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History Coursework - Jack the Ripper

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Introduction

History Coursework: Jack the Ripper: Question 3: Robert Coate: How useful are Source D and E in helping you to understand why the Ripper was able to avoid capture? I think that source D is quite useful because it gives an impression of the murderer however it can be seen as unreliable. Source D is eyewitness evidence from Elizabeth Long after the murder of Annie Chapman, Elizabeth's friend and it is an official part of evidence done under oath. It give an description of the murderer being a "shabby genteel" and it suggests that he is a foreigner. This got the police in quite a frenzy and led onto the foreigner theory- this caused the police to waste a lot of time and effort on this as it was their focal point ...read more.

Middle

Source E is useful as well because it is a newspaper and it posted updates on the Ripper case coming from the police. This meant that if "the Ripper" were to read the paper then he would always be one step ahead of the police and could easily change his plans to avoid capture and to get away with him crimes. Source E is a newspaper article from the local newspaper around Whitechapel - the article was published after the murders of Polly Nicholls and Annie Chapman- it mainly blames the police for their deaths. Papers at the time were reporting of poverty and social issues of Whitechapel and were running a campaign; the article says how it was the polices fault and in a way it is a "told you so" article ...read more.

Conclusion

Overall, both sources are fairly useful by giving an impression of the killer and the way he conducted his murders; source D about the description of the killer and source E, the description of Whitechapel and how it the police should tackle the problem. However, source D has its faults as Elizabeth Long is fairly unsure on what she saw when she witnessed Annie's murder and means that it may not be reliable, yet the police took it too seriously thus helping "the Ripper" avoid capture by just concentrating on foreigners when he possibly wasn't a foreigner. Source E also has its faults because newspapers are unreliable due to their constant sensationalising of stories. Nevertheless, they both give a certain degree of good evidence but it was put to the wrong uses and did more to help "the Ripper" avoid capture than get him caught. ...read more.

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