Jack the Ripper’s Second Murder
Just eight days after what is widely accepted as the first Ripper murder the second took place. As had been the case on August 31 with Mary Ann Nichols, on September 8 1888 Annie Chapman’s throat had been severed and her abdomen slashed open. But in the second case the 48-year-old’s intestines had been pulled from her body and draped over her shoulders; and part of her uterus had been removed.
Chapman, lungs failing and falling ever deeper into poverty and alcoholism, and whose occasional work as a prostitute was seemingly becoming more necessary and frequent, had been seen alive at about 5.30am in the company of a man wearing a deerstalker hat and said to be ‘shabby-genteel’. Her horribly butchered body was discovered less than half-an-hour later inside the yard of 29 Hanbury Street in Spitalfields.
How the murder could have taken place without the many residents of that house noticing is part of the mystery surrounding Jack the Ripper: several were already about their business at the time of the attack. Experts concluded that a surgical knife may have been used in the killing, and the coroner suggested Chapman may have been murdered for her uterus, possibly to be sold to a medical school, though that was thought improbable. Both ideas added to speculation about the Ripper’s profession.
Two men were arrested for the slaying and detained in custody; newspapers had a field day as they have ever since. But on September 30 the Ripper killed again, twice in one day, proving the police had failed to find the real killer. As we now know, they would never catch him.