An intriguing question came up on our Jack the Ripper Tour last night. When we arrived at Dorset Street, where Mary Kelly was murdered on 9th November 1888, a gentleman on the walk asked how we could be 100% certain that Mary Kelly was a victim of Jack the Ripper.
The reason he asked the question was because, in his opinion, the mutilations to Mary Kelly’s body were different to those sustained by the other victims.
The quick, and off the cuff, answer to this very reasonable question is that, since Jack the Ripper was never caught, we can’t be certain about the precise number of victims and, therefore, can’t be 100% certain that Mary Kelly was definitely a ripper victim.
However, there is a consensus amongst experts on the case that she was a victim.
It is noticeable, when you chart the murders, that the ferocity of the mutilations increased with each successive murder. So, with Mary Nichols, who was murdered on 31st August 1888, , her throat had been cut and she had been disemboweled. With the next victim, Annie Chapman, who was murdered on 8th September 1888, the murderer not only mutilated her body in a similar fashion to Mary Nichols, he also removed the intestines and took away her womb.
There then followed a period of several weeks when no further murders occurred, probably on account of the increased police activity in the area and the formation of the vigilance patrols.
But then, in the early hours of 30th September 1888, Jack the Ripper returned and murdered twice in less than an hour. The body of his first victim that morning, Elizabeth Stride, was found in Berner Street at 1am. In this case it is likely that the killer was interrupted before he could perform his desired mutilations and, although he cut her throat, she suffered no abominable mutilations. The body of his second victim of the morning, Catherine Eddowes, was found in Mitre Square at 1.45am. She had been horribly mutilated. In addition to the abominable mutilations sustained by Mary Nichols and Annie Chapman, Catherine Eddowes had sustained horrific facial mutilations, plus her killer had gone of with part of her uterus and her left kidney.
So it is evident that the ferocity of the murders was increasing with each murder. But Mary Kelly’s murder was different in several respects. Firstly, his first four murders were carried out in outdoor locations where he might be interrupted at any moment and, therefore, speed was of the essence. However, Mary Kelly had her own room at 13 Miller’s Court so the need for speed was not necessary in her case. Because she was murdered in doors the killer was able to take his time and thus the injuries that she sustained were far worse than those suffered by the previous victims.
So, in answer to the question, Mary Kelly probably was a victim of Jack the Ripper and the reason that her injuries were more severe was because she was murdered in doors where the killer had more time to satisfy his lust for blood.