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Jack the Ripper is assumed to be a serial killer who committed 5 murders in 1888 in Whitechapel, a small secluded area of London. All of these murders were similar in that all the victims were killed by cutting the throat and were all female prostitutes residing in Whitechapel. One of the suspects was Francis Tumblety, a well known doctor living in Liverpool during the murders.
Francis Tumblety, as all the other suspects, fulfilled certain criteria. Due to the extreme physical strength it takes to cut someone’s throat completely through, and the fact that Mary Kelly presumably invited him into her room, we can be almost positive that Jack the Ripper was a male between the ages of 20-60. The suspect also must have had access to a knife with certain characteristics, which in 1888 in Whitechapel was available only to people of a certain trade such as butchers and doctors. In all of the killings (excluding the Mary Ann Nichols murder) Jack the Ripper removed the victim’s uterus and in some cases other organs as well. Since in Whitechapel in 1888 there were no streetlamps (History’s Mysteries, 1994), Jack the Ripper must have had a basic knowledge of the human body to locate and remove the uterus and other organs without the ability to see.
One explanation why the police department never conclusively determined who committed the crime, was because the killer was able to quickly vanish from the crime scene, proving that he had an extensive knowledge of the area. Between vanishing from the crime scene and cutting the victims’ throats, Jack the Ripper removed the female organs and in some cases brutally attacked the area of the female reproductive system (e.g. he stabbed Mary Ann Nichols repeatedly in the abdomen and also cut off Mary Kelly’s breasts). This aggression most likely stems from a hatred of women or more specifically, prostitutes. The Whitechapel murders set off a media frenzy, frightening local prostitutes and causing them to take precautions by avoiding all suspicious looking men. Therefore, it is unlikely that Jack the Ripper displayed any signs of psychological damage or disturbance.
Francis Tumblety, a 55 year old American doctor who had just moved to London in June of 1888, was legitimately suspected at the time as being Jack the Ripper. As a doctor, Tumblety would have had access to the correct weapons and the necessary knowledge of the body to remove the uterus and other organs in the dark. In addition, Tumblety was alleged to have had an unusual and disturbing collection of uteri. According to Colonel Dunham, who attended a dinner party at Tumblety’s house, Francis Tumblety: “placed on a table a dozen or more jars containing, as he said, the matrices (uteri) of every class of women.” (csicop.org: Jack the Ripper). Tumblety was also put on trial for “attempting to abort” the pregnancy of a local prostitute by selling her harmful pills (casebook: Jack the Ripper).
Furthermore, it was apparent that Tumblety had an obvious hatred for women stemming from the hatred towards his late wife, who was unfaithful during their marriage. An important detail is that all the victims, excluding Mary Kelly, were prostitutes between the ages of 43 – 47. This may not be a coincidence due to the fact that Tumblety’s late wife was “rather his senior” (casebook: Jack the Ripper). Perhaps Tumblety targeted mainly older prostitutes as revenge against his late wife. If so, Mary Nichols’ murder was a break in a pattern maybe because of the increased danger of being caught when in the streets.
On November 7, Tumblety was arrested for gross indecency but was not imprisoned. Therefore, he would have been released in time to kill Mary Kelly on November 9 before he was rearrested on November 12 as a suspect for the Ripper murders. Suspiciously, after being let out on bail, and shortly after receiving the news that the trial had been postponed to December 10, Tumblety fled to America. This chronicle of events fits the profile and provides a valid reason for why the killings ceased.
In the Jack the Ripper case, due to lack of sufficient evidence, no one person can be directly linked to the crime. This, makes it difficult even to find suspect who fits the “profile” of Jack the Ripper. However, Francis Tumblety can be linked to the crimes in many ways, telling us that he could have been the serial killer who murdered the five women in Whitechapel.
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