Jack the Ripper terrorized the East End of London with his heinous acts of senseless violence in the Nineteenth century. The perpetrator who committed these malicious murders in which the victim’s body was viciously mutilated is under speculation. By analyzing each murder, acknowledging the characteristics of the murderer, and providing a scenario which links Prince Eddy to the murders, it establishes that he is a likely suspect to be Jack the Ripper.
The Murders by Jack the Ripper
The first murder that is connected with Jack the Ripper occurred on Friday, die Thirty-First of August, 1888.
Mary Ann “Polly” Nichols was found dead on Buck’s Row with her clothes raised almost to her stomach. After a full post-mortem examination was performed the next day, her injuries were noted as the following: a bruise on the right side of her face made by pressure of a thumb; a circular bruise also probably caused by a fist or thumb; an abrasion on the right side of her neck and a small bruise on the left side.
Two cuts, one four inches long and the other eight, were located on her neck and reach through to the vertebrae. On the left side of the lower abdomen there was a jagged wound which cut through the tissues. Several incisions were also made across the abdomen with three or four cuts running downward on the right side (Fido, 1991).
In the early morning hours of Saturday, the eighth of September, 1888, the second murder victim of Jack the Ripper was found at 29 Hanbury Street, wedged between the steps and the fence.
Annie Chapman’s left arm was placed across her left breast, and her legs were drawn up with the feet resting on the ground and the knees turned outwards. Her body was terribly mutilated with her throat being cut through clear to the spine. The abdomen was entirely laid open and the intestines were placed on the right shoulder. The pelvis, uterus, and
appendages with the upper portion of the vagina and the posterior two-thirds of the bladder were removed (Fido, 1991).
Elizabeth Stride, the third victim of Jack the Ripper, was discovered murdered on Sunday, the Thirtieth of September, 1888. Found on Berner Street, just a short distance from Hanbury Street, her throat was cut in the same pattern as the previous two. She was not disemboweled, though, which suggests that the murderer was interrupted or warned of impending discovery (Abrahamsen, 1992).
This may account for the reason the murderer struck again in that same night. Catharine Eddowes was the fourth victim. She was more brutally murdered than the previous which may have resulted from the murderer’s frustration at having to leave Stride intact. She was found lying on her back with her left leg extended and her right leg bent at the knee. Eddowes’ nose was cut off and her abdomen was sliced open. Her left kidney and intestines were placed on her right shoulder (Abrahamsen, 1992).
The most cruel and ruthless murder committed by Jack the Ripper was the fifth and final one. Forty days after his last attack, he murdered Marie Jeanette Kelly on Friday, the Ninth of November, 1888. Because the murder took place in the privacy of Kelly’s own room in Miller’s Court and not in the streets, the murderer had “the safety and leisure to commit the bloodiest butchery of them all” (Abrahamsen, 1991). The skin on her face, upper body, and thighs was removed, and in some parts showed the skeleton. Also, her nose and ears were cut off. Located at her feet was her liver, and her amputated breasts and kidneys were carefully paced on a nearby table. Her uterus was also mutilated (Abrahamsen, 1991).
All these murders shared certain characteristics. Most importantly, all of these women were prostitutes which meant they could be easily approached by strange men and then led to isolated areas. Next, they all took place within one square mile of each other. The murders
were also committed between the hours of eleven at night and five in the morning and took place on the weekend. In each instance the throat of the victim had been severed and their bodies were carved up and mutilated with a knife, with the exception of Stride. They were all over forty and had bome children with the exception of Kelly who was shown to be pregnant when murdered (Abrahamsen, 1991).
The Characteristics of Jack the Ripper
There are also certain characteristics possessed by Jack the Ripper that are well-established. This person would have to been able to work well with their hands and have some anatomical knowledge. Dr. Frederick Brown, the City Police surgeon who performed the post-mortem examination on Eddowes stated: “Anyone carrying out this deed would need a good deal of knowledge as to the position of the organs in the abdominal cavity” (Knight, 1986). Secondly, Jack the Ripper would have had to been well familiar with the area to perform these murders without being detected. This person also knew where half hidden water basins were located so that they could clean their hands after the murders. Jack the Ripper was also believed to have a sexual personality disorder, described today as a sexual psychopath. People with this disorder become sexually aroused by watching evisceration and mutilations. Most researchers believe that Jack the Ripper was insane stating that anyone committing such haneous crimes would have to be. Lastly, some physical description of a male seen either with the victim or in the vicinity of the murder close to the time of the murders is given. Police state that he was around thirty years old, five feet nine inches in height, with a small mustache, and dressed in something like a navy serge with a deerstalker’s hat (Abrahamsen 1991).
