Sunday, March 10, 2013

A Profile of the 'Jack the Ripper' Suspect

by j.a. taylor

The Whitechapel murders took place within a one square-mile area consisting of three police jurisdictions in the east end of London in the Fall of 1888. The serial murders may have started as early as August 1888 if the Martha Tambram murder is to be included with the "canonical five." I do include this earlier murder for reasons I'll discuss, which would bring this murderer's total number of victims to six.

Whitechapel Area, London 1888
The murders took place within a four month timeframe although he did not strike in October. At the time in this area there was an uneasy mix of old Londoners and Irish and Jewish immigrants living in tight squalid conditions. The victims were women who worked the streets in desperation for lodging, food and drink.

I think it should be noted that these were streetwise women aware that a killer of a type unknown at the time was prowling the streets at night. I think this supports the possibility that this was an individual that would not be their idea of a "mad man". This man would not be suspicious to them and was most likely regularly seen at night in the bars and around the lodging houses these women would frequent.

All of the victims of the Whitechapel murders were poor street prostitutes in their 40s with the exception of the last, who was 25. All were known to drink in bars in the area and most if not all were reportedly alcoholics. They would all be considered very high risk victims as prostitutes are often targeted for accessibility and vulnerability. They were all murdered between the hours of 12 AM and 6 AM on or close to the weekend.

I do not believe the women were selected and followed for any lengthy time period. I do not think the victims mattered as much as what "they" represented to this individual. It is more likely to me that the murderer drank in the same bars, walked the same streets, probably nightly, and took opportunities for attack as he found them. These women were in horrible living conditions in the most feared and dangerous place in London at the time. It is unfortunate that they crossed paths with this murder in their effort to survive.

The following is my assessment of the offender characteristics most likely present in this case. This was a white heterosexual male age 20-30 who lived alone and answered to no one regarding his living habits. In at least one of the murders, Martha Tabram, the first victim, he would most likely have been covered in blood as it appears from the autopsy report interpretation he did face her during the attack. This may have prompted him to alter his method of operation or M.O., which is common, as the killer learns during the progression of serial murder. All of his other victims appeared to be lying supine at the time of the attacks with severe neck injuries that would have rendered them unconscious and dead within moments, thus limiting his exposure to blood spurting and spatter.

I also think he stored and possibly cannibalized organs and tissue he took as "trophies" from several of the victims. This would necessitate his need for isolation and privacy. I strongly believe he lived and worked possibly at the same place as a tradesman within the square-mile in which these murders took place. He knew the streets very well. I would assume that he would appear to others, particularly women,  as quiet,  ineffectual and nonthreatening. He most likely used drinking to embolden himself for the minimum amount of interaction he needed to have his victims lead him to their demise or employed his blitz style attack on women he found alone.

The exception to this was the last victim Mary Jane Kelly who interacted with him enough to go through her usual preparations for her trade. Her clothes were found folded by the fire and she had apparently gotten into bed wearing minimal clothing. I think when she initiated the encounter he attacked. This could also be evidence of evolving M.O. where he finally had the time he "needed" with this victim. Her condition when found reflected this only too horrifically.

These murders reveal a killer who desired power and control over his victims. He most likely did not have a lasting relationship with a woman and engaged in prostitution well before the killings began. His disgust with himself, his adolescent curiosity of the female body, and his hunger for domination together resulted in quite a rare type of lust killer.

To be continued....


26actsofpoetry said...

Great guest post -- riveting! But then, this is exactly the kind of historical/psychological kinda thing I like. FYI, the latest issue of "Bitch" magazine has a terrific article entitled, "Pulp Nonfiction: The unnerving fascination with prime-time true crime" that delves into why folks like these stories, what the templates and tropes are, and the problem with inauthenticity in the retelling.

26actsofpoetry said...

Great guest post -- riveting! But then, this is just the kind of historical/psychological thing I like.

FYI, the latest issue of Bitch magazine has an article entitled "Pulp Nonfiction: The Unnerving Fascination with Prime-Time True Crime" that delves into why we like stories like these, the templates and tropes used in true crime TV shows, and the dangerous inauthenticity in the retelling of these stories.

the baron said...

I will try to find that article. I'm crazy about that genre of TV and wonder why. My sister is too, as you can see from the profile.

Anonymous said...

Nice work, Jennifer. Let me know when the next segment comes out.