I was asked an intriguing question last night on a tour. We had arrived at the site of Miller’s Court, where Mary Kelly, the last victim of Jack the Ripper, was murdered on 9th November 1888. I had just finished summing up the horrific mutilations she had suffered at the hands of the ripper when a gentleman in the group raised his hand.
Now on my Jack the Ripper Tour I positively encourage questions and debate. In fact I would go so far as to say that I thrive on it. It keeps the mind active and stops the tour from
becoming stale and repetitive.
So when a gentleman put his hand up I paused hear the question, which was “how can we be certain that Mary Kelly was a victim of Jack
the Ripper since the modus operandi seems different to the other victims.”
What a great question.
We can’t be sure. I always begin my Jack the Ripper walk by warning
people that the one certainty about Jack the Ripper is that nothing is certain. This is particularly true with regard to how many of the Whitechapel Murders were actually carried out by the same killer. Since Jack the Ripper was never caught we’ll never know for certain how many victims he had.
My own belief is that Mary Kelly was a victim of Jack the Ripper. The murders definitely increased in brutality as they progressed. When he murdered Catherine Eddowes in Mitre Square on 30th September he targeted her face and in aan attack that was far more frenzied than his previous killings.
Mary Kelly differed from the other victims in that she had her own room. In other words he had privacy and so there wasn’t the danger that had been present in the previous murders, all of which were carried out in public places, that he could be interrupted at any moment.
Thus with Mary Kelly he was able to indulge his blood lust to the full which is why she was far more severely mutilated than the other victims and hence the modus operandi seems different.