Monday Mystery-Annie Chapman (Jack the Ripper Part II)

Background

So, it might not be exactly one week on, but I’ve finally got round to the second post in this series. Today we’re going to look at Jack the Ripper’s second murder, which happened on September 8th 1888. Of late, there has been much rumour on the identity of the murderer, with newspapers and books alike claiming they’ve solved it by DNA. Until some hard evidence surfaces (such as this DNA proof appearing in a journal and not in the Daily Mail), this blogger is not going to consider it worthwhile. Instead, we’re going to go back in time again to a misty London, and see what happened for ourselves.

Annie Chapman was born Eliza Ann Smith. She was the daughter of George Smith of the 2nd Regiment Life Guards and Ruth Chapman. Her parents married after her birth, on 22 February 1842, in Paddington. Smith was a soldier at the time of his marriage, later becoming a domestic servant. On 1 May 1869, Annie married her maternal relative John Chapman, a coachman, at All Saints Church in the Knightsbridge district of London. For some years the couple lived at addresses in West London, and they had three children:

  • Emily Ruth Chapman, born on 25 June 1870.
  • Annie Georgina Chapman, born on 5 June 1873.
  • John Alfred Chapman, born on 21 November 1880.

In 1881 the family moved to Berkshire where John Chapman took a job as coachman to a farm bailiff. But young John had been born disabled, while their firstborn, Emily Ruth, died of meningitis shortly after at the age of 12. Following this, both Chapman and her husband took to heavy drinking and separated in 1884. Annie Chapman eventually moved to Whitechapel, where in 1886 she was living with a man who made wire sieves; because of this she was often known as Annie “Sievey” or “Siffey”. After she and her husband separated, she had received an allowance of 10 shillings a week from him, but at the end of 1886 the payments stopped abruptly. On inquiring why they had stopped, she found her husband had died of alcohol-related causes. The sieve-maker left her soon after, possibly due to the cessation of her income. One of her friends later testified that Chapman became very depressed after this and seemed to give up on life. Her friends called her “Dark Annie”, for her dark brown hair. By 1888 Chapman was living in common lodging houses in Whitechapel, occasionally in the company of Edward “the Pensioner” Stanley, a bricklayer’s labourer. She earned some income from crochet work and selling flowers, supplemented by casual prostitution. An acquaintance described her as “very civil and industrious when sober”, but noted “I have often seen her the worse for drink.” In the week before her death she was feeling ill after being bruised in a fight with Eliza Cooper, a fellow resident in Crossingham’s lodging house at 35 Dorset Street, Spitalfields. The two were reportedly rivals for the affections of a local hawker called Harry, but Eliza claimed the fight was over a borrowed bar of soap that Annie had not returned.

The Murder

According to the lodging house deputy Tim Donovan and the watchman John Evans, at about 1:45 a.m. on the morning of her death, Chapman found herself without money for her lodging and went out to earn some on the street. At the inquest one of the witnesses, Mrs. Elizabeth Long testified that she had seen Chapman talking to a man at about 5:30 a.m. just beyond the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields. Mrs. Long described him as over forty, and a little taller than Chapman, of dark complexion, and of foreign, “shabby-genteel” appearance. He was wearing a hat and dark overcoat. If correct in her identification of Chapman, it is likely that Long was the last person to see Chapman alive besides her murderer. Chapman’s body was discovered at just before 6:00 a.m. on the morning of 8 September 1888 by a resident of number 29, market porter John Davis. She was lying on the ground near a doorway in the back yard. John Richardson, the son of a resident of the house, had been in the back yard shortly before 5 a.m. to trim a loose piece of leather from his boot, and carpenter Albert Cadosch had entered the neighbouring yard at 27 Hanbury Street at about 5:30 a.m., and heard voices in the yard followed by the sound of something falling against the fence. He took no notice.

