Unsolved Murders

Mary Ann Nichols

Age: 43

Sex: female

Date: 31 Aug 1888

Place: Bucks Row, Whitechapel, London

Mary Ann Nichols was stabbed to death in Bucks Row, Whitechapel in the early hours of 31 August 1888.

She was found at about 3.40am by a carman lying in front of a gated stable entrance. The carman was later put forward as a suspect in 2000.

She had been lying on her back with her eyes open, her legs straight, her skirt raised above her knees, and her left hand touching the gate.

A cart driver then came by and saw the carman standing over the body and went to look at the body and founs that her face was still warm, but her hands cold, however, when the carman suggested that she was dead, he said that he thought she was simply unconcious.

They then pulled her skirts down to cover her up and went off for a policeman, and met one at the corner of Hanbury Street and Baker's Row. They then told the police constale what they had found, with the carman adding:

She looks to me to be either dead or drunk, but for my part, I believe she's dead.

Both the carman and the cart driver then continued on their way to work and the police constable wen on to find the body. However, another police constable discovered her body whilst on his beat and when he found  that her throat had been cut he called for another police constable that was passing and told him to fetch a doctor which he did.

When the doctor arrived he found that she had two deep knife wounds to her throat and pronounced her lift extinct, adding that he thought she had been dead for about 30 minutes.

After her body was taken to the Old Montague Street Mortuary at 5:20am she was found to have also had stab wounds to her vagina and abdomen, her vagina having been stabbed twice and a stab wound to her left side and several cuts to her front that had left her bowels protruding.

It was suggested that the weapon used to cause the cuts to her abdomen had been a cork-cutter or a shoemaker's knife.

The doctor added that he thought that the murderer had had some anatomical knowldge.

He added that he thought that abdominal injuries would have taken four to five minutes to carry out and had all been carried out after her death, noting that there would as a result have been little blood spattering, and further observing that shehad bled very little, with only about half a pint found on the ground. 

She was soon after identified by a resident that had known her at the Lambeth Workhouse in Princess Road.

Her inquest was held on 1 September 1888 at the Working Lads' Institute on Whitechapel Road but adjoured several times, during which time Annie Chapman was also murdered, and closed on 22 September 1888 with a verdict of wilful murder against some person or persons unknown.

In his evidence at the inquest, the doctor that carried out the post mortem said:

Five of the teeth were missing, and there was a slight laceration of the tongue. There was a bruise running along the lower part of the jaw on the right side of the face. That might have been caused by a blow from a fist or pressure from a thumb. There was a circular bruise on the left side of the face which also might have been inflicted by the pressure of the fingers. On the left side of the neck, about 1in. below the jaw, there was an incision about 4in. in length, and ran from a point immediately below the ear. On the same side, but an inch below, and commencing about 1in. in front of it, was a circular incision, which terminated at a point about 3in. below the right jaw. That incision completely severed all the tissues down to the vertebrae. The large vessels of the neck on both sides were severed. The incision was about 8in. in length. The cuts must have been caused by a long-bladed knife, moderately sharp, and used with great violence. No blood was found on the breast, either of the body or the clothes. There were no injuries about the body until just about the lower part of the abdomen. Two or three inches from the left side was a wound running in a jagged manner. The wound was a very deep one, and the tissues were cut through. There were several incisions running across the abdomen. There were three or four similar cuts running downwards, on the right side, all of which had been caused by a knife which had been used violently and downwards. The injuries were from left to right and might have been done by a left-handed person. All the injuries had been caused by the same instrument.

Mary Nichols was buried on 6 September 1888 at the City of London Cemetery in Manor Park. She had been buried in an unmarked grave, but in 1996 the cemetary authorities marked the grave with a plaque.

Bucks Row was later renamed Durward Street in 1892.

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