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Jack the ripper - Source related work.

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Amy Gilmour History Coursework 1. From source A, a newspaper article, we can learn that Polly Nicholls and Martha Tabram's murders were without reason and they were chosen at random by the killer. We learn mainly that the attack was very violent and that the killer put an excess of effort into the attacks. The girls are not linked except that they are the poorest of the poor and have both been murdered. We also learn more about the nature of the attack. Though the information is not necessarily true as it is taken from a newspaper article, which is a primary source but is also likely to be bias or sensationalised. The article also states that she was 'the poorest of the poor' which allows money to be excluded as a motive. The murders have been linked but there has been no proof provided and the story will have been exaggerated to keep the readers interested. 2. Source C is an official report of Dr Frederick Blackwell on the body of Elizabeth Stride describing the state of the body when it was found. As it is an official document it is very unlikely to be bias and is also a primary source, which would make it very reliable. All of the sources do agree that the attacks were violent, were done with a knife and the victims were very poor. ...read more.


The environment would have also played a part in helping the Ripper avoid capture and is described in source E as 'a network of narrow, dark and crooked lanes'. Amy Gilmour This would have given the Ripper an easy job in hiding or escaping before being caught. So both sources are indeed useful and are even more useful together but they still don't give the whole picture as many details are left out. 4. Sources F and G show that the police were trying to catch the Ripper though at this stage in the investigation they were becoming desperate. From the start of the investigation they had no idea that they were dealing with a serial killer, or even what a cereal killer was. They had wasted a lot of time in abattoirs. They also wasted more time following rumours about John Pizer or 'Leather Apron'. He was well known for threatening prostitutes with violence for money. He went into hiding but was found, arrested and later cleared as he had many alibis confirming that he was in hiding on the night of the murder. The police then proceeded to waste more time still on the extremely vague evidence of Elizabeth Long, they arrested many people but each was subsequently cleared. They became more and more desperate and distributed the handbill shown in source F to 80,000 houses. ...read more.


Source F, though a newspaper article and not very reliable, describes the lack of control and organisation in the police force. On the other hand, it also tells us that the environment in Whitechapel was ideal for someone to hide; the 'network of narrow, dark and crooked lanes' would make it easier for the Ripper to escape. Amy Gilmour The police did arrest many people but eventually released each of them in turn. After a long period of searching they became desperate and so published the handbill shown in source F. They had to publish this and the 'Dear Boss' letter because they had no co-operation from the public. This is because the public had previously been treated badly by the police so they had no support from local people and no respect from them. The police had been trying to find the Ripper and at this stage of the investigation were desperate. They tried asking for reward money but were rejected. An offer of a reward would have more than likely been very helpful in getting co-operation from the community. In conclusion, the police were not entirely to blame for not capturing Jack the Ripper, as there were many other factors involved such as misleading rumours in the press and being spread by word of mouth, the environment in Whitechapel and the lack of co-operation from the public. Each played some part in the police failing to capture Jack the Ripper meaning it was not entirely their fault. ...read more.

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