Evidence indicated that Chapman may have been killed as late as 5:30 a.m., in the enclosed back yard of a house occupied by sixteen people, none of whom had seen or heard anything at the time of the murder.The passage through the house to the back-yard was not locked, as it was frequented by the residents at all hours of the day, and the front door was wide open when the body was discovered. Richardson said that he had often seen strangers, both men and women, in the passage of the house. Her throat was cut from left to right, and she had been disembowelled, with her intestines thrown out of her abdomen over each of her shoulders. The morgue examination revealed that part of her uterus was missing. Chapman’s protruding tongue and swollen face led Dr Phillips to think that she may have been asphyxiated with the handkerchief around her neck before her throat was cut. As there was no blood trail leading to the yard, he was certain that she was killed where she was found. He concluded that she suffered from a long-standing lung disease, that the victim was sober at the time of death, and had not consumed alcoholic beverages for at least some hours before it. Phillips was of the opinion that the murderer must have possessed anatomical knowledge to have sliced out the reproductive organs in a single movement with a blade about 6–8 inches (15–20 cm) long. However, the idea that the murderer possessed surgical skill was dismissed by other experts.

Timeline

Now we shall examine a timeline of events, similar to last week, but this time stretching back to a few days before the murder occurred.

AUG 31, 1888
3:40am
Polly Nichols found dead in Buck’s Row.

SAT, SEP 1, 1888 Annie fought with and lost to a fellow lodger, Eliza Cooper, over a half-pennce.

MON, SEP 3, 1888 Annie’s friend, Amelia Palmer, saw Annie in Dorset St who complained about being ill. Palmer noticed a bruise on Annie’s right temple and asked, “How did you get that?” “Yes, look at my chest,” replied Annie, opening her dress to reveal another bruise. Annie also stated, “If my sister will send me the boots, I shall go hopping.”

TUE, SEP 4, 1888 Amelia saw Annie at the Spitalfields Church, and Annie again complained of feeling unwell, stating that she should go to the casual ward. Palmer noticed Annie’s pale condition, who replied that she had nothing to eat or drink all day. Palmer gave Annie 2d (1p) and told her to buy some tea, not rum.

FRI, SEP 7, 1888
2:00-3:00pm
Crossingham’s house deputy, Timothy Donovan, permitted Annie to sit in the kitchen, asking where she had been all week. “In the infirmary,” answered Annie.

FRI, SEP 7, 1888
5:00pm
Palmer met Annie in Dorset St. Annie was still feeling ill. “Are you going to Stratford to-day?” asked Palmer. Annie answered, “I feel too ill to do anything.”

FRI, SEP 7, 1888
c.5:10pm
Palmer saw Annie, again, in the same spot. Annie said, “It is of no use my going away. I shall have to go somewhere to get some money to pay my lodgings.”

FRI, SEP 7, 1888
11:30pm
Annie returned to the lodging-house and was, again, permitted to sit in the kitchen, leaving after only a short time.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
c.12:12am
Annie returned to the lodging-house, saying she had been to Vauxhall to see her sister, and that her relations gave her 5d (2 1/2p).Fellow lodger, William Stevens, saw Annie in the kitchen. Annie said she had been to the hospital and would go to the infirmary the next day. She had a bottle of lotion and a bottle of medicine. She took out a box of pills from her pocket, and, upon handling it, the box broke. Annie placed the pills in a torn piece of envelope she found on the floor near the fireplace.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
12:30am
Frederick Simmons, a fellow lodger, and Annie had a beer.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
1:00am
Simmons saw Annie leave Crossingham’s (#35 Dorset St), believing she went to the Brittannia pub, (located on the north-west corner of Dorset St and Commercial St).

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
1:30-1:45am
Annie returned to the lodging-house and was eating a baked potato in the kitchen. Donovan sent the night watchman, John Evans, for her doss money. Annie went to Donovan and said, “I haven’t sufficient money for a bed, but don’t let it. I shall not be long before I am in.” “You cant find money for your beer or your bed,” replied Donovan. “Never mind, Tim. I shall soon be back. Don’t let the bed,” Annie responded. (Donovan thought Annie was drunk.)

