By April, 1895, it was more than apparent that the Jack the Ripper atrocities had ceased in the East End of London. Of course, the question that everyone wanted to be answered was, what had actually become of the miscreant who had inflicted a reign of terror on the people of the East End of London throughout the autumn of 1888.
Many people were wondering if, perchance, he may have decided to leave London and gone somewhere else and continued his crimes in another city, or possibly even in another country.
As a consequence, throughout the 1890’s any murder or attack that happened anywhere in the world was closely scrutinised by the Victorian newspapers for any evidence that it might spell the return of the Whitechapel murderer.
A MURDER IN SPAIN
In April, 1895, a homicide that bore many of the hallmarks of a ripper style crime was reported as having been carried out in Spain, and the newspapers were quick to ponder whether or not this gruesome crime could have been carried out by the same man who had terrorised the East End of London seven years before.
The Sheffield Evening Telegraph broke the story of the Spanish atrocity in its edition of Tuesday, 9th April 1895:-
JACK THE RIPPER IN SPAIN
A SHEPHERDESS FOUND MURDERED
“A panic prevails among the women of the Pola de Lena district of the Asturias, owing to a terrible and mysterious crime that has been perpetrated there.
A few days ago, a shepherdess named Rosa Fernandez (23), and very prepossessing, was reported to be missing. Her flock of sheep had returned alone to the village.
A search was made, and the remains of the girl were found on the mountainside, her head severed from the trunk, many dagger wounds in the chest, and the lower portion of the body mutilated in a terrible manner, the murderer, as in the case of the Whitechapel criminal, having carried away a portion of the mutilated remains.
On the same day that the unfortunate girl’s body was discovered, another woman who was working in the fields was suddenly assaulted by a man, who afterwards drew a dagger and attempted to murder her.
She offered a strong resistance, and, since her cries attracted notice, the would-be murderer fled.
He was pursued for some distance, but he managed to escape his pursuers.
It is believed that the same man is responsible for both crimes. He is described as a foreigner, with fair hair, and dressed as a miner.”
WAS IT THE RIPPER?
Throughout the following week, newspapers across the country picked up on the story and alerted their readers to the fact that the Whitechapel murderer may well have re-emerged in Spain.
However, this particular scare proved to be a short-lived one as, by the third week in April, the news was reaching England that the man responsible for this heinous crime had in fact been arrested and identified.
THE SUSPECT ARRESTED
The Dublin Evening Telegraph gave details of his arrest in its edition of Saturday 20th April, 1895:-
“The man arrested the other day near Pola de Wena, in the Asturias, on suspicion of being the Spanish “Jack the Ripper” has been fully identified as the miscreant wanted by the police.
He is a native of a mountain village, and has occasionally worked as a miner.
Besides the outrage, murder, and mutilation of a young girl, and the attempt to murder another woman on the same day, he is charged already with five other outrages upon women whom he surprised in the fields.
Other charges will probably be preferred against him.”
THE PRESS LOST INTEREST
And thereafter the newspapers appear to have lost interest in the case, leaving their readers – and those of us who would now like to know more about the case – none the wiser as to the identity of the murderer, nor about the motives behind his carrying out such as horrific crime.