1. Source A shows that the murder of Polly Nicholls was totally unprovoked and was the work of a ‘demented being’. It is an article describing the murders of both Polly Nicholls and Martha Tabram which say that both of the victims ‘have been of the poorest of the poor’ which might have been a more polite or formal way to describe prostitutes at that time. This meant that the killer didn’t really have any reasons or motives to kill them.
It says that the killer used an ‘excess of effort’ in each murder which meant that Jack the Ripper didn’t leave the body or flee straight away, he concentrated on the disfigurement of the corpse and creating carnage with the bloodbath. The source is only part of the article which could have included more gruesome details of the murder, the whereabouts, more about the victims and more about the location of east London. The source also says that the murders startled London, which shows that this was turning out to be the first serial killer case ever and brought great shock and fear to people in London. . Source C shows the report of the third victim, Elizabeth Stride.
The report suggests that the ripper spent a long time on the corpse. I can see this from the second sentence, ‘her legs were drawn up, her feet close against the wall of the right side of the passage’. It also shows the Jack the Ripper might have attempted to create some sort of image as it says ‘The right hand was open and on the chest’ and ‘The left hand, lying on the ground, was partially closed, and contained a small packet of cachous [breath fresheners] wrapped in tissue paper’.
This might have been an attempt of depicting some sort of image but to which no one has actually identified. It also shows that the Ripper adjusted his murders to his own accord and decapitated his victims with great precision which shows his great attention to detail. It also says that ‘In the neck there was a long incision which commenced on the left side, two and a half inches below the angle of the jaw, cutting the windpipe completely in two’ which supports Source A of the evidence that he put in an ‘excess of effort’ and he was also a demented being to inflict such atrocities.
Source C does support Source A because there were no motives therefore he had no reason to spend time on the body after murdering them. Had he left the body in a hurry or a rush, then there might have been a sign that he did have a motive and he wanted to escape. It also shows the ‘extraordinary violence’ that was used. I think Source C partly supports Source B because it says ‘there are no meaningless cuts (like in the Tabram murder)’, meaning that the Martha Tabram murder did have meaningless cuts which suggests that it could have been two different murderers.
Although Source B, part of the Coroner’s report of the death of Polly Nicholls says this about the Tabram murder it does support Source C where it says ‘the injuries have been made by someone who had considerable anatomical skill and knowledge’ which gives the idea that perhaps a doctor or someone in medical related could have committed this crime. It says that ‘no unskilled person could have known where to find the organs’ and eliminates the possibilities of the ripper being a butcher when it says ‘No mere slaughterer of animals could have carried out these operations’.
It also says that ‘it was done by one who knew where to find what he wanted’ which shows that his intentions were clear in the three of the sources. 3. Sources D and E are a few reasons why Jack the Ripper was never caught. Source D shows a witness, Elizabeth Long recalling the man Annie Chapman was talking to before her death, ‘He was dark complexioned and was wearing a deerstalker hat. I think he was wearing a dark coat but I cannot be sure’, this shows that if this was the man that was responsible for her death, he was hard to identify and was only seen by one witness which gave troubles to the police.
She claimed that the man was ‘over forty, as far as I could tell’, which shows that she didn’t see this man properly. She also adds that the man ‘seemed to be a bit taller than the deceased’. ‘He looked to me like a foreigner, as well as I could make out’ showing some more uncertainty of the witness. She goes on to say that ‘He looked what I should call shabby genteel’, which would probably mean a scruffy gentleman, but this probably wouldn’t help the police much for their search of the killer. Source D basically shows the limited amount of information the police had to work on.
Source E is an extract of an article published in a local newspaper after the murders of Polly Nicholls and Annie Chapman. This article was written in past tense so it is before the two murders but was published after them which can cause it to be biased in certain ways. ‘My informant demanded at that time that the police force on the spot should be strengthened and some kind of order created on the streets by night’, this shows that the person who wrote this claimed he had an informant who tried to persuade the police force to enhance their protection units at night but his attempts apparently didn’t pay off and didn’t make any impression.
The first murder quickly followed this and the police force should have paid attention to the streets regardless if the ‘informant’ was real or not. The source says that the ‘informant’ warned the police force yet again but it was again too late and Annie Chapman was murdered. Although this ‘informant could be made up, this source still shows that the police didn’t pay enough attention to what was going on at night and that they could’ve prevented the killings perhaps if they had more night patrols.
The source says at the end that ‘The main thoroughfares of Whitechapel are connected by a network of narrow, dark and crooked lanes’, and that ‘Everyone apparently containing some headquarters of infamy’, meaning the police ought to know where and if to strengthen their units, and in this case they should seeing as five grizzly murders took place in what was then a very notorious place. 4. Sources F and G show a few ways on how the police tried to catch Jack the Ripper. Source F shows that police were dependant on the public and had to rely on their information on the whereabouts of the killer.
The source is a leaflet and says ‘POLICE NOTICE’ and ‘TO THE OCCUPIER’ which shows that they must’ve distributed them to many or most of the households in Whitechapel. The source also relies on assumptions like ‘supposed by someone residing the immediate neighborhood’, this proves the lack of information they had on the ripper. This source also shows that the police didn’t find anything useful to the whereabouts or to who the ripper was because the leaflet was published after the fourth murder which meant they were in desperate need of some immediate details or specifics.
It also displays that they were very reliant on the help of the public, ‘Should you know of any person to whom suspicion is attached, you are earnestly requested to communicate at once with the nearest Police Station Metropolitan Police Office’. Source G is part of a letter from the Home Secretary to the Mile End Vigilance Committee about the discontinuation of rewarding certain individuals for the discovery of criminals. This source could’ve shown that the idea of rewarding people for their discovery of criminals was not favored by many because of possible shenanigans that other people played to their own advantage.
