After careful study in class, I have come to the conclusion that the canonical five may not have all been victims of Jack the Ripper. I specifically have issues with Elizabeth Stride and Mary Jane Kelly (more so with Stride).
First, the M.O. of Strides perpetrator was different than Nichols, Chapman, and Eddowes. For example, the three other victims killed outside showed signs of strangulation before their throats were cut. It is believed that this was a very important part of the rippers ritual because it silenced his victims, making them unable to attract attention. Second, it unknown if the horse/witness actually startled the assailant away or if he was already gone when the carriage arrived. Conflicting witness accounts make it very difficult to find an accurate description of Strides assailant. Furthermore, the likelihood that a disorganized perpetrator would be scared away from a body and then venture back out to claim a second victim during the same night within an hour is very unlikely.
In regards to Mary Jane Kelly- could she too have been a victim with a different killer? The harm done to the body and circumstances were markedly different than other victims. The mutilation to the body was far worse and her murder was the only one that took place inside. It can be convincingly argued that Kelly led him to her room, whereas the other victims led the ripper to a secluded place. This would fit with the assumption that the ripper was led to quiet places primarily because women knew where they would encounter little disturbance from police. Since Kelly was the only full time prostitute, it would make sense that she was the only women whose secluded spot was an actual room. But how then do we account for the elevated nature of the attack in comparison to others? It is possible that the ripper behaved differently due to his new environment. Could he have, like many suggest, had a mental break? Or was it perhaps another perpetrator all together, such as Joseph Barnett?
I couldn’t post this without touching on these questions regarding the different nature of Mary Jane Kelly’s murder. However, I do believe that Kelly is much more likely to have been a victim of the ripper than Elizabeth Stride.