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Why did the Whitechapel murders attract so much attention?

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Introduction

Why did the Whitechapel murders attract so much attention? This essay will inform you of the reasons why the Whitechapel murders of1888 attracted so much attention from the press, the public and the police. I will write about the five gruesome murders of London prostitutes, the way in which the police handled it and the way the press blew it all out of proportion. I will also briefly cover why the police were unable to catch the murderer. Life in Whitechapel during the nineteenth century was pretty grim. The streets were squalid and full of criminals. Impoverished Londoners and foreigners were packed into tiny rooms because they couldn't afford anywhere decent to live. Many women turned to prostitution just so they could have somewhere to sleep; though many spent their earnings on gin. A common rate for a prostitute was about 3 pence, the price of a glass of gin. Since there were so many of them, nobody looked twice at the prostitutes, they were just a part of life. The lower classes didn't think there was much wrong with prostitution; it was a source of income. However, much of the upper class looked down their noses at prostitutes, even though the majority had used them at one point or another. ...read more.

Middle

The next murder was that of Annie Chapman, who was murdered in Spitalfields on September 8th 1888. She was found at around 6AM in Hanbury street with her throat cut. Annie had also been disembowelled, her uterus had been taken and, her intestines had been cut out and placed over her shoulder. A witness had seen Annie with a man at around 5:30 AM, however this was no thought unusual, as she was a prostitute. Another witness heard a woman saying "no" through the fence and then heard something fall against the fence, but the significance of this is unknown. All the incisions were made with great precision, which indicates that the Ripper had great anatomical knowledge. However, it has been speculated that even a skilled surgeon of the time would not have been able to carry out the mutilation in under 15 minutes, as Jack the Ripper must have done. Then came the night of the double murder. The next victim is believed to be Elizabeth Stride (or "Long Lizzy"), but this is very controversial. Her body was found on 30th September 1888 at around 1AM in Dutfield's Yard. Her throat had been cut, but no further mutilations had been inflicted. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lives of innocent people were made hell by false accusations made by the police. John Pizer, or 'Leather Apron', was suspected of the murders and was attacked by in his home and on the streets by frightened and angered members of the public. The new transport system in Britain meant that national newspapers could be distributed across the country. Although the murders were contained to the East End of London, the panic was spread nationwide due to press sensationalism. The journalists did what they could to sell papers and cared little about the truth. The papers used graphic descriptions and detailed illustrations to portray the full horror of the murders. The pictures meant that the lower class, badly educated citizens could take an interest in the Ripper murders. This information - though largely fictitious - whipped the nation into a frenzy. Everyone was afraid for their lives, even upper class citizens living nowhere near the East end. In all, there were many reasons for the attention attracted by the Whitechapel murders; the brutality, police incompetence's and the press all played major parts in terrifying the nation. The press were responsible for informing the entire country, and most of Europe, about the horror of the murders; this was probably the main cause of the wide spread panic. ...read more.

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