It is bizarre how, by Christmas 1888, so many cases were appearing before the London courts – and at courts throughout the country for that matter – in which people had, either whilst drunk or in anger, had made the bold claim that they were the infamous Whitechapel murderer.
Indeed, it is a mark as to just how much the name Jack the Ripper had managed to embed itself in the national consciousness, to read how people from all works of life were, apparently, using the name in all sorts of situations.
The Weekly Dispatch (London), in its edition of Sunday the 23rd of December, 1888, carried the story of one such case:-
JACK THE RIPPER’S WIFE
“At the Thames Police Court, Margaret Kennedy, thirty-three, was charged with attempting to maliciously cut and wound William Keen, a fishmonger.
William Keen, fishmonger, of 72, Crisp-street, St. George’s in the East, said that at half-pest ten o’clock on the Friday night he was standing at his door, speaking to a tradesman, when the prisoner came up like a mad woman.
She proceeded to pick up the haddocks, threw them at him, and said that she was going to have his blood for sleeping with her the night before and not paying her. She tried to pull the board down to get into the shop, but he held one corner and another tradesman the other.
SHE TOOK A KNIFE
She then went to a stall, took up a knife, and rushed at him with it, making a thrust at him across the board, but he stepped back out of the way of it.
She then attempted to throw the knife at him, at which point a constable came up, pinned her arms behind her, and took the knife from her.
POLICE CONSTABLE EVANS’S TESTIMONY
Police-constable Sidney Evans, 240 H, said that:-
“On the Friday night I saw the prisoner outside the last witness’s shop, and I saw her pick up two or three haddocks and throw them at him.
She then picked up a knife and made a blow at him over the board.
I ran round and seized hold of both her arms from behind.
She proceeded to throw the knife on the stall, saying, “I am Jack the Ripper’s wife, and dead men tall no tales!”
In answer to Mr. Lushington, the constable said that if the prosecutor had not drawn back quickly he would have been stabbed.
WELL KNOWN AS A DANGEROUS CHARACTER
The prisoner was well known to the police as a dangerous character, and he believed that she was a returned convict, but had not sufficient time to make inquiries about her.
Mr Lushington remanded the prisoner pro forma for committal.”