Jack the Ripper


Question 5. Study all the of the Sources.
‘The police were to blame for not capturing Jack the Ripper.’ Use the sources and you own knowledge to explain whether you agree with this view.


Answer: Source A would give the idea that it was the police’s fault for not capturing Jack the Ripper because it states that the murder victims were the poorest of the poor, and therefore gives the impression that the police didn’t care what happened or take an interest in the murders until the news began to effect other ‘higher class’ persons.

Sources B and C, both being of a medical and anatomical nature gave very little for the police to go on whlist looking for Jack the Ripper. The reports would have only given them the knowledge that the murderer had substanical anatomical knowledge and this information could have maybe caused them to narrow the search down to doctors, although this is unlikely.

Source D may have narrowed the police’s search criteria down slightly, but really gave them no tip off on to the identity of Jack the Ripper because, Elizabeth Long’s evidence was so vague as proven when she continuusly said something along the lines of; ‘I think’ or ‘I cannot be sure’ in each sentence of her evidence.

Source E, being part of a newspaper article could have been made to seem more ‘fantastic’ for the public to read and therefore, some could have been untrue, but there are someparts that could be true and helpful in finding out why the police were unable to catch Jack the Ripper. The source brings out the point that the police had been asked time and time again to do something about the open and often seen shows of ‘defiant ruffianism’; these requests were ignored by the police, and these shows of ruffianism could have given Jack the Ripper a group of people to disappear in the midst of, after he had commited a murder. So, if the police had tried to stop the ruffianism, then they may have had a better chance of capturing Jack the Ripper.

Source F shows that the police did begin to take some action to capture Jack the Ripper. However, this action was not the best course of action because, using the leaflet idea and counting on the word from mouth of the public method, although effective, Jack the Ripper could have heard from someone or read that the police were looking for him and decided to lie low, which he did until October 1888.

From a letter from the Home Secretary, it is said that the discontinuation of giving rewards for information is supported. The police brought this process in to get information to move their investigation forward. However, after sometime, this process was stopped when the police decided this was doing more harm than good, on the indication that they could have been paying out money for fake information.

Part of an article published in The Times news paper after the murder of Mary Kelly reported on the murder and it’s ruthlessness. Other than this, it reported that no trace of the murderer could be found. This attention to detail given by Jack the Ripper, gave the police an even harder task of catching Jack the Ripper, because their were no personal items left that could have been used to track him down. The article also mentions that the police were hoping some ‘accidental circumstance’ would lead to a tracce which would give them a successful conclusion.

Souce I shows a map of East London. Marked on the map are not only the locations of the Ripper murders, but also the places where other murders, commited in the year 1888, took place. The source shows that not only did the police have the Ripper murders to deal with and track, but also a substantial amount of other murders to deal with. This group of other murders could have distracted them somewhat from the first few Ripper murders. Also, some of the other murders could have been commited at the time of Jack the Rippers murders, so not all the police force were involved with the murders.

Source J, showing where the murder victim, Annie