Mary Jane Kelly A.K.A.. Marie Jeanette Kelly, Mary Ann Kelly, Ginger, Fair Emma
Compared with other Ripper victims, Kelly’s origins are obscure and undocumented, and much of it is possibly embellished. Kelly may have herself fabricated many details of her early life as there is no corroborating documentary evidence, but there is no evidence to the contrary either.According to Joseph Barnett, the man she had most recently lived with prior to her murder, Kelly had told him she was born in Limerick, Ireland in around 1863—although whether she referred to the city or the county is not known—and that her family moved to Wales when she was young.
Mary Jane Kelly was approximately 25 years old at the time of her death which would place her birth around 1863. She was 5′ 7″ tall and stout. She had blonde hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. “Said to have been possessed of considerable personal attractions.”
She was last seen wearing a linsey frock and a red shawl pulled around her shoulders. She was bare headed. Detective Constable Walter Dew claimed to know Kelly well by sight and says that she was attractive and paraded around, usually in the company of two or three friends. He says she always wore a spotlessly clean white apron.
On the morning of 9 November 1888, the day of the annual Lord Mayor’s Day celebrations, Kelly’s landlord John McCarthy sent his assistant, ex-soldier Thomas Bowyer, to collect the rent. Kelly was six weeks behind on her payments, owing 29 shillings.Shortly after 10:45 a.m., Bowyer knocked on her door but received no response. He reached through the crack in the window, pushed aside a coat being used as a curtain and peered inside discovering Kelly’s horribly mutilated corpse lying on the bed.
The Manchester Guardian of 10 November 1888 reported that Sgt Edward Badham accompanied Inspector Walter Beck to the site of 13 Miller’s Court after they were both notified of Kelly’s murder by a frantic Bowyer. Beck told the inquest that he was the first police officer at the scene and Badham may have accompanied him, but there are no official records to confirm Badham being with him. Edward Badham was on duty at Commercial Street police station on the evening of 12 November 1888. The inquest into the death of Mary Kelly had been completed earlier that day, when around 6 p.m. George Hutchinson arrived at the station to give his initial statement to Badham.
The wife of a local lodging-house deputy, Caroline Maxwell, claimed to have seen Kelly alive at about 8:30 on the morning of the murder, though she admitted to only meeting her once or twice before;moreover, her description did not match that of those who knew Kelly more closely. Maurice Lewis, a tailor, reported seeing Kelly at about 10:00 that same morning in a pub. Both statements were dismissed by the police since they did not fit the accepted time of death; moreover, they could find no one else to confirm the reports.Maxwell may have either mistaken someone else for Kelly, or mixed up the day she had seen her. Such confusion was used as a plot device in the graphic novel From Hell .
The scene was attended by Superintendent Thomas Arnold and Inspector Edmund Reid from Whitechapel’s H Division, as well as Frederick Abberline and Robert Anderson from Scotland Yard.
Arnold had the room broken into at 1:30 p.m. after the possibility of tracking the murderer from the room with bloodhounds was dismissed as impractical. A fire fierce enough to melt the solder between a kettle and its spout had burnt in the grate, apparently fuelled with clothing. Inspector Abberline thought Kelly’s clothes were burnt by the murderer to provide light, as the room was otherwise only dimly lit by a single candle.
The mutilation of Kelly’s corpse was by far the most extensive of any of the Whitechapel murders, probably because the murderer had more time to commit his atrocities in a private room rather than in the street.Dr. Thomas Bond and Dr. George Bagster Phillips examined the body.
Phillips and Bond timed her death to about 12 hours before the examination. Phillips suggested that the extensive mutilations would have taken two hours to perform,and Bond noted that rigor mortis set in as they were examining the body, indicating that death occurred between 2 and 8:00 a.m. Bond’s notes read:
“The body was lying naked in the middle of the bed, the shoulders flat but the axis of the body inclined to the left side of the bed. The head was turned on the left cheek. The left arm was close to the body with the forearm flexed at a right angle and lying across the abdomen. The right arm was slightly abducted from the body and rested on the mattress. The elbow was bent, the forearm supine with the fingers clenched. The legs were wide apart, the left thigh at right angles to the trunk and the right forming an obtuse angle with the pubis.
