

The Murders Begin

A french artist’s impression of police making another tragic discovery.

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