England · Newspaper clippings · Serial Killers

Jack the Ripper’s second victim

September 8, 1888
Spitalfields, London, England
Annie Chapman becomes Jack the Ripper’s second victim

Chapman had been married to a man named John. The pair had 3 children, though by the time the couple separated one had died of meningitis shortly after turning 12, one was traveling with a circus, and one who had been born disabled and was placed in a charitable school. She received a weekly allowance from her husband and moved in with a wire sieve maker. However, the payments stopped abruptly and she discovered John had died from alcohol-related issues. Her sieve-maker left her soon after.

To make ends meet, Chapman took odd jobs such as selling flowers and crochet-work. To supplement her income, she occasionally turned to prostitution. This was the case the night of her murder, with Chapman turning to the streets to earn money for boarding.

Chapman was found around 6am on the morning of September 8. An article from The Times (September 14, 1888) described the scene:

The left arm was placed across the left breast. The legs were drawn up, the feet resting on the ground, and the knees turned outwards. The face was swollen and turned on the right side. The tongue protruded between the front teeth, but not beyond the lips. The tongue was evidently much swollen. The front teeth were perfect as far as the first molar, top and bottom and very fine teeth they were. The body was terribly mutilated … the stiffness of the limbs was not marked, but was evidently commencing. He noticed that the throat was dissevered deeply; that the incision through the skin were jagged and reached right round the neck … On the wooden paling between the yard in question and the next, smears of blood, corresponding to where the head of the deceased lay, were to be seen. These were about 14 inches from the ground, and immediately above the part where the blood from the neck lay. …

The instrument used at the throat and abdomen was the same. It must have been a very sharp knife with a thin narrow blade, and must have been at least 6 to 8 inches in length, probably longer. He should say that the injuries could not have been inflicted by a bayonet or a sword bayonet. They could have been done by such an instrument as a medical man used for post-mortem purposes, but the ordinary surgical cases might not contain such an instrument. Those used by the slaughtermen, well ground down, might have caused them. He thought the knives used by those in the leather trade would not be long enough in the blade. There were indications of anatomical knowledge … he should say that the deceased had been dead at least two hours, and probably more, when he first saw her; but it was right to mention that it was a fairly cool morning, and that the body would be more apt to cool rapidly from its having lost a great quantity of blood. There was no evidence … of a struggle having taken place. He was positive the deceased entered the yard alive …

A handkerchief was round the throat of the deceased when he saw it early in the morning. He should say it was not tied on after the throat was cut.

Clipping from The Illustrated Police News, September 22, 1888

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