THE MURDER OF MARY KELLY

9th November 1888

13 Miller's Court, Dorset Street, Spitalfields

November 1888 - where is the killer?

And thus, November 1888 was ushered in on a wave of panic and terror that held the Streets of the East End in a steely grip. Yet, the whole of October had passed with no further murders taking place.

George Hutchinson meets Mary Kelly

At 2am on the 9th November George Hutchinson met twenty - five- year - old Mary Kelly on Commercial Street.

An image of Jack the Ripper's final victim Mary Kelly.

Mary Kelly

She cheerily asked him for sixpence, to which Hutchinson replied that even this amount was beyond his modest means.

She laughed, told him she’d "just have to find it some other way" and continued to the junction with Thrawl Street, where she met with another man.

Hutchinson saw the two chat a little, then watched as Mary led the man across Commercial Street and into Dorset Street, where they entered her room in Miller’s Court.

Forty five minutes later neither had emerged from the room and Hutchinson left the scene.

Quite why Hutchinson hung around outside Miller's Court for so longer has never been satisfactorily explained.

Some say that he was hoping to spend some time with Mary Kelly when the stranger she was with left.

Others claim that he was, in fact, Mary Kelly's pimp and that he intended to mug the man when he left the room.

Whatever his intention, he was seen by several witnesses and, in the aftermath of the murder, his presence so close to the scene of the crime for so long added extra confusion to police enquiry when several of those witnesses came forward to tell investigating officers about a sinister looking man who had been watching Miller's Court for a considerable amount of time.

A faint cry of "murder"

Shortly before 4am several of Mary’s neighbours were woken by a cry of "Murder!"

However, since it was quite common to hear such cries in the area, at all times of the day and night, they chose to ignore it.

Mary Kelly's room at 13 Miller's Court.

Mary Kelly's Room
13 Miller's Court

At 10.45am Mary Kelly's landlord, John McCarthy, sent his assistant Thomas Bowyer to collect her overdue rent.

He got no reply when he knocked on the door and so, no doubt believing she was in the room but trying to avoid having to pay her rent arrears, he went round to a broken window pane and pushed out the old coat and newspapers that Mary had used to cover the pane.

We can only imagine the horror that hit him as he gazed into the gloomy room and his eyes focused on a truly horrific and disturbing sight.

Mary Kelly lay upon her bed, her head turned to the left.

The whole of the surfaces of the abdomen and thighs had been removed and the abdominal cavity emptied.

The breasts had been cut off, the arms mutilated by several jagged wounds and the face hacked beyond recognition.

The uterus and the kidneys, together with one breast, were found beneath her head. The other breast lay by her right foot.

The liver had been placed between her legs, and the spleen by the left side of the body.

The murderer had left the tiny room in Miller’s Court and disappeared into the early morning.

An early crime scene photo

Mary Kelly has the distinction of being the only one of Jack the Ripper's victims who was actually photographed at the scene of the crime.

There was a delay between the police arriving at the scene and actually going into the room, largely because they were awaiting the arrival of blood hounds.

The photo taken at the scene of the crime of victim Mary Kelly.

Mary Kelly
Crime Scene Photo

When it became apparent that the dogs would not be coming, the police entered the room.

However, in the interim, they called in a local photographer who photographed the body in situ.

Even today that photograph is genuinely shocking and it really does convey the full horror of the injuries inflicted on Mary Kelly by her murderer.

Many of those who gazed on the awful carnage inside that tiny room at 13 Miller's Court carried the horrific memory of what they had seen for the remainder of their days.

Mary Kelly's landlord, John McCarthy, later told a reporter that he couldn't drive the horror of what he had witnessed from his mind and went on to opine that "it looked more like the work of a devil than the work of a man."

Interestingly, unlike previous victims, Mary Kelly's body was left at the crime scene whilst the police carried out a detailed examination of the room. Evidently, they were starting to gain an idea of a crime scene investigation.

The next murder - Rose Mylett