Jack the Ripper Source Analysis Coursework

Table of Content

The newspaper establishes a connection between the two murders by emphasizing their shared attributes.

The connection between the two recent murders suggests that they occurred within the same time frame. Both victims were from the lowest social class and had no valuable possessions, leading to an unknown motive for each killing. The article emphasizes the extreme violence used in the murders, which shocked the city of London. However, it is important to approach the information provided in source A cautiously, as newspapers often sensationalize stories to attract more readers.

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2) Is there support from Source C for the evidence presented in Sources A and B regarding the Ripper Murders? Please explain your answer. Source C provides a thorough description of Elizabeth Stride’s body. It remains objective and informative, solely stating observational facts. On the other hand, Sources A and B are more persuasive and speculative, as they both propose theories about the killer’s characteristics and motives.

Source B suggests that the murderer possesses a significant level of anatomical expertise. This viewpoint is partially corroborated by Source C, as indicated by Dr Blackwell’s use of the term ‘incision’, which also implies the murderer’s skill. Furthermore, Source C’s depiction of the cut reveals the clear intentions of the killer: to immediately silence and ultimately kill the victim by swiftly slicing across the windpipe. This reinforces the coroner’s belief that the murderer does not make any superficial or pointless cuts.

Both Source A and Source B describe the level of brutality in the way the victims were killed. Source A mentions “extraordinary violence” while Source B discusses the murderer’s ability to “find” them.

While Source C does not reference the gruesome removal of organs like Source B, it does describe a less violent act of slitting a throat. This act does not seem extraordinary or excessively violent to me. In contrast, Source B suggests that the murderer is not a mere animal slaughtering individual, but animals are often killed with a quick, sharp cut along the throat, similar to what was done to Elizabeth Stride. Hence, it is possible that the killer was someone accustomed to slaughtering animals. Source A, aiming to elicit sympathy from the readers, emphasizes the vulnerability of the victims.

Source C provides limited support for this perspective. The mention of breath fresheners packaged in tissue paper found in Stride’s hand contributes to her portrayal as feminine and innocent, rendering her more susceptible in the eyes of the audience. Additionally, the absence of money on the body lends credence to the newspaper article’s claim that the victims were impoverished.

However, there is also a negative interpretation that suggests Stride may have been robbed, with theft being the motive for her murder. In such a scenario, it is likely that the killer took all of her money. Alternatively, if theft wasn’t the motive, there might still have been some loose change on her body. Overall, Source C’s depiction of the murder doesn’t align neatly with those in Sources A and B. Although similarities were mentioned earlier, significant disagreements exist as well. Additionally, Sources D and E may not aid in understanding how the Ripper eluded capture. Elizabeth Long appears to have no ulterior motives for providing evidence since she didn’t receive any reward.

However, her evidence has limited utility to the police due to her uncertainty about its accuracy. She often expresses doubt, using phrases like ‘he seemed…

‘ throughout her testimony. Despite being unhelpful to the police, the information provided by Long is valuable in understanding why the Ripper was able to evade capture. Initially, the characteristics that Long observed could be attributed to any man in the Whitechapel area, particularly her perception of him appearing like a ‘foreigner’, as many residents in Whitechapel were immigrants, allowing the Ripper to easily blend in. Furthermore, Long did not perceive the situation as suspicious enough to stay and potentially witness the murder firsthand.

The fact that the Ripper targeted prostitutes resulted in people ignoring their activities, making it difficult for the police to find leads. Source E, a newspaper article, has a clear bias by sensationalizing the story and referring to Whitechapel as an ‘apocalypse of evil’.

Despite removing the more imaginative descriptions, Whitechapel had certain features that would undoubtedly facilitate the Ripper’s getaway after a crime. The area had numerous obscure and winding lanes where one could easily hide, even carry out a murder, without being detected. The article suggests that Whitechapel was a disorderly and lawless place characterized by brazen acts of delinquency. Consequently, it would pose a challenge for the police to identify suspects as everyone engaged in unlawful behavior, making everyone appear suspicious.

Searching for the Ripper in this chaotic situation is comparable to searching for a needle in a haystack. The article further accuses the police of negligence, holding them responsible for the disorder in Whitechapel. It asserts that the police force…

The article emphasizes the necessity of enhancing and structuring the police force. It underscores that despite receiving information from an informant regarding possible murders, the police failed to respond efficiently in every office. This suggests that it is the responsibility of the police for these killings as they neglected to take preventive measures against criminal activities in Whitechapel. Additionally, it highlights their apathy towards the area’s circumstances and lack of drive to tackle its issues.

This article suggests that the police faced challenges in apprehending Jack the Ripper due to negative public perception, particularly among the working class. The task was further complicated by the difficult nature of Whitechapel and its residents. Negligence on the part of the police would have made it easier for Jack the Ripper to escape capture. Sources F and G, along with personal knowledge, can offer insights into the strategies used by the police in attempting to catch him. It is important to note that as a new organization, the Metropolitan Police was not experienced in dealing with crimes like this.

Prior to that period, policemen primarily focused on upholding street order and preventing crime through routine patrols in designated areas known as “beats.” However, Jack’s assaults led to an increased frequency of these patrols. Nonetheless, the police force struggled with effectively identifying and apprehending criminals. Despite having a Criminal Intelligence Department consisting of approximately 300 detectives, it was insufficiently developed and lacked established protocols.