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
c.1:50am
Evans escorted Annie outside. Annie then said, “I won’t be long, Brummy. See that Tim keeps the bed for me.’ Annie then walked up Little Paternoster Row, into Brushfield St, and turned towards the Spitalfields Church. (Evans thought Annie was the worse for drink.)

SEP 8, 1888
2:30am
Emily Walter was in the backyard of 29 Hanbury St with a man. He was 37; Dark beard and moustache; foreign accent; dark vest and pants; black scarf and felt hat; short dark jacket.

          Hanbury St curves south-east from Commercial St to the junction of Baker’s Row and Old Montague St. #29 was on the North side of the street, between Wilkes St & Brick Ln. 27 Hanbury St was next door on the West side of #29. 29 Hanbury St, a 3-story building with residents living on each of the three floors and in the attic with a small business on the ground floor and one working out of the cellar. On the left-hand side of the buildings’ front was two doors: the door on the right led to the shop. The door on the left opened to a passageway containing stairs to the residences and another door leading to the backyard. #29 was owned by Mrs Amelia Richardson, who ran a packing case business out of the cellar and was assisted by Francis Tyler and her son, John Richardson. A cat’s meat shop was in the ground floor front room and was used by Mrs Harriet Hardyman and her 16 year old son. The ground floor back room was a kitchen. Mrs Richardson and her 14 year old grandson slept in the first floor front room. The first floor back room was occupied by Mr Waker and his adult, retarded son. Mr Thompson, his wife, and their adopted daughter slept in the second floor front room. Two unmarried sisters, Misses Copsey, lived in the second floor back room. Living in the front room of the attic was John Davis with his wife and three sons, and occupying the attic’s back room was Mrs Sarah Cox. Typically neither door was locked in the passageway. Three small stone steps led to the yard, which was about 14′ x 12′. The yard was part dirt and part paving stone. About 3′ to 3′-6″, left of the doorway, was a 5′-6″ high fence made of wooden pailings, separating the yards of #27 & #29. To the right of the doorway, were cellar doors, which led to a workshop. Two feet away, on the right, was a water pump. At the yard’s far left corner was a storage shed, and at the far right corner was a privy.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
3:00am
Davis woke up.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
c.3:50am
Thompson left for work without going into the back yard. Mrs Richardson, dozing fitfully, heard him pass her room and called out, “Good morning.”

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
4:45am
John Richardson stopped by to check the cellar door padlock, which he often did since it had been broken into some months earlier. He was not actually in the yard, since he could see the padlock from the top of the steps.Richardson sat on the steps, trying to trim a piece of leather from his boots with a table knife that he brought from home.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
4:50am
Richardson left.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
4:51am
Dawn broke.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
5:00am
Davis fell back asleep.(A case of mistaken identity had incorrectly placed Annie at the Ten Bells pub.) Mrs Elizabeth Long left her house at 32 Church Row for the Spitalfields Market.Spitalfields Market opened.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
c.5:15am
Albert Cadoche of 27 Hanbury St woke up.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
5:20am
Cadoche went into the backyard of #27. Upon his return to the house, he heard voices quite close to him. Of which, he could only make out the word “No.”

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
5:25am
Sun rose.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
c.5:25am
Cadoche re-entered his backyard and heard a fall against the fence. Cadoche returned to the house and prepared to leave for work.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
5:30am
Davis woke back up. Walking South down Brick Ln, Long neared Hanbury St, noting the time from the clock of the Black Eagle Brewery, Brick Ln. She then turned westerly onto Hanbury St.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
c.5:32am
Cadoche passed by the Spitalfields Church. Long saw a man and woman standing near 29 Hanbury St, talking. The man had a shabby, genteel, and foreign appearance. He had a dark complexion; wore a brown deerstalker and a dark coat; He seemed 40-ish; and, was slightly taller than the woman “Will you?” the man asked. “Yes,” said the woman.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
A Few Minutes After 5:30am
Long reached the Spitalfields Market.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
5:45am
Davis and wife got out of bed as the Spitalfields Church clock struck the quarter hour. They had some tea.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
c.5:55am
Davis went downstairs, noticing that the passageway door to the street stood wide open, which was not unusual. Davis then opened the other door to enter the backyard and saw the body.

