The Escape From Buck’s Row

One of the questions that any investigation into the Jack the Ripper crimes inevitably throws up is, how did the Whitechapel murderer escape from the scenes of his atrocities?


The latest video on our YouTube Channel, look into the possible routes he took when he fled the scene of the murder of Mary Nichols on August 31t 1888.


At the inquest into the death of Mary Nichols, the coroner, Wynne Edwin Baxter, gave an idea of the route that he thought the killer had taken to make his escape from Buck’s Row:-

“It seems astonishing at first thought that the culprit could have escaped detection, for there must surely have been marks of blood about his person.

If, however, blood was principally on his hands, the presence of so many slaughter-houses in the neighbourhood would make the frequenters of this spot familiar with blood-stained clothes and hands, and his appearance might in that way have failed to attract attention while he passed from Buck’s Row in the twilight into Whitechapel Road, and was lost sight of in the morning’s market traffic.”


If the killer did head for Whitechapel Road, having carried out the murder, then he could indeed have lost himself in the early morning traffic, for, contrary to what is often said about it, it would have been a very busy thoroughfare at that time of the morning.

Lumbering waggons were bringing hay in from Est Anglia to be sold at the very busy hay market on Whitechapel High Street.

Produce was being brought in for sale at the equally boisterous market on Commercial Street in Spitalfields.

And, of course, there were hundreds of people who, just like Charles Cross, the man who found the body of Mary Nichols, were walking to work in the City of London, or its surrounding streets.

Jack the Ripper could, therefore, have lost himself amongst these people, and, since nobody was looking for him, he probably wouldn’t have drawn that much suspicion to himself.

A view along Whitechapel Road.
Whitechapel Road.


People often point out that he would have been covered with blood, so surely the bloodstains would have drawn attention to him.

But, as the coroner pointed out, there were numerous slaughterhouses in the area that would have worked through the night, and their employees would have been heading home after their night shifts, many of them in bloodstained clothing.

So a killer with bloodstains on him would most certainly have not stood out from the slaughtermen who people wee used to seeing in the district.