Annie Chapman

Annie Chapman

Annie Chapman Jack the Ripper Victim

Killed 8th September 1888

29 Hanbury Street



The second victim murdered by Jack the Ripper was dear ol’ friend of mine, Annie Chapman, we called ‘er “Dark Annie”. Annie’s butchered body was found on the morning of Saturday September 8th 1888, in the backyard of 29 Hanbury Street in Whitechapel.  Her murder was just over a week after Polly murder.

Like Polly she too, turned to the Gin and worked the streets with us. Annie lived in Crossinghams lodging house at 35 Dorset Street, in the heart of the Whitechapel district, at the time she was murdered.

At around 11.30pm on the night 7th of September 1888, she went back to 35 Dorset Street asking the deputy, Timothy Donovan if she could go in. She had complained earlier that day to Amelia Farmer that she was feeling unwell and her condition hadn’t eased.

She wrapped a couple of pills in a piece of envelope which was on the mantelpiece and took this with her as she left. The envelope had a seal and the words Sussex Regiment on its outside.

Annie returned again at approximately 1.30am and saw the night watchman, John Evans. Yet again she didn’t have her doss money, so she had to walk the streets again until she did. John Evans stated that he saw Annie walk into Paternoster Row heading towards Brushfield Street. That was the last time he saw her.

Tragically, Annie would never return with her doss money but instead would be found in the back yard of 29 Hanbury Street having been mutilated in the most horrific and terrifying manner.  Shortly after 6.a.m. she was found by a man named John Davis who lived at 29 Hanbury Street. That morning he went downstairs and found that the front and back doors of the house were open. He went to close the back door but on doing so saw a horrific and chilling sight in front of him.

He ran out into Hanbury Street and came across a man by the name of Henry Holland who was on his way to work, he then shouted to two men, James Green and James Kent who were standing outside the Black Swan Pub at 23 Hanbury Street. John Davis’ exclaimed the words were “Men, come here! Here’s a sight, a woman must have been murdered!”

John Davis’ horrific discovery and subsequent actions had aroused the attention to Hanbury Street. Inspector Chandler, H Division, was alerted to the commotion. He was at Commercial Street Police Station at the time.  The inspector then sent for the divisional surgeon, Dr. Bagster Phillips, who was at his surgery at 2 Spital Square.

Lookin at Annie’s corpse Dr. Phillips saw there were already injuries to her body, as well as the bruising to her chest and eye she sustained a few days earlier when she had an altercation with Eliza Cooper. The Doctor also noted that despite the massive injuries to her neck and torso, there was not a lot of blood loss from the body, and that her tongue was left sticking out of her swollen head, this meant she was strangled first and then brutally killed with a sharp weapon.

Annie was lying on her back between the steps down to the yard, and the fence in the left corner nearest to the back door. The Metropolitan Police report said that her throat was severed deeply. Removed from but still attached to her body and placed over her right shoulder were her small intestines and a flap of her abdomen. Two other portions of the abdomen and pubes were placed above her left shoulder in a large quantity of blood. There was an abrasion of the head of the first phalanx of the ring finger indicating that rings had been forcibly removed from her. Parts of her body had been removed, a certain portion of the abdominal wall, including the navel, the womb, the upper part of the vagina and the greater part of the bladder.

Dr. George Bagster Phillips, the divisional surgeon for H division, carried out the post mortem. His conclusion was that Annie had first been strangled, or suffocated, due to the lividity of her face. A long incision had been made into her neck which drew the blood from the body. There were bloodstains on the nearby fence which were approximately 14 inches from the ground, however, there was no other blood found in the passage that ran from the front to the rear of the house, or in the vicinity of the house. This led to the conclusion that the murder was committed in the back yard of the house.

Annie’s friend Amelia was sent for to identify the body, and in doing so she confirmed that the butchered body that lay before her eyes was that of her dear friend, Annie Chapman. What was also discovered from the post mortem was that Annie had long been suffering with a lung disease that may have possibly been caused by her excessive drinking.

A piece of leather apron was found in the backyard by Inspector Chandler. This led to an initial suspect by the name of John Pizer, who was commonly known to the local community as, “Leather Apron”, and was renowned to terrorise us, however, he had a cast iron alibi and was soon dropped from the police enquiries.

One very important witness that came forward was a woman called Elizabeth Long. Elizabeth Long had seen Annie, just minutes before her estimated time of death, outside 29 Hanbury Street talking to a gentleman she described as about 40 years old, wearing a dark coat, a deerstalker hat, and was of a shabby genteel appearance. She also indicated that he was “foreign” which in those days another way of describing a Jew was, and as previously mentioned the Whitechapel area was a known area that was densely populated by Jews. She stated that she heard the man say the words, “will you”, and then Annie responding with the word, “yes”.

At the inquest into Annie’s murder the coroner said that Annie’s murder was committed by a person who at this time had not been detained and was the result of an ongoing police investigation. He also said, just as was concluded at the inquest into the murder of Polly Nichols; Annie was willful murder, by person or persons unknown.

Another highly significant point of Annie’s murder was that Dr. Philips stated that the work must have been done by someone who knew what he was doing, due to the high level of anatomical precision that the murderer used to dispatch Annie in the most gruesome way. Most evidently though was the method that Annie was killed in almost exactly the same way that Polly was killed a week earlier, except this time her stomach and intestines were removed and placed over her shoulder.