Prince Eddy as Jack the Ripper
One of the most widely regarded scenarios involves Price Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (Prince Eddy), being the perpetrator. Dr. Thomas Stowell published an article in the November, 1970 edition of The Criminologist that seemed to verify that Prince Eddy was involved in the Ripper murders. Stowell never stated his name but drawing from the description he provided he was unmistakably referring to the Prince (Begg, 1988).
In this scenario, Prince Eddy is assumed to be a homosexual who has contracted syphilis while he was at a shore party in the West Indies. Stowell then states that not only Prince Eddy but also his tutor J.K. Stephens had control over him and the syphilis was affecting his brain. Prince Eddy was easily persuaded to participate in this heinous act. The syphilis would have also caused the sexuality personality disorder which was mention earlier as a characteristic associated with Jack the Ripper. More information that links Prince Eddy with Jack the Ripper involves him having some rough anatomical knowledge. Because he stalked deer on the family estate in Scotland, it gave him many opportunities to watch the dressing of carcasses, and if he wished, assist in the operation. By doing this he would have learned how to remove the bowels, kidneys, lever, heart, lungs, and uterus neatly. This, too, was a characteristic of Jack the Ripper (Begg. 1988).
Prince Eddy was allegedly committed to a private home because he was certified to be insane, a sign of increasing syphilis. This may also explain why there was an unusually long interval between the fourth and fifth murders, forty days instead of fourteen. Because Prince Eddy was in a private home, he was unable to murder, but on November 9th he escaped and murdered his last victim, Marie Kelly. After this he was then picked up by his doctor and readmitted to the home. This is supported by the fact that after the last murder the police relaxed their vigilance. Special patrols and senior inspectors assigned to Whitechapel and the constables who had been sent there were all disbanded. This question is then asked by Dr. Stowell: “Did the know with certainty that the murderer was again restrained, far away from the possibility of continuing his career of mutilation?” (Begg, 1988).
Prince Eddy was also well familiar with this area of town because he frequently visited male brothel houses there. In July of 1888, the Prince escaped arrest during a police raid but was still placed on the Department of Public Prosecutions file as an alleged patron (Begg. 1988).
Another key link is the involvement of Queen Victoria. After the first murder she ordered the Prime Minister to take steps to prevent a sequel. This was odd for two reasons. First, the Queen did not involve herself in the murders committed in this area of London because they were so frequent. Secondly, she would have had to recognize that this was just the beginning of a series of killings even before the second one took place (Rumbelow, 1988).
Lastly, the Prince closely matched the physical description of the suspects stated earlier. He even had his photograph taken with him wearing a deerstalker’s hat (Rumbelow, 1988).
There are many links from Jack the Ripper to Prince Eddy but after more than hundred years, it is highly unlikely that researchers will ever establish the true identity of Jack the Ripper. It the murders were ever solved than this case would lose its hype. It is well known due to the fact the killer was never identified. But by analyzing each murder, acknowledging the characteristics of the murderer, and providing a scenario which links Prince Eddy to the murders, it does establish that he is a likely suspect to be Jack the Ripper.
Abrahamsen, D. (1992). Murder and Madness: The Secret Life of Jack the Ripper.
Los Angeles, CA: Donald I Fine Inc. (pp. 12-20)
Begg, p- (1988). Jack the Ripper: The Uncensored Facts. London, England: Robson
Books Unlimited, (pp. 72-90)
Fido, M. (1991). Jack the Ripper: A to Z. London, England: Headline Book Publishing, (pp. 80-332)
Knight, S. (1986). Jack the Ripper: The Final Solution. Chicago, IL: Academy Chicago Publishers, (pp. 185)
Rumbelow, D. Jack the Ripper: The Complete Casebook. Chicago, IL: Contemporary
Books Inc. (pp. 180-190)