The whole of the surface of the abdomen and thighs was removed and the abdominal cavity emptied of its viscera. The breasts were cut off, the arms mutilated by several jagged wounds and the face hacked beyond recognition of the features. The tissues of the neck were severed all round down to the bone.
The viscera were found in various parts viz: the uterus and kidneys with one breast under the head, the other breast by the right foot, the liver between the feet, the intestines by the right side and the spleen by the left side of the body. The flaps removed from the abdomen and thighs were on a table.
The bed clothing at the right corner was saturated with blood, and on the floor beneath was a pool of blood covering about two feet square. The wall by the right side of the bed and in a line with the neck was marked by blood which had struck it in several places.
The face was gashed in all directions, the nose, cheeks, eyebrows, and ears being partly removed. The lips were blanched and cut by several incisions running obliquely down to the chin. There were also numerous cuts extending irregularly across all the features.
The neck was cut through the skin and other tissues right down to the vertebrae, the fifth and sixth being deeply notched. The skin cuts in the front of the neck showed distinct ecchymosis. The air passage was cut at the lower part of the larynx through the cricoid cartilage.
Both breasts were more or less removed by circular incisions, the muscle down to the ribs being attached to the breasts. The intercostals between the fourth, fifth, and sixth ribs were cut through and the contents of the thorax visible through the openings.
The skin and tissues of the abdomen from the costal arch to the pubes were removed in three large flaps. The right thigh was denuded in front to the bone, the flap of skin, including the external organs of generation, and part of the right buttock. The left thigh was stripped of skin fascia, and muscles as far as the knee.
The left calf showed a long gash through skin and tissues to the deep muscles and reaching from the knee to five inches above the ankle. Both arms and forearms had extensive jagged wounds.
The right thumb showed a small superficial incision about one inch long, with extravasation of blood in the skin, and there were several abrasions on the back of the hand moreover showing the same condition.
On opening the thorax it was found that the right lung was minimally adherent by old firm adhesions. The lower part of the lung was broken and torn away. The left lung was intact. It was adherent at the apex and there were a few adhesions over the side. In the substances of the lung there were several nodules of consolidation.
The pericardium was open below and the heart absent. In the abdominal cavity there was some partly digested food of fish and potatoes, and similar food was found in the remains of the stomach attached to the intestines.”
Phillips believed that Kelly was killed by a slash to the throat and the mutilations performed afterwards. Bond stated in a report that the knife used was about 1 in (25 mm) wide and at least 6 in (150 mm) long, but did not believe that the murderer had any medical training or knowledge. He wrote:
In each case the mutilation was inflicted by a person who had no scientific nor anatomical knowledge. In my opinion he does not even possess the technical knowledge of a butcher or horse slaughterer or a person accustomed to cut up dead animals.
Her body was taken to the mortuary in Shoreditch rather than the one in Whitechapel, which meant that the inquest was opened by the coroner for North East Middlesex, Dr. Roderick Macdonald, MP, instead of Wynne Edwin Baxter, the coroner who handled many of the other Whitechapel murders. The speed of the inquest was criticised in the press;Macdonald heard the inquest in a single day at Shoreditch Town Hall on 12 November.She was officially identified by Barnett, who said he recognised her by “the ear and the eyes”,and McCarthy was also certain the body was Kelly’s. Her death was registered in the name “Marie Jeanette Kelly”, age 25
Kelly was buried in the Roman Catholic Cemetery at Leytonstone on 19 November 1888. Her obituary ran as follows:
The funeral of the murdered woman Kelly has once more been postponed. Deceased was a Catholic, and the man Barnett, with whom she lived, and her landlord, Mr. M. Carthy, desired to see her remains interred with the ritual of her Church. The funeral will, therefore, take place tomorrow [19 Nov] in the Roman Catholic Cemetery at Leytonstone. The hearse will leave the Shoreditch mortuary at half-past twelve.
The remains of Mary Janet Kelly, who was murdered on Nov. 9 in Miller’s-court, Dorset-street, Spitalfields, were brought yesterday morning from Shoreditch mortuary to the cemetery at Leytonstone, where they were interred.
No family member could be found to attend the funeral