This weekend marks the anniversary of one of history’s most notorious crimes. On 30 September 1888 two women, generally regarded as the third and fourth victims of a single killer, were killed in separate incidents in Whitechapel. After these murders the police made public a postcard and letter purporting to come from the killer. He signed these Jack the Ripper.
Most research into the crimes has attempted to identify Jack, who almost certainly wasn’t the letter writer. In recent times some writers have shifted focus to the victims, uncovering facts about the lives of Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and the others. Early next year a book by Hallie Rubenhold, promises to reveal more. Controversially she challenges the conventional view that all the victims were prostitutes, leading to a heated debate on social media.
My preference is to ignore the speculation and only comment when the full details are made available. However, I share Rubenhold’s stated aspiration that we should remember the women as more than victims. 130 years after they died, they are not forgotten.