Dark Side Of 1888

The Ripper Murders

It wasn’t before Sunday 8th September at 6 am that the Ripper struck again in the backyard of number 29 Hanbury Street. The premises were built for the silk weavers, in the early eighteen hundreds, and were now rundown cheap lodging houses. Number 29 had a cat meat seller in the front shop and it is said that were seventeen people that slept in this building at any one time. There was a side passage to the right of the shop that led to a yard, the doorway to the passage was always left unlocked and was a good place for the prostitutes to take their clients to. At 5.30 am on that fateful day a park keeper’s wife saw a man and woman standing outside 29 on her way to Spitalfields market, they were haggling about something. She later identified the body as that of the woman she saw, the only description of the man was a 40-year-old foreigner dressed shabbily in a deerstalker hat. She did not see his face as his back was towards her; though she did hear him say “will you?” and the woman replied “Yes”. Within thirty minutes a woman’s mutilated body was discovered alongside the fence in the yard by one of the lodgers, elderly John Davis, who had only been living here for a couple of weeks. He had been awake for about an hour before but heard nothing. After the discovery he attracted the attention of some workmen who came to see what was wrong after he told them, they were all too afraid to go into the yard to have look. One of the workmen ran off to fetch the police. On close examination several clues were discovered by the body, they had been carefully placed around the body. There was a piece of muslin and a comb and a paper case at the side of the body. Two rings torn from her fingers and some pennies with two new farthings lay at her feet. Near to her head was the back of an envelope with the seal of the Sussex regiment and on the reverse side the letter ‘M’ and postmarked ‘London 28th August; 1888’ there was also a leather apron left soaking wet nearby the tap in the yard. The body was later removed in the same box as Polly Nichols the week before, this body was soon identified as that of Annie Chapman.

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