Forbes Winslow

In the previous blog we mentioned the letters that were received by Dr Forbes Winslow and Mr Albert Bachert in October 1889, all of which purported to have come from the perpetrator of the Whitechapel Murders.

The reason they were singled out by the letter writers was that they had both been mentioned extensively in the press in the wake of the two murders that had taken place over the summer and early autumn of 1889 – Alice Mackenzie and the unknown woman who is listed as “The Pinchin Street Torso.”


One article, that mentioned them both, appeared in The Illustrated Police News on September 28th 1889.

It read:-

“A report having been current that a man has been found who is quite convinced that “Jack the Ripper” occupied rooms in his house and that  he had communicated his suspicions in the first instance to Dr. Forbes Winslow, together with detailed particulars, a reporter had an interview with the doctor on Thursday afternoon on the subject.


“Here are Jack the Ripper’s boots”, said the doctor, at the same time taking a large pair of boots from under his table.

“The tops of these boots are composed of ordinary cloth material, while the soles are made of India rubber. The tops have great bloodstains on them.”

An illustration of Jack the Ripper's boots.
Jack The Ripper’s Boots. From The Illustrated Police News. Copyright, The British Library Board.

The reporter put the boots on, and found they were completely noiseless.

Besides these noiseless coverings the doctor says he has the “Ripper’s” walking boots’, which are very dirty, and the man’s coat, which is also blood stained.


Proceeding, the doctor said that on the morning of August 30th a woman, with whom he was in communication, was spoken to by a man in Worship Street, Finsbury.

An illustration showing the ripper trying to lure his victim into the court.
The Ripper Tries To Lure His Victim. From The Illustrated Police News. Copyright, The British Library Board.

He asked her to come down a certain Court with him, offering her £1.

This she refused, he then doubled the amount, which she also declined.

He next asked her where the court led to, and afterwards left.

She told some neighbours, and they followed the man for some distance.

Apparently he did not know that he was being followed, but when he and the party had reached the open street he turned around, raised his hat and, with an air of bravado, said, “I know what you have been doing. Good morning!”


The woman then watched the man go into a certain house, the situation of which the doctor would not describe.

She had previously noticed the man because of his strange manner, and on the morning on which the woman Mackenzie was murdered (July 17th) she saw him washing his hands in the yard of the house referred to.

He was in his shirt sleeves at the time, and had a very peculiar look upon his face. This was about 4 o’clock in the morning.

The susspect is witnessed washing his hands by a woman.
Washing His hands at 4am. From The Illustrated Police News. Copyright, The British Library Board.


The doctor said he was now waiting for a certain telegram, which was the only obstacle to his effecting the man’s arrest.

The supposed assassin lived with a friend of Dr Forbes Winslow’s, and this gentleman himself told the doctor that he had noticed the man’s strange behaviour.

He would at times sit down and write fifty or sixty sheets of manuscript about low women, for whom he proffessed to have a great hatred.

The suspect shown writing at a table.
He Writes About His Hatred Of Loose Women. From The Illustrated Police News. Copyright, The British Library Board.


Shortly before the body was found in Princhin-street the other day the man disappeared, leaving behind him the articles already mentioned, together with a packet of manuscript, which he said was in exactly the same handwriting as the Jack the Ripper letters which were sent to the police.

He had stated previously that he was going abroad, but a very few days before the body [the Pinchin Street Torso] was discovered (September 10th) he was seen in the neighbourhood of Pinchin-street.


The doctor is certain that this man is the Whitechapel murderer, and that two days at the utmost will see him in custody.

He could give a reason for the head and the legs of the last murdered woman being missing. The man he thinks, cut the body up, and meant to burn it. He had consumed the head and legs when his fit of the terrible mania passed, and he was horrified to find what he had done.


“I know for a fact”, said the doctor, “that this man is suffering from a violent form of religious mania, which attacks him and passes off at intervals. I am certain that there is another man in it besides the one I am after, but my reasons for that I cannot state. The police will have nothing to do with the capture. I am making arrangements to station six men round the spot where I know my man is, and he will be trapped.”

The public had laughed at him, the doctor went on to say, but on the Tuesday before the last body was discovered he had received information that a murder would be committed in two or three days.

In conclusion Dr. Winslow remarked, “I am as certain that I have the murderer as I am of being here.”


The chairman of the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee, Mr Albert Backert, stated that the police at Leman-street station, having received a letter stating that it has been ascertained that a tall woman has for some time been working at different slaughterhouses, as a man, searching enquiries have been made at the slaughter houses in Aldgate and Whitechapel by the police.

It is presumed that this has something to do with the recent Whitechapel murders, and it has given rise to a theory that the victims may have been murdered by a woman.

It is remarked that in each case there is no evidence of a man having being seen in the vicinity at the time of the murders.”