Why did the Ripper murders attract so much attention in 1888?
Victorian society was characterised by a strong sense of morality. However, there was also the fascination of the under berry to the Victorian working class life. Prostitution, alcoholism and murder. The ripper murders all involved these characteristics and this made them a real focus for the press and for Victorian society. On the 2nd of April at around 7:00pm Emma Smith was attacked and robbed she was badly injured, and surprisingly no one was ever convicted of her attack, however, On the 6th of August Martha Tabram was found dead in George Yard, exactly 100 yards where Emma Smith was attacked. he post mortem reported that there was 39 stab wounds found on her body most of them on her body with what seemed to be a penknife but a few were found on her private parts which had clearly been made with a dagger or a long blade. Exactly 25 days later another female body was found dead 1050 yards from the Martha tabram murder. The woman was Mary Anne Nicholls she had been stabbed about 10 times, most of them to her throat. Just eight days later, Annie Chapman was found dead in Hanbury street.
Her wounds were again to the throat and severely deep, she had also been stabbed heavily in her private parts which were removed, and also to her stomach. Could these murders have been linked together? The three murders led to hundreds of letters to newspapers claiming they were the murderer, but the news of the three murders reached parts of Canada and U. S. A. 22 days later another woman’s body was found dead. It was found in Berner Street.
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It seemed as though the murderer had been distracted and couldn’t finish his sick attack, but he did manage to cut the woman’s throat which was enough to kill the body of Elizabeth Stride. The murderer scurried from the scene of the crime and just hours later another sickening attack on a woman by the name of Catherine Eddowes. The murderer had much more time with this attack and had cut the body from the throat all the way down to end of her stomach. He had removed some of her organs and left the scene with her heart, literally.
The police were bamboozled by the double attacks and didn’t have an answer to them, of course in those days they didn’t have forensics which made it much harder to catch any culprit, you had to be more intelligent and use your mind. These attacks sent shockwaves through Whitechapel, the streets were deserted at night and everyone was suspicious of everyone around them as there was a lot of mixed race in Whitechapel mostly Jews, so people were more suspicious of Jewish people because in one witnesses report he described the man as foreign looking.
The murderer was looking for one last attack and he got it nine days later, his victim Mary Jane Kelly, one of the diminutive number of prostitutes patrolling the streets. He took her to her home and on the mattress in the sparsely furnished room, lay a mass of raw flesh, the thighs down to her feet and the forehead being skinned. Her throat had been cut from ear to ear and the head was attached only by a thin layer of skin. The nose and breasts had been cut off and placed on the side of the bed. The liver, heart and kidneys were removed and one of her hands was pushed into her stomach.
The left arm, like the head was attached to the body by skin only. Mary’s face was completely destroyed and pieces of flesh dripped from the picture rails. Several small parcels containing parts of the body were wrapped up and sent to the mortuary, the estimated time to reassemble to body took 6 hours. In conclusion, one of the main reasons that the ripper murders attracted so much attention, was because of the police’ unethical way to try and catch him, they tried dressing respectable policemen up to pose as prostitutes to lure the ripper onto them.