According to Source F, the police were ill-prepared for the immense task of finding the Ripper. The police heavily relied on witnesses for information, as shown in the leaflets that were printed in desperation. These leaflets, of which 80,000 were printed, asked for information on anyone who was suspected. However, no definitive characteristics were given about how the suspicious person might look or behave, indicating that the police had found no solid clues leading to the murderer despite three murders.

Without sufficient evidence, the police were forced to employ various methods in order to gather information on the Ripper. This involved distributing leaflets, inquiring at lodging houses, and interrogating individuals whom they deemed to be suspicious. They specifically targeted butchers, slaughterers, and sailors. Strangely enough, they did not question any doctors – despite the Coroner’s belief that the murderer had knowledge of human anatomy.

The police’s belief was that the Ripper resided in the vicinity of Whitechapel, despite the possibility of men from other parts of London seeking prostitution in the East End. Moreover, if the murderer happened to be a doctor, they could have had sufficient means to reside in a wealthier area within the city. Furthermore, as stated by the home secretary, the police refrained from offering rewards to informants due to concerns about potential adverse effects.

Instead of utilizing conventional methods, the police opted for unconventional strategies in their pursuit of the Ripper. One such strategy involved employing bloodhounds to track the Ripper’s scent, despite the absence of any scent for them to trace. Another tactic entailed a policeman assuming the guise of a prostitute with hopes of apprehending the Ripper, although his disguise failed to deceive anyone. This led some members of the public to believe that the police investigation was inadequate and prompted them to form the Mile End Vigilance Committee. The committee took it upon themselves to conduct their own search for the Ripper and even composed a letter addressed to the home secretary requesting a reward for any valuable information (Source G).

Some people believed that the police did not put enough effort into investigating the Ripper. Despite being overwhelmed and making questionable decisions, the police made a notable but unsuccessful attempt to solve the case. Question 5 seeks your opinion on whether you agree with the idea that “the police were responsible for failing to capture Jack the Ripper.” Please use the sources and your own knowledge to provide an explanation.

To solely attribute the failure to apprehend the Ripper to the police would be unjust. While it was indeed their duty to capture the killer, numerous external factors posed immense challenges that impeded their efforts. The very nature of the crimes, characterized by random serial killings of prostitutes without any discernible motive (Source A), proved to be particularly obstructive for law enforcement.

Finding links between the victims and the murderer proved to be a difficult task. The police faced challenges in predicting the next victim, particularly due to the large number of unregistered prostitutes in Whitechapel. Regrettably, the police mishandled the few connections they had. They mistakenly focused on the idea that the Ripper was an animal slaughterer, despite the Coroner’s belief that the Ripper had medical knowledge and was not simply an animal killer (Source B).

Although the police did not investigate any doctors, they believed that the killer was living in the immediate neighborhood without any evidence. Nevertheless, if the police had not made these errors, it wouldn’t have been easier to catch the Ripper. Due to limited resources, the police couldn’t investigate all regions of London and required evidence to convict a suspect found at the crime scene.

During the 1880’s, forensic science was underdeveloped, causing the police to face unfortunate circumstances. They lacked the necessary technology to collect convictable evidence like DNA or fingerprints and were unable to distinguish between human and animal blood. Consequently, if they discovered blood on a suspect’s possessions or clothing, they couldn’t establish its connection to a victim. In Source C, Dr Blackwell assesses Elizabeth Stride’s temperature by feeling it with his hands, determining it to be “quite warm”.

The time of death of victims was determined based on inaccurate measurements, resulting in conflicting estimates from different doctors and witness testimonials. This led to confusion for the police, although it was not their fault. The police had two options to convict the Ripper: catching him red-handed or getting him to confess in person, both of which seemed unlikely. The police were experienced in walking the streets and detecting crime in Whitechapel. They patrolled different areas, hoping to spot the Ripper. For example, one policeman walked past Mitre Square just two minutes before Catherine Eddowes’ body was found there, while another found the body during his reverse beat. This demonstrates the high level of police activity and presence in Whitechapel.

Regrettably, the police’s attempts to apprehend the Ripper were ineffective due to the construction of Whitechapel. The area was filled with narrow, dark, and crooked alleyways (Source E), providing ample hiding places for the Ripper and allowing him to evade the police’s watchful eyes. Additionally, the streets lacked sufficient lighting, limiting the officers’ visibility to only what their lanterns illuminated. Consequently, the police were not at fault for their inability to detect the Ripper during their patrols.

The government must bear the heaviest responsibility for Jack the Ripper’s escape because it allowed Whitechapel to sink into abject poverty. The prevalence of prostitutes in the area is evidence of this. If the government had provided shelter or other employment opportunities for vulnerable women like Polly Nichols, who resorted to solicitation to afford accommodation, such deaths could have been prevented. Furthermore, there would have been fewer prostitutes on the streets, making it easier for law enforcement to monitor and protect them. The overwhelming number of prostitutes in Whitechapel hindered the police’s ability to safeguard them and anticipate the Ripper’s next target.

To sum up, the police cannot be held solely responsible for the obstacles they faced during the investigation. The main challenges were attributed to the condition of Whitechapel, which can be attributed to the government, insufficient scientific progress, and the Ripper’s specific killing method – none of which were the police’s fault.

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Jack the Ripper Source Analysis Coursework. (2017, Nov 13). Retrieved from


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