The letter said that ‘such offers of reward tended to produce more harm than good’, which could’ve meant that they were unsuccessful in receiving much help from the public, especially when most could’ve given the wrong information on the killer to get money. The ‘Secretary of State’ also probably considered that paying people to end the murders was too superficial and that putting an end to the murders altogether would be the justified reward.
These sources however, do not show all the ways they tried to catch Jack the Ripper; the police were very active, even though they didn’t have many leads. From studying Jack the Ripper I have learnt that the police interrogated each and every single suspect thoroughly but each result turned out to be disappointing and they were subsequently criticized by many, even Queen Victoria had vented her feelings to the prime minister, ‘This new most ghastly murder shows the absolute necessity for some very decided action. All these courts must be lit, and our detectives improved.
They are not what they should be’. I found out from my Jack the Ripper tour in Whitechapel that the police placed female dummies or figures in the small dark alleyways where they would think the ripper would most likely prey on his victims. These dummies had a mechanism to strike a blow to the malefactor which would give the police time to pounce him. They also hired detectives to dress as women making the Ripper think that they were young prostitutes; the detectives would bear protection around the neck and the stomach because of the Ripper’s tendencies.
They also trained a group of bloodhounds to search for Jack the Ripper but these dogs could not follow any scent seeing as the police force didn’t have any parts of the killer. It seemed as if the only hope for detectives and the police was any accidental clues that would be found which would help for more helpful conclusions. 5. I think that the statement, ‘The police were to blame for not capturing Jack the Ripper’ was very harsh on the police force but there were debatable decisions and methods they made that did bring suspicion to many.
Source H is part of an article published in ‘The Times’ after the murder of Mary Kelly, this is a great source to use when disagreeing with the statement above. It says that the murders were too perfect and that they were ‘carried out with a complete ruthlessness which altogether baffles investigators’. It also says that the inspectors had no hope because ‘Not a trace is left of the murderer, and there is no purpose in the crime to afford the slightest clue’ which shows the huge amount of difficulty the police force faced.
It then says that ‘All the police can hope is that some accidental circumstance will lead to a trace’ which goes to show that they were helpless and could only wait for something fortuitous to happen. Source I is useful to show how congested Whitechapel was and still is capable of being. The source is a map of the East End in 1888 showing the sites of the murders which show many alleyways and small streets which could have been the idealistic place for murders to take place; they were also pickup spots for many prostitutes.
When going there on the guided tour, I could confirm that the alleyways and streets did actually look like the suitable places for murders to occur. The area was and still is very dense, and many tramps and suspect figures littered the streets at night creating the very unwelcome and ominous atmosphere. Back in the Victorian days the streets of London were filled with fog which also added to their list of problems in the already overcrowded area of Whitechapel.
A huge problem for the police was that the Ripper seemed to be familiar with the area and knew his way around; this was proved when he killed Elizabeth Stride in Berner Street and then killed Catherine Eddowes in Mitre Square in mere ten minutes. The peculiar thing about this incident was that the police were patrolling Mitre Square and one constable went through at 1:30am and all was quiet, fourteen minutes later and only forty five minutes after the discovery of Elizabeth Stride’s body he came back and found the deceased lying in a pool of blood near some benches.
This may have raised a few eyebrows because even in a high maintenance area, the murder still occurred which could have given many people the idea that a member of the police could have committed the murder. Even more controversial events happened that night, when police discovered the chalked message ‘The Juwes are The men That Will not be Blamed For nothing’, which was about to be photographed as evidence when Sir Charles Warren, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police ordered it to be destroyed, causing great speculations on the Free Masons and Metropolitan Police having something to do with the crime or covering it up for some reason.
Source J shows a photograph of the back yard where Annie Chapman’s body was lying against the fence. The picture shows just how awful living conditions could be in the East End at those times, the door was wide open, the cellar door was open and it looked very easy to break into. This is of course where Jack the Ripper murdered her leaving her body to rot by the fence, the source is supportive of the fact that all households could be unsafe because he then murdered his final victim, Mary Jane Kelly on her own bed; this was to be the most horrific murder.
There were many other reasons I don’t think the police were to blame, one is that they were not popular around the area because of all the crime related incidents that occurred during the night, they were also dealing with the first serial killer of all time which would’ve definitely been a daunting prospect. Another vital reason is the fact that they did not bear the technology we have in the current time, finger printing was invented but not in effect because no one had registered their finger prints, and photographing was in its early stages.
But even with a lot of technology, someone like Jack the Ripper would be extremely hard to find, seeing as he murdered each victim with such precision and technique that many would be puzzled by. Judging by the sources, Jack the Ripper was a cruel and calculating murderer causing unrest amongst many and giving police a very bad name. Source A shows the effect that the Ripper had on the community and area, and also shows the ‘excess of effort’ he used which would continually puzzle the police.
Source B displays the details of one of his brutal murders, Polly Nicholls, this source suggests that the Ripper was trained in doctoring because there were no ‘meaningless cuts’. Source C is the report of the body of Elizabeth Stride, showing how Jack the Ripper focused on each detail. Source D is also useful to disagree with the statement above because it shows the vagueness of the description and how little they had to work on. Source E shows that the police should have been on guard more even though the ‘informant’ person could be made up, this agrees with the statement above.
Source F shows a very ineffective method of the police, which was to publish a police leaflet and post it to people’s accommodations, this supports the statement because it didn’t come to much effect. Even though it technically wasn’t the Police Force’s fault he got away with it, the confusing part is the cover up of the chalked writing the Ripper left, had it stayed, there might’ve been a different outcome seeing as it was a piece of evidence that the Police needed vitally and perhaps the police wouldn’t have been blamed so heavily and mount so much suspicion on themselves.