While Sherlock Holmes solved crimes in Baker Street, Jack the Ripper was stalking the East End. His first definite victim was Mary Ann Nichols, a 43-year-old prostitute. She lodged in a doss-house in Thrawl street whenever she could afford it.
In the small hours of 31 August 1888, Mary Ann needed money for a bed. She was drunk and looking for a man as she headed for Buck’s Row (now Durward Street) round the back of Whitechapel tube station.
Her body was found at 3.40 a.m. Still warm, it was lying on its back on the pavement (left, foreground), just short of the school wall. It was leaning against the gates of a stable yard, long since demolished.
Mary Ann’s throat had been cut from ear to ear. She was taken to the mortuary, where the police noticed that she had been disembowelled as well. They sent at once for the doctor:
‘He arrived quickly and on further examination stated that her throat had been cut from left to right, two distinct cuts being on the left side. The windpipe, gullet and spinal cord being cut through, a bruise apparently of a thumb being on the right lower jaw, also one on left cheek.
‘The abdomen had been cut open from centre of bottom of ribs on right side, under pelvis to left of stomach; there the wound was jagged… Two small stabs on private parts appeared done with a strong bladed knife, supposed to have been done by some left handed person, death being almost instantaneous.’
HISTORIC LONDON: X MARKS THE SPOT. Question 60. The Gherkin in the distance overlooks Mitre Square (see Question 4), the scene of Jack the Ripper’s fourth murder. How many women did he kill in all?
‘Wickedly funny’ – Daily Mail
‘Funniest book of the year’ – Daily Telegraph
No 3 best-seller, Amazon humorous fiction