      Annie was lying on her back, parallel with the fence, which was to her left; Her head was about 2′ from the back wall and 6″-9″ left of the bottom step; Her legs were bent at the knees; Her feet were flat on the ground pointing toward the shed; Her dress was pushed above her knees; Her left arm lay across her left breast; Her right arm at her side; The small intestines, still attached by a cord, and part of the abdomen lay above her right shoulder; 2 flaps of skin from the lower abdomen lay in a large quantity of blood above the left shoulder; Her throat was deeply cut in a jagged manner; A neckerchief was around her neck.

Davis immediately left the yard and ran out into the street.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
6:00am
(Tyler, who was frequently late for work, was not yet at the house).

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
(6:10am)
James Kent and James Green were standing outside their workshop at 23A Hanbury St, waiting for their fellow workers to arrive when Davis entered the street. “Men! Come here! Here’s a sight. A woman must have been murdered!” shouted Davis to Green and Kent.Henry John Holland was passing by and followed the others to the yard. Only Holland ventured into the yard.All of them then left: Green, apparently, returned to work; Kent did not notice a constable in the area, so he went to his workshop for a brandy while looking for a canvas to put over the body; Holland went to the Spitalfields Market, where he found a constable who was on a fixed point; and, Davis went to the Commercial Street Police Station, to report the finding.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
(exact time unknown)
Mrs Hardyman woke up to the sound of Davis and the others in the passageway and sent her son to see what was going on. Upon his return, he said, “Don’t upset yourself, mother. It’s a woman been killed in the yard.”

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
c.6:10am
Mrs Richardson went into the passageway after receiving news from her grandson. (Only Annie’s body was in the yard.) Inspector Joseph Luniss Chandler was at the corner of Hanbury St and Commercial St when he saw several men running from Hanbury St. “Another woman has been murdered,” he was told.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
(6:13am)
Insp Chandler arrived at the scene. (A crowd had already begun to gather in the passageway, but no one was in the yard.) He sent for the Divisional Surgeon, Doctor George Bagster Phillips, 2 Spital Square; He sent for an ambulance and reinforcements from the Commercial Street Police Station; He notified Scotland Yard and covered the body with sacking he borrowed from a neighboring resident.Kent returned to #29 and found that Insp Chandler had taken possession of the backyard and that a crowd had gathered in the passageway near the door.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
6:20am
Dr Phillips learned of the body.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
c.6:30am
Dr Phillips arrived upon the scene and began his initial examination.

      Estimated time of death was viewed as c.4:30am; The face was swollen and turned to her right side; The tongue was very swollen, protruding between the front teeth but not the lips; The limbs were not very stiff but rigor mortis was commencing; The throat was deeply severed by a jagged incisions which reached right around the neck; The body was cold, but heat remained in the body under the intestines.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
c.6:40am
The ambulance had arrived and Dr Phillips ordered the body to be taken to the Whitechapel Workhouse Infirmary Mortuary in Eagle St off of Old Montague St. As the body was being removed, the contents of Annie’s pocket, which had been cut, were discovered at her feet: A folded piece of coarse muslin, a comb, and a pocket hair comb in a case. (Dr Phillips felt the items were arranged/placed.) Dr Phillips and Insp Chandler then searched the area, finding an envelope piece with the Royal Sussex Regiment crest, the letter “M” in a man’s handwriting, letters “SP,” the number “2,” and the postmark “London, 23 August, 1888″ containing the 2 pills laying by her head; A wet leather apron drying on the water tap 2′ from the body; A basin of clean water resting beneath the water tap; 6 spots of blood on the back wall, near where Annie’s head had lain, were located about 18″ off the ground and ranged in size from that of six pence to that of a pin point; About 14” off the ground, near the position of Annie’s head, were clotted patches and smears of blood on the pailings of the still-intact fence; No blood stains were found in the passageway, in the rest of the house, in the street, or in the adjoining yards; An empty nail box and a piece of flat steel were found in the yard.News of the murder had spread, and Sergeant Edward Badham was met by several hundred people as he conveyed the body to the mortuary.

