Mary Kelly’s grave

On 19 November 1888 the woman who called herself Mary Jane Kelly was buried. Huge crowds arrived to mourn the victim of Jack the Ripper and she has since been portrayed in literature and films with her true identity still unknown. Claims that she was Elizabeth Weston-Davies prompted a team of researchers to conclude that they could not now locate her remains.

Elizabeth has since been discovered in later records. My own research into Mary’s identity has explored the lives of many women who were then ruled out for the same reason. Of the ones who cannot be traced after 1888 there is a lack of evidence linking them to the murder victim.

A century after the death the cemetery superintendent cleaned an old Celtic Cross, dedicated it to Mary and placed it where he felt the grave was. Within hours it was vandalised and broken. I hope that one day we will be able to give Mary her real name and a proper memorial.

Paul Williams is a writer of fiction and non-fiction best known for his Jack the Ripper Suspects: The Definitive Guide and Encyclopedia.

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