Prostitution Kills

Mary Ann Nichols
Aged 43 years, 5’2″, dark complexion and graying brown hair. She had a normal life with a husband and five children until she supposed that an affair had taken place between her husband and their midwife. The marriage was finally broken up over that accusation and her drinking problem. After she was left in the streets without her family, she was suspected of living with another man and working the streets at night. When her husband learned of her money-earning practices, he completely cut her already scant allowance. She began to work back and forth between the Lambeth Workhouse and the Lambeth Infirmary. After a while she stayed with her father, but ended up ultimately working in the workhouses the rest of her life. On the night of her murder, Nichols needed money for her bed. She swore to the proprietor that she would go get his money and that he should hold her bed. She went out into the night with a bit of the drink in her and a “jolly bonnet” upon her head. This was the last time that she was seen alive.
This woman was fully capable of having a fulfilling life. Her troubles began with drinking and severe paranoia. Due to the fact that her children remained with their father after the separation and refused to know her afterwards suggests that she was a truly messed up individual. It is to her credit that she was always working, but her part-time position as a common whore for drinking money does nothing to suggest that she was in control of herself.

Annie Chapman
Aged 46 years, 5′ flat, pallid complexion and dark brown wavy hair. She marries late and bears three children. The marriage is mutually terminated (possibly for their drinking problems) and Annie becomes a street walker. She was allotted an allowance of 10 shillings a week until her husband’s death on Christmas of 1886. After that she had trouble maintaining a livelihood and supporting her alcohol consumption. She would sometimes get money from relatives, but it would be spent immediately and Annie would be right back on the streets. On the night of her murder she was expected to pay for her bed, but the money she had just obtained from relatives was already gone. She also told the proprietor to hold her bed and then set out.
It is significant that Annie was left in the yard of 29 Hanbury Street because it related to her regular bed number down the road. Possibly meaning that either the killer was aware of her preference or she was mildly superstitious. She was the first of the victims to have their abdomen cut and organs tampered with. This is unique for the fact that her estimated time of death was after sunrise in a busy yard.

Catherine Eddowes
Aged 46 years, 5′ flat and dark auburn hair. Her life was less traditional than the other girls. It wasn’t known if she was married to the father of her three children and, in any case, they broke up due to Kate’s drinking. For a short stint she served as her daughter’s nurse, but again drinking and mooching money caused her own daughter to kick her out. She eventually moved into Cooney’s lodging house and was said to have a jolly character. The man she was involved with wasn’t aware that she occasionally solicited men for booze money. She was considered an upstanding woman. On the night of her murder, Kate was arrested for being drunk in public and not an hour after she was released, her body was found mutilated in the street.
This murder has the same aspects that the previous two, but this time their are witnesses that claim to have seen the murderer. While it cannot be discerned whether or not that was the last man that she was with that night, it’s possible that the testimonies are worthless. Her murder proves that all the mutilations were done post-mortem and the depth of the slashes across her throat indicate that she wouldn’t have been able to scream. Only portions of organs were missing from her body.

Elizabeth Stride
Aged 45 years, 5’5″, pale complexion and dark brown curly hair. She was born in Sweden and was consistently a member of the church. Elizabeth marries an older man named Stride and they begin a business together. After the business is sold, Elizabeth makes up the story of being aboard the Princess Alice as it sank and losing her husband and children. This is all a ruse to elicit money from the church. When her husband does actually die several years later, she moves in with a man called Kidney for around three years. She normally made money through sewing and charring, Mr. Kidney, and part-time whoring. In fact, four years prior to her marriage she was legally considered a prostitute. On the night of her death there is also a witness. Unfortunately the man considered the actions as domestic violence and left it alone. Her body was found by a man with a horse and buggy. The horse shied away from the yard and continued acting strangely. This, and the temperature and lack of mutilation, suggests that the man that found the body was not alone in the courtyard. It’s speculated that the ripper was interrupted and that is why Catherine Eddowes was murdered latered in the same night.
As far as I can tell, Elizabeth is the only one that was considered a full-time holder of the position of slut. The police acknowledged it as fact. It is quite obvious that she was not what you would consider upperclass, but she did have a fair bit of schooling and was a kind-natured and clean woman.

Mary Jane Kelly
Aged 25 years, 5’7″, fair complexion and blonde hair. Mary did not fit the profile of the other victims. While she was a part-time streetwalker, she was really young, rather tall, and her hair was blonde. On top of that, there is no record of her past. The only truth to be known from everything said about her is that she was born in Ireland and married once. Around three years into that marriage the man blew up. After the accident Kelly went to stay with a cousin and live as a prostitute. Another difference would be that she was actually attractive enough to secure a place in a brothel. She stays in a home in the West End for a while with a richer set of people. This is where some say she acquired such high airs about herself. A bit of bad luck with the drink and she’s stuck in the East End. There she meets with a man that stays with her in a single room in Miller’s Court. They were content in this place until Kelly began harboring other prostitutes. Barnett couldn’t take it anymore and left her. Stepping up her whoring game, Kelly was thought to have brought a man back to the room with her where he murdered her. Her body was only discovered because of her late rent.
Many things about Kelly’s death are inconsistent with the normal pattern of a Jack killing. This is the only one that was not on the street. She was so mutilated over her entire body that she was barely discernable as human. External parts were removed, her face hacked, and part of her ears chopped off. Her abdomen was completely open and the organs had been taken out and arranged around and under her body. Her thighs were hacked to the bone. This is said to be Jack the Ripper’s final killing due to the fact that it was so extensively done that nothing could top it. It is possible that the killer finally had time to complete his work and be satisfied.

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One Response to “Prostitution Kills”

  1. I agree with your thoughts about Mary Kelly. Besides Liz Stride, Mary Kelly is the most debated “victim.” Why inside? Why so much mutilation? Why the “positioning” of parts? Why the automatic assumption that she was a Jack victim? Why did the killings stop after her?

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