SAT, SEP 8, 1888
c.6:45am
In the passageway of #29, Insp Chandler spoke with Richardson, who told Insp Chandler that he had been at the house earlier that morning, but that he did not go into the yard. Though, he was certain that Annie’s body was not there at that time.

Witnesses

Below we examine stories already highlighted above with others as well. Overall it gives a better picture of those present.

Albert Cadosch: Cadosch testified that on the morning of 8th September 1888, he got up at 5.15am and went into the yard, presumably to relieve himself. On going back to the house, he heard a voice say “No!” from behind the fence which divided the backyards of Nos.27 and 29 Hanbury Street. A few minutes later, he needed to use the yard again, whereupon he heard something touch the fence from the other side. His suspicions were not aroused as he had occasionally heard people in the yard of No.29 at that time of the morning. He did not hear the rustling of clothes and he did not look to see what was causing the noises When he left the house, he noted that the clock of Christ Church read 5.32am. He did not see any man and woman together outside, nor did he see Mrs Elizabeth Long.

Mary Chappell: A friend of Mrs. Fiddymont who saw a suspicious looking man with blood on his hand in the Prince Albert on the morning of 8th September 1888. After the man left the pub, Chappell followed him and on Brushfield Street she pointed him out to passer-by Joseph Taylor.

John Davis: On Friday, September 7th 1888, he had gone to bed at approximately 8.00pm; his sons came in at different times thereafter, the last one at about 10.45pm. Davis was awake between 3.00am and 5.00am on the morning of the 8th, before falling back to sleep for half an hour. He got up at 5.45am. He was certain of the time as he heard the clock of Christchurch chime.When he went downstairs to the backyard, he noticed that the front door of the housewas wide open (not unusual) and that the back door leading to the yard was shut. When he entered the yard, Davis saw the body of Annie Chapman.He did not go any further into the yard, but ran out into the street where he saw two men whose names he did not know (actually James Green and James Kent) and after telling them of his discovery, they went to see the body for themselves. Davis did not know the deceased and heard nothing suspicious during the night.

Mrs. Fiddymont: the wife of the proprietor of the Prince Albert pub which stood at the corner of Brushfield Street and Steward Street. She stated that at 7am on 8th September 1888, soon after the death of Annie Chapman, she was standing in the ‘first compartment’ of the bar talking with her friend Mary Chappell. A man entered the pub (in the ‘middle compartment’) whose appearance frightened her. He was wearing a brown stiff hat, a dark coat, and no waistcoat; his hat was pulled down over his eyes and with his face partly concealed he asked for half a pint of ‘four ale’. She served the drink whilst looking at him through the mirror at the back of the bar. As soon as he saw Mary Chappell watching him from the other compartment, he turned his back and got the partition between himself and her. Mrs. Fiddymont was struck by the fact that there were blood spots on the back of his right hand. She also noticed that his shirt was torn. The man drank the beer in one gulp and immediately left.

Alfred Gunthorpe: Passed down Hanbury Street on his cart a few minutes after 5.40am, 8th September 1888 and reported seeing nothing out of the ordinary before he turned into Brick Lane. This was a few minutes after his colleague James Wiltshire had passed that way.

