Jack The Ripper In Jamaica

Although it is the general consensus today that the Jack the Ripper murder spree ended with the death of Mary Kelly on the 9th of November, 1888, the people who actually lived through the horror of the Whitechapel murders did not have that luxury of hindsight.

Indeed, murders continued right up until the murder of Frances Coles, which occurred on the 13th of February, 1891, so it would be several years before the ghost of Jack the Ripper was finally put to rest in the public imagination.

The scene at he murder of Frances Coles.
The Frances Coles Murder Site, 1892. Copyright, The British Library Board.


Throughout late 1888 and early 1889 newspapers the world over were on the lookout for any murders that might suggest that the killer had returned; and, on Wednesday the 13th of February, 1889, The Fife Herald published a story which suggested that the perpetrator of the recent atrocities may well have resumed his murderous activities in Jamaica:-


The crews of the various steamers plying between New York and Kingston, Jamaica, are telling fearful stories of crimes committed in Spanish town, a village near Kingston, which to their minds unquestionably indicate that Jack the Ripper has gone from England to Jamaica.

The first of a series of diabolical and mysterious murders took place on the 28th of November 1888, in St Catharine’s parish, a few miles distant from Spanish Town.


The victim was a woman of the lowest and most vicious class, whose name has never been discovered.

She was found early the morning lying by the roadside, her throat cut from ear to ear, her cheeks, nose, and forehead slashed in a manner that would indicate it to be the work a skilful butcher.

The body was mutilated exactly as had been done in the London cases.


If anything further had been needed to make the horror-stricken crowd attribute the crime to the Whitechapel murderer it was found on a card pinned to the unfortunate woman’s body by the blade of a small penknife.

The card bore this inscription:- “Jack the Ripper. Fourteen more, then I quit.”


On the morning of the 13th December, in a field, lying by and partially concealed under an old shed, was found a second body.

In this case the woman was a notorious creature of the lowest class  called “Mag.” Her wounds were of the same nature as those inflicted upon the other.

The field in which the corpse was discovered was scarcely a mile distant from the scene of the first murder.

The authorities made a hurried investigation, and buried the body as speedily as possible, giving no one an opportunity to examine it.


No mention of the crimes was made in the newspapers at the time, the officials endeavouring by every means in their power to hush the matter up and have it talked about as little as possible.

No trace was ever found of the murderer, and it was forgotten save by a few of the wretched women who belong to that class among which the unfortunates moved.


The third body was found on the Friday before New Year’s Day. This time the newspapers were compelled to notice the discovery.

The scene of this third murder was about midway between the places where the former discoveries had been made, and the sailors insist that the crime was in every way analogous to the others.