Polly Nichols

Polly Nichols

Mary Anne “Polly” Nichols

Killed 31st August 1888

At Buck’s Row



My mate Mary Ann Nichols, “Polly” we used to call ‘er, was the first proper murder victim of Jack the Ripper. She fell on ‘ard times too and took to the same ways as ol’ Martha.

At the time she copped it, Polly was bunked up at 18 Thrawl Street, in Spitalfields. It was a common lodging house for, “unfortunates”.  Polly was 44 years old and about 5ft 2; her hair had seen better days as she was goin grey. She adn’t seen a dentist in a while, nearly all ‘er teeth were missin.

The 31st of August 1888, Poll had been drinking at 12.30am in the Frying Pan public house, which was on the corner of ‘er road.  At about 1.40am she went 18 Thrawl Street worse for the drink to tell the deputy that she had no money yet for a bed but would soon get her doss money as she was wearing a “jolly bonnet”.

At 2.30am she was last seen alive by Ellen Holland on the corner of Osborn Street and Whitechapel Road, Ellen said that when she saw Polly, she was proper drunk.

At 3:40 am, Polly’s body was found Charles Cross near the entrance of a stable yard in Bucks Row, ere in Whitechapel. He was on his way to work when he saw what looked like a large piece of tarpaulin on the ground. He stopped to have a gander, only to realise that it was a body lying on the ground. While he was standing over the body, another fella walked past him. His name was Robert Paul, who was also on his way to work.

Charlie, startled by his discovery, touched Robert on the shoulder as he passed him and said “ere, come an look at this”. They both went to find a bobby and ran in the direction of Bakers Row. They found PC Mizen on the corner of Hanbury Street and Bakers Row and told him what they had found.

While Cross and Paul was tellin PC Mizen of what they found, PC John Neil was pounding his beat which included Bucks Row. As he was walking along Bucks Row in the direction of Brady Street, he noticed a body lying in a gateway on the opposite side.

Polly was lying lengthways on her back, her head was facing in an easterly direction, and her left hand was near to the gate. Her open hands were palm upwards and her legs were laid out and slightly apart.

He saw that blood was coming out from a gash in her throat that was so deep that only the piece of skin at the back of her neck was keeping her head attached to her body. Through her clothes P.C Neil could see that she had been ripped open. Her clothes were torn, and her black bonnet was on the floor near to the body.

PC Neil called to a passing constable, PC Thain, to fetch Dr. Llewellyn who was lived nearby at 152 Whitechapel Road. Upon arriving at the scene, and after leaving Messrs Cross and Paul to go work, PC Mizen was told by PC Neil to bring an ambulance. In a short space of time, Dr. Llewellyn was present at the scene of the crime and pronounced the death of the woman. Under his orders, her lifeless body was taken by ambulance to the mortuary at the Old Montague Street Workhouse Infirmary for closer inspection.

His findings were:

The throat was cut right through to the bone which almost severed the head from the body. The abdomen had a jagged cut from the centre of the bottom of the ribs along the right side, under the pelvis to the left of the stomach, which was cut in several places. There were two small deep stab wounds to the vagina. There were two bruises that were noticeable, one on the right lower jaw and the other on the left cheek that left the impression of a thumb print. The assumption was that the murder was carried out by a left handed person due to the pattern of the wounds.

Dr. Llewellyn believed that Polly was strangled first, and then the knife was plunged into her neck and abdomen. His reasoning for this was that, there was very little blood that had been released from the major arteries near the deep lacerations inflicted to her body. This is attributed to the fact that when Polly was strangled her heart would have stopped pumping blood round the body, and when the knife was plunged into her flesh the blood would not have sprayed from the body with the force it would have if her heart was still beating. Dr Llewellyn was also of the opinion that Polly had been murdered with a moderately sharp instrument with extreme violence.

A formal examination of the body was conducted at the mortuary at Old Montague Street by Dr. Llewellyn. From a mark in her clothing that bore the words, “Lambeth workhouse”, she was able to be identified. Her estranged husband, Bill was sent for to identify the body of his wife. Ellen Holland who was the deputy of Polly’s common lodging house was also called to identify the mutilated remains of Polly Nichols.

At the time that the case was reconvened, the police investigation had failed to unearth any new information, or produce any conclusive evidence that led to the arrest of the murderer; therefore the jury was left with no other alternative but to return a verdict of willful murder, by person or persons unknown. Soon after the inquest was done, Polly’s body was taken to a graveyard in Ilford, with no one having been arrested or convicted of Polly’s horrifying murder.