Elizabeth Long: On Saturday morning 8th September 1888, Mrs Long was passing down Hanbury-street from home and going to Spitalfields Market. It was about 5:30; she was certain of the time, as the clock at the Black Eagle Brewery had just struck the half-hour when she passed 29 Hanbury Street(see below). She was on the same side of the street as No.29 and outside the house she saw a man and woman on the pavement talking. The man’s back was turned towards Brick Lane, while the woman’s was towards the Spitalfields Market. They were talking together, and were close against the shutters of No.29. Mrs Long saw the woman’s face, but she did not see the man’s, except to notice that he was dark. She described him as wearing a brown deer-stalker hat, and she thought he had on a dark coat, but was not quite certain of that. She could not say what the age of the man was, but he looked to be over 40, and appeared to be a little taller than deceased. He appeared to be a foreigner, and had a ‘shabby genteel’ appearance. Witness could hear them talking loudly, and she overheard him say to the woman, “Will you?” to which she replied, “Yes.” They remained there there as Mrs Long passed, and she continued on her way without looking back. Mrs Long saw nothing to indicate that they were not sober and apparently, it was not an unusual thing to see men and women talking together at that hour, in that locality. On 12th September, she went to the mortuary and identified the body of Chapman as being the woman she had seen on the morning of the 8th. Apart from this sighting contradicting the evidence of Dr George Bagster Phillips, who gave the estimated time of Chapman’s death as around 4.30am, it also proves problematical when compared with the evidence of Albert Cadosch. His timings would have it that he heard the noises in the backyard of No.29 before Mrs Long’s sighting. One possible solution is that Mrs Long heard the brewery clock strike the quarter-hour (ie 5.15am) rather than the half-hour. This, however, remains conjecture.

John Richardson: At about 4.45am on 8th September 1888, he called at 29 Hanbury Street on his way to work in order to check that the cellar doors in the backyard were secure(a few months previously, the cellar had been broken into and a saw and a hammer were stolen). He also occasionally checked the house itself to make sure that the stairs and landings were not being used by prostitutes and their clients. Looking out of the door to the backyard, he satisfied himself that the cellar was secure. He then sat on the second step leading down into the yard in order to cut a piece of leather from his boot which had been hurting him. He would have been a mere yard from where Chapman’s body was discovered but did not see anything. He was no more than three minutes at the house and although it was only just getting light, he could see all round the yard, believing that had the deceased been lying where she was later found, he most certainly would have seen her.

James Wiltshire: Informed the press that he had been driving through Hanbury Street at 5.40am on 8th September 1888. He stated that “there was no bother then, and no sign that a murder had been committed. There were people about, but I did not notice anyone in particular.

The press

Similar to the murder of Polly Nichols, newspapers here in Ireland picked up the story of Annie Chapman

The Munster News and Limerick and Clare Advocate
Limerick, Ireland
Saturday, 8th September 1888
ANOTHER WHITECHAPEL MURDER

The Central News says:- All London has been horrified this morning by another atrocious murder in Whitechapel. A woman about thirty, an unfortunate, was found at four o’clock this morning in a backyard of a common lodging-house at Hanbury street, her throat having been cut from ear to ear. Her body was ripped open, the heart and bowels being torn out and lying on the ground. Some of the entrails were found tied around the woman’s neck. The police have a clue

LATER – Excited crowds surround the house in Spitalfield where the woman was found murdered this morning. As the lodginghouse is always open it is quite possible the woman was murdered in the street and dragged into the yard afterwards. Rings appear to have been wrenched off the deceased’s fingers. The police believe only a maniac could have committed such a fiendish crime.

LATER STILL – The woman murdered in Spitalfield last night, has been identified as a prostitute named Anne Siffey. She was under the influence of drink last night, and was seen at an early hour this morning. She was unable to pay her lodging money last night at the common lodging house where she lived.

As a final note, with a murder mystery spanning a hundred years and more, stories have always grown up from Jack the Ripper. One of the more interesting ones comes from a book of supposedly true occurring ghost stories. Back in the 1970s a Mr. Chapman (no relation to victim) was living in Hanbury street. On no less than four occasions, he pulled back the curtains and saw a man and a woman disappearing down the alley into the yard. These sightings always happened in Autumn.

Next time, the mystery gets truly bizarre as the Ripper strikes twice in one night….

2 thoughts on “Monday Mystery-Annie Chapman (Jack the Ripper Part II)

    1. Thanks Sharon. I must return and finish the series. I got a lot of the detail off a separate Ripper website that writer has done some serious research to help with this!

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