Jack the Ripper in the Yorkshire Post Archives

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A hundred and twenty eight years ago The Yorkshire Post published reports of the notorious reign of terror that was taking place in London.

Here we look at these chilling accounts and take a peek back into the fog shrouded streets of Victorian Whitechapel.

The full detailed reports of the Jack the Ripper murders are very explicit and we hestitate to publish them here but they can be viewed at The British Newspaper Archive.

Our final extract is from The Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer from Saturday 10th November 1888.

This is the account of the final official Jack the Ripper murder, that of Mary Jane Kelly.

It was one of the most horrific and brutal murders in British criminal history and like the previous Jack the Ripper murders the body of the victim was photographed in sickening detail.

After this killing, Jack the Ripper never officially struck again but there is continued specualtion that other incidents were the handiwork of this killer.

Despite the efforts of the police and men such as Inspector Abberline and Edmund Reid, who are portrayed in the TV drama “Ripper Street”, Jack the Ripper was never found and nobody was ever charged with these terrible killings.

Almost every year a new theory as to the identity of this person is put forward. Some of these are very persuasive but the only undeniable fact about Jack the Ripper is that this person is dead.

The new Whitechapel horror (our London Correspondent says) has quite eclipsed the Lord Mayor’s Show or the Parnell Commission in the amount of public interest it is exciting.

Every one is talking about the horrible affair, and the crowds of excited people are gathering in the East End as near to the scene of the atrocity as the police will permit.

On this occasion the murderer — for every one assumes that the long list of crimes which have startled the world are all attributable to one monster in human shape — has surpassed himself.

For cool, calculating daring and ghoulish ferocity there is nothing in any of the previous murders to at all equal the circumstances under which the unfortunate woman Mary Kelly was done to death yesterday. In broad daylight, within a stone’s throw of one of the principal thoroughfares of the City, the wretched creature was murdered in a room and mutilated in such a fearful manner that the baldest details of the injuries read like the emanations of some hideous nightmare.

One of the surgeons who was called in to make an examination of the body, indeed, goes so far as to say that he never, even in a dissecting-room, saw anything in his life to equal in horror the scene which the room presented.

The police, of course, are doing their utmost to discover the criminal, and there is a hope that they may, from the circumstances under which the crime was committed, be able to bring him to justice.

But the public are not over sanguine on the point. The immunity from arrest which he has previously enjoyed is doubtless due to the exercise of a degree of cunning — whether the cunning of madness or not — which it is thought will enable him to continue to elude pursuit.

He is unquestionably a man whoso personal appearance is such to allay suspicion, and who by a system of disguises continues to pass unnoticed through the streets. These characteristics have aided him before, and, according to the despairing view which every one seems to favour, they will stand him in good stead again.

Should he be arrested he stands a fair chance of being torn to pieces by the populace if he is not well protected, as the feeling in the East End is so strong that nothing but summary vengeance will satisfy it.

This latest of the Whitechapel atrocities surpasses all its predecessors in the horror of its details. The murderer has changed his method, and, instead of despatching his victim in the street, where before he has been interrupted in his ghastly work, and where he now doubtless fears detection, he has accompanied the object of his bloodthirstiness home, and there, at his leisure, has revelled with fiendish glee or has trifled with nonchalant brutality over the work of hacking to pieces with every conceivable form of loathsome indignity the body of the last victim of his blood-lust and making shambles of her dwelling.

What kind of being, born of human parents, it is that thus adds sacrifice to sacrifice, and by the very revolting circumstances of his crimes and the impunity with which he commits them flouts, and insults, and laughs to scorn all the machinery of society for the protection of human life it is impossible to conjecture, and it seems almost useless to speculate.

The theory of madness seems to be widely adopted, but what kind of madness can it be ?

The Malay who is seized with homicidal mania runs down the street slashing right and left at every person he meets until he is struck or shot down. But the wretch who butchers unfortunate women in Whitechapel lays his plans with care and coolness and method, and escapes with such certainty that his behaviour is altogether incompatible with the theory of ungovernable mania, or with such an overthrow of the mind as not to be conscious of the enormity of the crimes perpetrated.

And it is obvious that the murderer in the course of such contact as he has with other men must bear himself circumspectly and like a sane man — indeed it seems impossible that any man should be able to go about with such ghastly secrets locked up his breast and not betray them.

To read the full reports of the Jack the Ripper murders and much more go to The British Newspaper Archive at http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk

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