A Woman Named Lyons

The murder of Jack the Ripper victim Annie Chapman took place in Hanbury Street, Spitalfields on the morning of the 8th of September, 1888.

By this time the area as a whole was falling victim to a mixture of panic and excitement, and crowds were flocking to the scene of the crime in order to learn what they could about the murder of Annie Chapman.

A view of the facade of 29 Hanbury Street where the body of Jack the Ripper victim Annie Chapman was found.
29 Hanbury Street


Meanwhile, it had become public knowledge that the police were searching for a mysterious and sinister character who had been dubbed “Leather Apron” by the local streetwalkers. This man was, apparently conducting a menacing campaign of extortion and intimidation amongst them, and he was, most certainly, in today’s parlance, “a person of interest” as far as the police were concerned.

People were flocking to Commercial Street Police Station in order to give any information that they could, and journalists were hanging around the station in the hope that they might glean some information bout the crimes and suspects.

One reporter happened to overhear something that was detailed in several newspapers over the next few days:-


One special representative in pursuing his investigations last night heard in the presence of the police a statement which perhaps ought not to be altogether dismissed as unworthy of notice.

The informant was a young woman named Lyons of the class commonly known as unfortunates.

She stated that at three o’clock yesterday afternoon she met a strange man in Flower and Dean Street, one of the worst streets in the East End of London.


He asked her to go to the Queen’s Head public house at half-past six and drink with him.

Having obtained from the young woman a promise that she would do so, he disappeared but was at the house at the appointed time.

While they were conversing, Lyons noticed a large knife in the man’s right-hand trousers’ pocket, and she called another woman’s attention to the fact.

A view of the sign of the Pub reading "The Queen's head."
The Sign For The Former Queen’s Head Pub


A moment later Lyons was startled by a remark which the stranger addressed to her:- “You are about the same style of woman as the one that’s murdered.”

“What do you know about her?”, asked the woman, to which the man replied, “You are beginning to smell a rat. Foxes hunt geese, but they don’t always find them.”

Having uttered these words, the man hurriedly left.


Lyons followed until near Spitalfleld’s Church, and turning round at this spot and noticing that the woman was behind him, the stranger ran at a swift pace into Church Street and he was at once lost to view.


One noteworthy fact in this story is that the description of the man’s appearance is in all material points identical with the published description of the unknown and up to the present undiscovered “Leather Apron.”