Complete History of Jack the Ripper

BOOK: Complete History of Jack the Ripper
4.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
The Complete History of Jack the Ripper


Constable & Robinson Ltd
3 The Lanchesters
162 Fulham Palace Road
London W6 9ER

First published in hardback by Robinson Publishing Ltd 1994

Paperback edition published by Robinson Publishing Ltd 1995

This revised paperback edition published by Robinson,
an imprint of Constable & Robinson Ltd 2002

Copyright © Philip Sugden 1994, 1995, 2002, 2006

The right of Philip Sugden to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988

All rights reserved. This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out or otherwise circulated in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

A copy of the British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data is available from the British Library.

ISBN 1-84119-397-6
ISBN 978-1-84119-397-7
eISBN 978-1-78033-709-8

10 9 8 7



1 A Century of Final Solutions

2 Mysterious Murder in George Yard

3 Without the Slightest Shadow of a Trace

4 Leather Apron

5 Dark Annie

6 The Man in the Passage and other Chapman Murder Myths

7 The Panic and the Police

8 The King of Elthorne Road

9 Double Event

10 Long Liz

11 False Leads

12 ‘Don’t Fear for Me!’

13 Letters from Hell

14 In the Shadow of the Ripper

15 ‘I want to go to the Lord Mayor’s Show’

16 ‘Oh! Murder!’

17 The End of the Terror

18 Murderer of Strangers

19 Found in the Thames: Montague John Druitt

20 Caged in an Asylum: Aaron Kosminski

21 The Mad Russian: Michael Ostrog

22 ‘You’ve got Jack the Ripper at last!’: George Chapman

Last Thoughts





During the research and writing of this book I have had the help of many people and it is a great pleasure to be able to thank them.

I owe a considerable debt of gratitude to the following persons for according me facilities to study, replying to my inquiries or granting me access to archives: the staff of the Public Record Office, Chancery Lane and Kew; Miss J. Coburn, Head Archivist, and her staff at the Greater London Record Office and Library; Mr James R. Sewell, City Archivist, and his staff at the Corporation of London Records Office; the staffs of the British Library, Bloomsbury, and the British Newspaper Library, Colindale; the staff of the Guildhall Library; Miss K. Shawcross, City of Westminster Archives and Local Studies, Victoria Library; Richard Knight, Local Studies Library, Holborn Library; Paul Burns, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland; Myrtle V. Cooper, Metropolitan Police Archives Department; Miss Rhoda Edwards, St Olave’s and St Saviour’s Grammar School Foundation; Mr P. R. Evans and Mrs J. V. Thorpe, Gloucestershire Record Office; Michael Farrar, County Archivist, Cambridgeshire Record Office; Robin Gillis, Metropolitan Police Musuem; Stephen Humphrey, Southwark Local Studies Library; David A. Leitch, Curatorial Officer, Royal Commission on Historical Manuscripts; C. J. Lloyd, Local History Librarian, Globe Town Neighbourhood, Bancroft Road Library; Keith A. Miller, Executive Administrator, World Association of Document Examiners, Chicago, USA; Michael Page, Surrey Record Office; Mark Purcell, Senior Library Assistant, Bodleian Library; Miss G. Sheldrick, Hertfordshire County Record
Office; Miss J. G. A. Sheppard, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine; Mr Jonathan Evans, Archivist, Royal London Hospital Archives and Museum; Mr Maurice D. Jeffery, formerly Administrator, Friern Hospital; Mr H. P. Dulley, Trust Project Manager, Horizon NHS Trust; Miss J. M. Smyth, General Services Manager, and Mr Bernard Cousens, Fire Prevention Officer, Springfield Hospital.

Even within a field as notorious for its cranks and charlatans as Ripper research there are knowledgeable and responsible students dedicated to the pursuit of truth. I am particularly indebted to four of the latter: Nick Warren, for guidance on the medical aspects of the case; Jon Ogan, for innumerable suggestions and especially for information on criminal psychological profiling; Stewart Evans, for dispelling my confusion as to the site of George Yard Buildings and for information on the Littlechild letter; and Keith Skinner, for generously agreeing to read my extracts from the Aberconway notes.

Extracts from Crown Copyright records in the Public Record Office and the Corporation of London Records Office appear by permission of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office. Material from Gloucestershire Quarter Sessions records in the Gloucestershire Record Office appears by permission of Mr David J. H. Smith, the County and Diocesan Archivist.

I am grateful for this opportunity to express my thanks to Nick Robinson, my publisher, and to Jan Chamier and Eryl Humphrey Jones at Robinson Publishing, for their patience and understanding and for their expertise in steering this project through its various stages of production. To my editor, Tim Haydock, I owe a special debt of gratitude. Tim’s impressive knowledge of the Whitechapel murders and boundless enthusiasm for this book were most formidable factors in sustaining me over the last mile. I also wish to thank Richard Corfield, Sue Aldridge and Mick Wolf at Oxford Illustrators Ltd, for their preparation of the maps.

