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Why were the police unable to catch Jack the Ripper?

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Why were the police unable to catch Jack the Ripper? Jack the Ripper was one of Britain's first serial killers. The police had only been set up in 1829, and had no experience in catching serial killers or knowing how one operated. During this time techniques such as forensic doctors or murder investigation teams was not even dreamt of. They simply had no way of finding clues as to who the Ripper was. This and the fact that the ripper was using methods unheard of at that time; combined to leave the police helpless in ever catching the Ripper out. The Ripper had used the police force's inexperience and the victims' vulnerability to his advantage. In the early months of 1888, several attacks on prostitutes had occurred. These included Emma Smith on April 2nd and Martha Tabram on 6th August. Both had been violently stabbed in several parts of the body. No one was convicted for their murders. When the Ripper investigation had started, people made links with these two murders and the Ripper's murders. Many similarities had been found between the murders, most notable was the knife used and where the wounds were found on the body. ...read more.


This report had said that the man was sinister and women were scared of him. The press were releasing these descriptions of 'Leather Apron' and several other characters, this forced the police to follow up investigations about them as the people demanded that whoever was suspected by the press should be investigated. This press coverage had diverted the police and because the police had a bad reputation, they had no choice but to listen to the public demands. Therefore people suspected the Jews over any other people in Whitechapel. In an attempt to catch the ripper out the police had increased the amount of officers on beat duty also PCs were walking through Whitechapel and then go back along the same route. This means that the murders would needed to have been quick as the police would have been coming back the same way. On the night of the Eddowes murder. (30 September) PC Watkins had passed through the murder scene at 1:30 am, and then returned at 1:44 am and found the body. This suggests that the murderer was watching both the PC and the victim. This also shows us that the murderer knew what he was doing and had done it before. ...read more.


When you bring all of the previously mentioned above, we can see that the police had several difficulties in trying to solve the murders or 1888. All of these factors played a big part in the police forces unsuccessful attempt to catch the killer. This is because the false leads that the police followed up wasted the time of a stretched and ill-equipped police force. Also the press coverage made the police shift the lines of enquiry a lot and further wasted time. The factors linked together and had equal importance. However the most important factor was the police forces inability and therefore ineffective attempt to solve the murders. This linked together with the problems of interpreting and evidence in an effective way, which resulted in angry mobs attacking people which the press had named. If the murderer was from Whitechapel, then people would have seen him and come forward to the police and give information, but because of the police's problems in using the evidence and their methods used of gathering this evidence, they were unable to follow up the line of enquiry because of the limitations of detective work. So all of the main factors link together and therefore resulting in the police's unsuccessful attempts to catch Jack the Ripper. Nilesh Thanki GCSE HISTORY COURSEWORK 2003 1 ...read more.

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