Jack the Ripper claims last victim
When rent collector Thomas Bowyer pulled aside the coat acting as a makeshift curtain to Mary Kelly’s Spitalfields room just before 11am on November 9 1888 he revealed a truly grisly scene. In the shabby room beyond lay a brutally mutilated corpse, that of Mary Jane Kelly, her body slashed repeatedly, throat cut almost to the spine, and her heart removed by the murderer. She is thought to have been the last victim of that most shadowy of figures Jack the Ripper, the serial killer who terrorised London for several months in 1888 (though some writers suggest subsequent murders in diverse locations as his work).
Mary Kelly was a shadowy figure herself, possibly of Irish origin though she spoke fluent Welsh from her childhood in that country. Having been widowed very young she lived with various men, and ended up earning her gin money as a prostitute while in a relationship with one of them (one of the many candidates for the Jack the Ripper title).
Conflicting evidence from people who thought they had seen her that morning confused the barely competent London police already made to look foolish by The Ripper; there was a delay in examining the scene at the room in Miller Court off Dorset Street as the Police Commissioner, Charles Warren, had ordered nothing be touched at the anticipated next murder until he arrived to take control – and he had resigned the previous evening unbeknown to the local coppers who were taken to her bloody room.
Unlike the other victims of the crazed killer Kelly was relatively young, about 25, so some have questioned whether she was indeed killed by the Ripper or if either a customer or her current lover had done her in and covered himself by copying the Ripper’s style. We will never know, as we will never know for sure who Jack was.
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