Jack The Ripper And The Catgut Noose

As Christmas 1888 approached, debate was raging in the newspapers as to whether the recent murder of Rose Mylett had been carried out by the perpetrator of the previous Whitechapel murders.

The coffin of Rose Mylett.
Viewing The Coffin of Rose Mylett.


The Newcastle Daily Chronicle, in its edition of Monday the 24th of December, 1888, opined that this latest murder might provide a solution as to why no cries or screams had been heard in the case of the previous victims:-

“Strange are the surmises to which the latest exploit of the London man-fiend has given rise.

At daybreak on Thursday morning, the body of a wretched woman was found at the bottom of a cul-de-sac in the East End of London, distant about half a mile or so from the scene of the previous midnight horrors.


A careful examination of the remains is now thought to indicate that the miserable creature was murdered by means of a catgut noose deftly thrown round her throat and manipulated so as to induce quick strangulation.

Except in so far as there has been no use of the knife, the circumstances of the assassination are identical with those of the recent Whitechapel crimes, and there seems great reason to fear that  Jack the Ripper” has once more been upon the war-path.

Dread of interruption on the part of the demoniac might account for the absence of cutting and mutilation in this case.


It is now supposed that strangulation by means of a catgut noose has been the first step in the case of every victim claimed by the assassin.

The surmise accounts for the fact that in no single instance was any screaming heard, even by people quite close at hand, and the procedure would also permit the murderer so to place himself when using the knife as to avoid serious soilment with blood.

All trace of the strangulation would, of course, be destroyed when the victim’s throat was cut.


From this belief, which is now held by persons who have had opportunities of closely investigating the circumstances of each murder, proceeds a clue  – very vague and indeterminate, it is true – as to the nationality of the prowling demon.

Several circumstances previously known have pointed to the possibility of an American origin of the outrages.

The famous letters were distinctly transatlantic in phraseology; and it is remembered that a similar series of murders, accompanied by mutilation, occurred in one of the Southern States, a few years ago.


The use of a catgut noose by the assassin points in the same direction.

A like appliance is used extensively in America by police officers for binding the wrists of refractory prisoners. It is more easily applied than the familiar “snips” of Britain, and it is certainly more effectual.

A rough handcuffed by a catgut noose can only continue resistance at the cost of agonising pain, and whether or not he has a bad time of it en route to the police station depends entirely upon his good behaviour.

Possibly there may be nothing in these surmises of transatlantic influence, but where not the smallest direct evidence as to the personality of so desperate a criminal is to be obtained, slight indications must not be passed over without notice.”