Thanks are long overdue to my friend Derek Barlow, formerly of the Public Record Office, for his generosity, encouragement and support over many years. My greatest debt, finally, is to my brother, Dr John Sugden of Coventry, who unstintingly spared time from his own research projects to discuss or assist this one and who, ten years ago, first insisted that I write this book.

Philip Sugden

Hull, England, 1994

Picture credits
: 1, 4–5, 7–8, 13, 16–17, Public Record Office, MEPO 3/140 and MEPO 3/3155; 3, 6, 9, 22, 24, Greater London Photograph Library; 2, 19, British Library; 11, 14–15, 18, British Newspaper Library; 10, Royal London Hospital Museum and Archives; 12, Metropolitan Police Museum; 21, Hull City Museums and Art Galleries.

Since the first printing of this book a great many people have assisted me with information and advice and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their time and generosity. In addition to those acknowledged above I am particularly indebted to Martin Fido, Sue Iremonger of Documents in Dispute Ltd, Professor Graham Davies of the University of Leicester, Richard Morgan at the Glamorgan Record Office, and Ron Bernard. Many thanks, too, to Mark Crean, Editorial Director at Robinson Publishing, for his kindness and efficiency in preparing this updated edition for the press.

Philip Sugden,

January 1995


I would like to express my gratitude to the following people for their kindness and assistance: Neal Shelden; Nick Warren; Nick Connell; Melvin Harris; Paul Gainey; Dr Harold Smyth; Dr Catherine Greensmith, University of Hull; Mrs J. E. Goode; Christine Nougaret, Archives de France; Geneviève Madore, Bibliothèque Historique de la Ville de Paris; Jean-Jacques Thiefine, Archives de la Préfecture de Police; Francoise Banat-Berger, Archives du Ministère de la Justice; Loretta Lay; Jan Chamier, Sarah Smith and Krystyna Green, Constable & Robinson Ltd; and the staffs of the Public Record Office, London Metropolitan Archives, the British Newspaper Library, the Archives Départementales de Paris, the Brynmor Jones Library (University of Hull) and the Kingston upon Hull Central Reference Library. I owe a special debt to Stewart Evans, for suggesting some corrections to the text, for his generosity with knowledge and resources, and, most of all, for his unfailing friendship and encouragement.

Philip Sugden,

April 2001



Jack the Ripper murders is probably greater today than at any time since the killer himself actually stalked the streets of London’s East End. In recent years we have been all but deluged in a swelling tide of books, articles, films, plays and comics inspired by the case, and aficionados can now debate their theories and exchange views via Internet sites, at annual conferences and in the columns of specialist magazines (the latest of no less than five devoted to the murders was launched in Australia in 2000).

Inevitably, perhaps, this vast outpouring of Ripperana has produced a great deal more heat than light. Partly this is because the archival sources, thoroughly explored in this book eight years ago, have now been picked over many times. Partly, too, it reflects the commercial potential of anything to do with the Ripper, which continually spawns catchpenny solutions to the mystery, badly researched, ill-considered, and, in the worst cases, flagrantly dishonest. The modern Ripperologist has nothing to learn from Munchhausen and de Rougemont.

It is now unlikely that any really significant discoveries await us. Nevertheless, digging in the same field as the cranks and charlatans I have spoken of are growing numbers of genuine and dedicated researchers, and their efforts to unearth fresh gems of knowledge continue to shed new light on aspects of this century-old story.

Take the case of Emma Smith. Her murder was the first in the series that became known as the Jack the Ripper or Whitechapel murders.
First crimes in a series are interesting. They can sometimes reveal more than any of the others because they are likely to be less well-planned. However, when I attempted to research Emma’s murder my efforts were quickly frustrated by the loss of records. There were press reports of the inquest, of course, and at the Royal London Hospital, where Emma died, I found the record of her admission. But after that it was one dead end after another. At the Public Record Office I learned that Emma’s file had disappeared from the Metropolitan Police case papers at some time before 1983, and at what was then the Greater London Record Office (now London Metropolitan Archives) that no relevant coroner’s papers for the old Eastern District of Middlesex survived. A ray of hope invigorated my efforts when I discovered that Coroner Wynne Baxter had sent a copy of his inquest papers to the Public Prosecutor, but it was soon extinguished. All that remains today in the records of the Director of Public Prosecutions is a single line entry in a register of cases. In the comments column is the cryptic remark: ‘no one in custody’.
And that, I thought, was that.

BOOK: Complete History of Jack the Ripper
4.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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