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Jack the Ripper.

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Introduction

Jack the Ripper Coursework Assignment Q1.) Source A describes two murders, which startled London, the killings of Martha Tabram and Polly Nicholls. Whitechapel (setting of the murders) was a crime-ridden place. It wasn't the cleanest of places, or best laid out. Whitechapel was a string of narrow passages. From this source we can learn about Polly Nicholls' death. Firstly, she died a similar, extraordinary violent death as Martha Tabram, which suggests the same 'demented' killer. She was claimed to be the 'poorest of the poor', a prostitute, which infers there could have been no motive. As the police didn't have the forensics or scientific knowledge that we have today, they had no evidence to work on. This source is useful, but it does have its weaknesses. Firstly we have to take into consideration that it is a newspaper article and it is very limited in what to offers. The language is quite simple and unspecific. The author probably hasn't seen any of the bodies, and suggests another weakness in the source. Basically this article is just generating/reflecting emotions of the 'startled people in London' at the time. Q2.) Source B deals with the Coroner's report of Polly Nicholls. Effort has been made to talk about the appearance of the body, but insufficient to show how it was an 'extraordinary' murder. The coroner made many assumptions of whom the murderer is, without referring to Polly. ...read more.

Middle

These raised awareness by appealing for witnesses to come forward and identifying the murderer. This is a reliable, primary source. The police couldn't lie to the public about the recent events and the source shows how .the police were in close contact with the public. The police were using very basic techniques at this time. We have to take into consideration that this is the 1880's so the police didn't have modern scientific methods. They had no means of a fingerprint classification system; the police at one time used footprints as a means of evidence. Another technique was undercover work, which required the police had to dress up as prostitutes. At this time, police weren't allowed to be seen with prostitutes. They had to go undercover. They relied heavily on evidence from the community. The police did house to house enquiries but gained little. Because interviews were the only real way to get information, police were often led into suspicion based on prejudice. Hence so many random arrests. At this time many immigrants from Poland, and Jewish people had settled in Whitechapel. The English population were very suspicious of them. The police possibly had this view too because they mainly focused on foreigners. They also concentrated on butchers and doctors, due to the disagreement whether the killer knew what he was doing or not (on said he had 'known the anatomy' and 'no mere butcher could have carried this out'). ...read more.

Conclusion

There are 2 possible reasons for this. One was to misdirect the police from the royal family, and the sentiment agreed with that of the country at the time because of political unrest and war campaigns. Source A states that newspapers sensationalised everything. It was the first serial killing and the police were in their infancy. The police were more military than brains. The police were under intense pressure dealing with newspapers making assumptions etc. A also shows that there were no motives, the killings were random, which made the investigation much harder. Source J shows how Jack was risky because the picture shows how close to civilisation the killings took place. Whitechapel was a very populated part of London and there was bound to have been inhabitants of the surrounding houses. Source I supports this because it shows the layout of Whitechapel and how there was a random pattern to the killings. This increased the level of difficulty of the investigation because the evidence was a poor standard. The police were desperate for witnesses. Source F shows how the police did appeal for witnesses but maybe relied too heavily on them. From looking at the sources and from my own knowledge, I have come to a conclusion. It would be unjust to blame the police. They had a part in not capturing Jack, but there were many other factors why he wasn't caught. The setting, the public, the random movement of the killer, the insufficient knowledge, and the police all played a part. ...read more.

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